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

Quick Facts

Maroon Creek Trail

Average Time: 1-4 Hours
Beginning Elevation: 8,709 Feet (2714.8 Meters) East Maroon Portal
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 1,400 Feet (436.4 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 9,580 Feet (2986.3 Meters) Maroon Lake
High Point: 9,580 Feet (2920 Meters)
Length, One-way: 4.5 Miles (7.5 Kilometers)
Other Maps: Trails Illustrated 128 Maroon Bells, Redstone, and Marble
Pets: Yes - Leash required.
Recommended Season: Summer to Fall
Trail Number: 1982
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: Maroon Bells, Highlands Peak
Vehicle Accessibility: Shuttle Bus, Passenger Vehicle - From mid-June through September, Maroon Creek Road is closed from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. You will need to take a shuttle.

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

A beaver wades through Maroon Creek below the spectacular Maroon Bells
Copyright: Robbie George - Ute City Photo
A beaver wades through Maroon Creek below the spectacular Maroon Bells
The best views occur as you travel up the valley. For a more relaxing hike, start at Maroon Lake and hike down valley. During the summer, plan on taking the shuttle bus from Aspen which includes a very informative guided tour.

From the East Maroon Portal (8,709 ft), cross the bridge and bare right up the valley. At the trail junction with the East Maroon Trail, bear right and continue on to Maroon Lake (9,580 ft). An easy 3 1/2 miles one way. The trail receives moderate use.

From the west end of the Maroon Lake parking area pick up the trail by crossing the bridge. Bare left and follow the trail down valley. In about a mile, you will come to a bridge on the left. Continue straight ahead. At the junction with the East Maroon Creek Trail, keep left and continue down valley until you come to the bridge at the East Maroon Portal. To catch the bus back to Aspen, continue past the parking area to Maroon Creek road and flag down the bus.

Maroon Creek Trail is within 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 6 1/2 miles to the East Maroon Portal (to hike up valley) or 9 1/2 miles to the Maroon Lake Parking Area (to hike down valley).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:
Normal Summer Season: Mid-June through September (NOTE: Due to the very heavy use of the area, Maroon Creek Road is closed from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Visitors must catch a shuttle bus from the Ruby Park Transit Center in Aspen.) . Best Fall Colors: Mid-September through Early October (NOTE: The Fall colors are spectacular during the month of September. Call ahead to determine when the colors are at their peak for the year.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Winter Conditions. Beware of avalanche danger and hypothermia. Updated: 2002-12-23 14:37:00.0

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking
ICON Cold Water Fishing Fishing in Maroon Creek, Maroon Lake and beaver ponds.
ICON Hiking & Walking Maroon Creek Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Maroon Creek Trail

Related Activities
East Maroon Portal Trailhead - The East Maroon Portal provides access to the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. The Maroon Creek and East Maroon Trails start from here. Popular destinations include Maroon, and Copper Lakes, as well as East Maroon Pass.

Maroon Creek Area - The Maroon Bells Recreation Area is located southwest of Aspen and is subject to entrance fees. The most photographed peaks in North America, the spectacular Maroon Bells, are the focal point of this area.

Maroon Creek Road - Maroon Creek Road leads to Maroon Lake and the Maroon Bells, the most photographed mountains in the country. This route is good for taking an all day trip with a picnic stop.

Maroon-Snowmass (Willow Lake) - This scenic trail is heavily used. Hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, fishing and camping are available. The trailhead is 9 1/2 miles up Maroon Creek Road. It's located within Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.

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
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Aspen Ranger District, 806 W. Hallam , Aspen, CO, 81611, Phone: 970-925-3445

Links to other sites:
Forest Conservancy - Current Information from Local Volunteers: Closings and Conditions


Local Lodging

Stay at the Aspen Square Hotel
Stay at the Aspen Square Hotel

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