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Backpacking: Colorado > White River National Forest > Aspen Ranger District

Quick Facts

Willow Lake Trail

Average Time: 1 - 2 Days
Beginning Elevation: 9,580 Feet (2986.3 Meters) Maroon Lake
Difficulty: Difficult
Elevation Gain, One-way: 3,020 Feet (941.4 Meters)
Elevation Gain, Round Trip: 3,825 Feet (1192.3 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,795 Feet (3676.7 Meters) Willow Lake
High Point: 12,600 Feet (3927.7 Meters) Willow Pass
Length, One-way: 6.5 Miles (10.83 Kilometers)
Other Maps: Trails Illustrated 128 Maroon Bells, Redstone, Marble
Ti Topo Maps: 128
Trail Number: 1975 and 1978
Usage: Very Heavy
USGS Maps: Maroon Bells




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

This trail is one of the most heavily used trails in the Aspen area. Hikers, backpackers and horse travelers enjoy the wildflowers, views and access to the wilderness areas. There is fishing in Willow Lake. Camping at Willow Lake can get very crowded.

The trail starts at the Maroon Lake parking area (9,580 ft). Follow the trail on the north side of the lake through a meadow to a Forest Service informational bulletin board. The right trail is the Maroon-Snowmass Trail which climbs through the aspen trees to Crater Lake (10,076 ft). Take the right fork at the Crater Lake bulletin board. The trail ascends steeply into Minnehaha Gulch. About 1/2 mile above tree line is the Maroon-Snowmass & Willow Lake Trail junction. Take the right fork and ascend steeply to the top of Willow Pass (12,690 ft). From the top of the pass, the trail descends to the junction of the East Snowmass Trail. Continue straight on the trail for the last 1/2 mile to the lake (11,795 ft). The best campsites are below the lake in the trees. It is 6 1/2 miles one-way and the average hiking time is 1-2 days. The trail is considered difficult and receives heavy use.

Willow Lake is in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, so please educate yourself about Wilderness Ethics and rules.

Directions from Aspen: Drive 1/2 mile west of Aspen on Highway 82 and turn left onto Maroon Creek Road at the roundabout. Keep right and continue 9 1/2 miles to the Maroon Lake Parking Area.From mid-June through September, the Maroon Creek Road is closed from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and you will need to take a shuttle bus from Ruby Park in Aspen. The bus includes an informative guided tour of the valley. Contact the Roaring Fork Transit Agency at 925-8484 for more information.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: May through September (NOTE: Snow may obstruct the trail at high elevations.) .



Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Winter Conditions. Beware of avalanche danger and hypothermia. Updated: 2002-12-23 14:39:00.0


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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Around Crater Lake and Willow Lake, camp in designated spots only .
Yes
ICON Cold Water Fishing Maroon & Willow Lakes. No fish in Crater Lake.
Yes
ICON Hiking & Walking Maroon-Snowmass Trail #1975 and Willow Lake Trail #1978
Yes
ICON Horseback Riding Maroon-Snowmass Trail #1975 and Willow Lake Trail #1978
Yes



Related Activities
West Maroon Portal Trailhead - The West Maroon Portal provides access to the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. The Maroon Creek and Maroon-Snowmass Trails start from here.

West Maroon Trail - This trail is one of the most heavily used trails in the Aspen area. Hikers, backpackers and horse travelers enjoy the wildflowers and access to the wilderness areas.



More Information

Visitor Information:

Aspen Chamber Resort Association, 425 Rio Grande Pl. , Aspen, CO, 81611, Phone: 970-925-1940

Hickory House, 730 W. Main St. , Aspen, CO, 81611, Phone: 970-925-2313

Annabelle Inn, 232 W. Main Street , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 877-266-2466, Fax: 970-925-3328, info@annabelleinn.com

Aspen Alps, 700 Ute Ave. , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 877-711-0522, Fax: 970-920-2522

Aspen Meadows Resort, 845 Meadows Road , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 800-452-4240 or 800-452-4240

Aspen Mountain Lodge, 311 West Main Street , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 970-925-7650 or 800-362-7736, Fax: 970-925-5744, aml@aspenmountainlodge.com

Aspen Square Condominium Hotel, 617 East Cooper Street , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 970-925-1000 or 800-470-0530

Hotel Aspen, 110 Main Street , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 888-738-8492, info@hotelaspen.com

Hotel Durant, 122 East Durant , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 877-438-7268 or 970-925-8500, Fax: 970-925-8789

Hotel Jerome, 330 East Main Street , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 877-916-5430 , Fax: 970-920-2050, jerome.info@aubergeresorts.com

Independence Square Hotel/Frias Properties, 404 S. Galena Street , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 800-542-7736, Fax: 970-925-2006

Inn at Aspen/Aspen Administrative Office, 38750 Highway 82 , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 970-925-1500 or 844-997-8727, aspeninfo@wynvr.com

Limelight Hotel, 355 S. Monarch Street , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 855-925-3025 or 970-925-3025, Fax: 970-925-5120, info@limelighthotel.com

Molly Gibson Lodge, 101 West Main Street , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 970-925-3434 or 888-271-2304, Fax: 970-925-2582, info@mollygibson.com

Mountain Chalet Aspen, 333 East Durant Avenue , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 970-925-7797, Fax: 888-925-7798, res@mca.travel

Residence Hotel, 305 S Galena St. , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 970-315-2977, reservations@aspenresidence.com

Residences at the Little Nell, 675 E. Durant Ave. , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 855-420-9009 or (970) 920-4600, STAY@THELITTLENELL.COM

Sky Hotel, 709 E. Durant Avenue , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 970-925-6760 or 800-882-2582, Fax: 970-925-6778

Snow Queen Lodge, 124 E. Cooper Ave , Aspen, Colorado, 81623, Phone: 970-925-8455, Fax: 970-925-7391, sqlodge@rof.net

St. Moritz Lodge & Condominiums , 334 W. Hyman Avenue , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 970-925-3220 or 800-817-2069, Fax: 970-920-4032, info@stmoritzlodge.com

The Crestwood Condominiums, 400 Wood Road , Snowmass Village, Colorado, 81615, Phone: 970-923-2450 or 800-356-5949, res@thecrestwood.com

The Gant, 610 S W End Ave , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 970-925-5000, Fax: 970-925-6891

The Innsbruck, 233 W. Main St. , Aspen, colorado, 81611, Phone: 866-925-2980

The Little Nell Hotel, 675 E. Durant Ave. , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 970-920-4600, Concierge@thelittlenell.com

Tyrolean Lodge, 200 West Main Street , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 970-925-4595 or 888-220-3809, Fax: 970-925-4598, stay@tyroleanlodge.com

Asie, 413 Main St. , Aspen, Colorado, 81623, Phone: 970-920-9988

Brexi Brasserie, 411 S. Monarch St. , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 970-925-2838, Fax: 970-429-4348

Gwyn's High Alpine Restaurant, P.O. Box 6400 , Snowmass Village, Colorado, 81615, Phone: 970-923-5188

Grateful Deli, 223 E. Main Street , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 970-925-6647

New York Pizza, 409 E. Hyman Ave , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 970-920-3088

Sam's Smokehouse, On Mountain , Snowmass Mountain, Colorado, 81615, Phone: 970-923-8686

Stew Pot, 62 Elbert Lane , Snowmass Village, Colorado, 81615, Phone: 970-923-2263

Taster's Aspen, 455 Rio Grande Pl , Aspen, Colorado, 81611, Phone: 970-925-1952

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