Hiking At Maroon Bells
Maroon Bells Hotline
Numerous hiking trails depart the Maroon Lake area, penetrating deep into the 182,000-acre wilderness area. Below is a brief introduction to the area's most notable trails.
Maroon bells scenic loop1.9 Miles
160 Feet Elevation Gain
Relatively flat and accessible to wheelchairs in some areas, the broad trail that runs along the northern shore of Maroon Lake is popular for good reason. Here is where you will find the iconic view of the Maroon Bells reflecting on a picture-perfect lake. The trail is heavily trafficked, so if you're looking for something more remote and challenging, consider a hike listed below.
Crater Lake3.8 Miles
692 Feet Elevation Gain
For a more intimate look at the Maroon Bells, hikers can proceed passed Maroon Lake and enter the wilderness along the Maroon-Snowmass Trail. Theout-and-back trail leads hikers to an elevation of 10,078 feet and Crater Lake, which rests directly below North Maroon Peak, which rises 4,000 feet above the lake. The striated cliff faces are a good place to scan for mountain goats, which may appear as white dots on the ruddy-hued rock.
Buckskin Pass12.6 Miles
3,378 Feet Elevation Gain
Shortly before Crater Lake, the Maroon-Snowmass Trail forks. A left leads to Crater Lake (just a short distance beyond) and a right climbs steeply through forest and over alpine tundra to Buckskin Pass at 12,462 feet. This area is renowned for wildflower displays in the month of July. Due to exposure, it is recommended that hikers start early and leave the pass before noon due to the risk of afternoon thunderstorms. Be sure to pack a rain jacket, water, and food as well as other precautionary supplies. The hike is suited only for physically fit hikers who have adjusted to high altitude.
Regulations & Safety
• Backcountry travelers must register at the trailhead with the White River National Forest.
• Be sure to stay on marked paths throughout your journey.
• The area's mountains are notoriously dangerous to climb, especially the twin summits of Maroon Bells (North Maroon Peak and Maroon Peak) which are nicknamed the "Deadly Bells" because of their crumbling rock. Pyramid Peak, Snowmass Mountain and Capitol Peak should only be climbed by experienced climbers with proper safety equipment.
Colorado at its Finest
Summer in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area represents some of the very best scenery in Colorado. Wildflowers anyone?
And in the Fall ...
... aspen trees shift into a wild spectrum of green to yellow to gold to orange to cap off the hiking season.
While in the Maroon Bells area, you have a good chance of spotting moose, mule deer, mountain goats, beaver and even the occasional black bear.
Upstream of Maroon Lake (and hidden from view) is Crater Lake — a short hike that takes about 3 hours.
July is the best month for seeing wildflowers in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Area. Paintbrush (pictured), columbine and bluebells are often seen.
Hiding in Plain Sight
While the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak often steal the spotlight, Sievers Mountain offers its own unique beauty. Viewable from Maroon Lake.
Daily: June 21 – Sept. 6, 2021 | Weekends: Sep 10-12, 17-19, 24-26, Oct 1-3
At the top of the world, it’s easier to find your center.
From Snowmass Base Village, the Elk Camp Gondola sweeps through the trees and ends amid Lost Forest and Snowmass Bike Park, where adventure awaits you. From the heart of downtown Aspen, the Silver Queen Gondola delivers guests to the peak at 11,200 feet, where endless vistas and flower-laden hiking trails await. Note that in June the Silver Queen Gondola at Aspen Mountain will be closed for maintenance. During this time, you can purchase a single-ride sightseeing ticket for the Summit Express Lift at Buttermilk.
Sightseeing Package – $39
Available at: Snowmass and Aspen Mountain only
- 3 days of gondola and chairlift rides (valid 3 of 7 days) at Snowmass's Elk Camp Gondola and Aspen Mountain's Silver Queen Gondola (or Buttermilk's Summit Express Lift as the Silver Queen Gondola will be closed for regular maintenance through July 2, 2021).
- 10% off Lost Forest Base Tickets for one time use
- $10 lunch credit at Sundeck Restaurant* (top of Aspen Mountain), Ajax Tavern (base of Aspen Mountain), or Elk Camp Restaurant (top of Elk Camp Gondola at Snowmass) for one time use
- 20% off bike rentals at Four Mountain Sports for one time use (excluding downhill bikes and e-bikes)***
- 20% off bike clinics for one-time use
Available at: Snowmass and Aspen Mountain ($31) or Buttermilk ($25)
Good for one ride on either the Elk Camp Gondola and Chair, Silver Queen Gondola or Summit Express.
*** 20% off bike rentals at Four Mountain Sports does not include downhill bikes or e-bikes
**** September 10 through October 3, the gondolas and chairlift operate Friday – Sunday only. The Maroon Bells bus tour will operate 7 days a week until October 3.