Explore colorado - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

colorado  Map
VIEW FULL MAP

The BEST hike, I did it in July in 3 days and it was the hardest but most fulfilling thing I have ever done in my life.

Get a good water filter, tent, rain gear (a must), the usual. We had to have a beat canister when we went and it was SO heavy, and doesnt get much lighter throughout the trip due to "bring it in bring it out." Next time we will use those bear bag type deals, much lighter and you're still able to rent those.

Its amazing, I am not in the best shape but not in bad shape and it was hard but not discouraging by any means! Have fun!!!

Beautiful views wherever you go! Challenging backpacking!

I’m new to backpacking with this being my second trip ever. My son is an experienced hiker and he is the reason I got into doing these types of trips. We like the ease of hiking loops from a logistical standpoint so when we found this one, it was a no brained that we had to give it a go.

This trail was very difficult for me. I am not in the best physical shape but I am mentally strong which I believe is a good part of being able to successfully complete a hike like this one. There is thin air, cold, rain, hail and tough elevation changes. This can all beat you down if you can’t handle the mental aspect.

We completed the hike in 4 days in early August. Other than the rain on a couple days and the hail coming up over the passes, the weather was ok. I’m not sure there would have been a better time to hike this.

Would I do it again? Not sure. It took my knees a couple of weeks to recover from the beating they took going down the passes. The views were breathtaking and as is usually the case, pictures just don’t do it justice.

Went leaf peeping with my fiancée and 2 year old son, we did the 3.5 mile hike down from the lake. Perfect day to see the top of the Bells from where the shuttle drops you off. We were maybe a week too late for the best leaf colors but the aspens were still a stunning golden color. First part of the hike had a lot of rock slides so it took our kiddo forever to navigate but we were in no rush and enjoyed the different scenery along the way. (He finally had enough scrambling and let us pack him in the Kelty, we made great time from there...) Muddy from moisture that morning and horse droppings along the way but no complaints here. You can choose to turn around to hike back up or just meet up with the road at the end of the 3.5 miles and the shuttle will stop for you and take you back to the parking lot. We will be doing the more difficult hikes next year when our son can handle it better. Five stars no doubt.

An incredibly hard hike. My brother who is an experienced hiker brought me for my FIRST 14er which was absolutely ridiculous and I’m lucky I survived it. Do not go without experience. There isn’t much of a trail mostly straight uphill free rock climbing over loose rock. Wear a helmet, rocks fell all over us when scrambling up and down. Go with someone who knows how to navigate. You gain about 3,000 feet of elevation in a mile and a half so it’s no joke. That being said..incredible views!

Beautiful wild flowers!!

hiking
1 month ago

We did the trail one way, CB to Aspen, on 9/23. Left the Schofield Pass trailhead at 9am and caught the 3:40pm shuttle from Maroon Lake. No animals or trail issues, but the wind at the top of the pass was intense - bring layers. We had 2L of water each and that was more than enough.

hiking
1 month ago

Fantastic challenging beauty extravaganza getting to the top was big challenge for me but made it felt exhilarated hiking down other side to Schofield Pass. We spent the night on CB and hiked there the next day so only did one way my greatest challenge in hiking to date. I’m hooked.

We hiked this trail on 9/15 and the Aspen trees were beautiful. We got to the area around 6 am, but parking was already full. They started running shuttles at 7 so we didn't have to wait to long. We had intended to just do the Crater Lake Trail, but kept going and took the West Maroon Trail to the saddle (6.5 out and 6.5 back for a 13 mile hike). It was our third day in Colorado and we are from DC, but the altitude really didn't bother us - if you are in shape you can do it! You start to lose the crowds after Crater Lake. We started out in long pants and long sleeves but shed layers halfway through the hike. The scenery is stunning the entire hike. The only wildlife we saw were the marmots playing in the rock fields - so cute. If we knew we were going to do this long of a hike, we would have brought more than just 2 Larabars and 2 packs of crackers. We ran out of water at mile 12, luckily there is a fountain at the visitor center. The last 1 mile to the top of the saddle was the most challenging. I'm afraid of heights so I took my time when coming back down that last mile - the trail is very narrow and steep with not many rocks to give good grip (hiking poles would have been helpful). The top of the saddle offers great views - most went on from their to spend the night over in Crested Butte. Crowds were heavy around the visitor center in the afternoon.

Challenging trail over the passes, but the amazing scenery makes it well worth the effort!

Completed the loop in 3 days/2 nights Sep 4-6, hiking counter-clockwise. Camped at Snowmass Lake the 1st night (~9 miles) and just above the large waterfall in Fravert Basin the 2nd night (~7.5 miles). Total distance logged on my gps watch was 29.4 miles, so that left about 13 miles on the last day over Frigid Air & West Maroon Passes. A storm on day 2 forced us to hike over Trail Rider Pass in snow/sleet, which made the trail muddy and extremely slippery. A good set of hiking/trekking poles is highly recommended!

Absolutely amazing! My 1st solo hike - 26 pound pack to start. Went counter clockwise August 24-26 to make option to hike out 3rd day easier. Reflection of Snowmass lake in morning sun is breathtaking, do not miss! Found refreshing swimming hole and small falls about mile above big waterfall on 2nd day. Ended up hiking 14 miles 3rd day and exiting...love my new altra trail runners, no blisters and with lighter pack, was very doable and enjoyable. View after view will keep ya going. Would love to hike this again!!! Trail is well marked, met friendly trail runners and many helpful hikers and a resourceful ranger each day. Combine these with Alltrails app for navigation and a Spot devise for emergency rescue and you are good to go, safer than being in a city!

Wow, literally breathtaking all the way around! The views were above all expectations. The trail says it’s 29 miles, however my gps tracked it at 31.2 miles. There is a major drought issue here in aspen so I kept about 3 liters of water at all times. Make sure to do the same if you find water take advantage! I didn’t see any bear however I did see tons of chipmunks, marmots, mule deer, mountain goat, and sheep. Such a brutal trail, however it was so worth it! No pain no gain! The entire loop took 4 days 3 nights and I did it counterclockwise. The first night I arrived late and only got about 2 miles in, then it was starting to get dark so you gotta set up camp just before sunset because the wind is a beast! Couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather. The highs were in the upper 80’s, lows around the upper 40’s low 50’s. I would absolutely do this hike again, maybe try doing it clockwise next time.

We did not hike the entire trail, but look forward to that in the future. We did a day hike to the log jam out and back which measured 15 miles on our GPS. The trail was beautiful and the valley is gorgeous. This would be the clockwise direction. The trail was pretty easy going most of the way. At the beginning you pass through some private property which is clearly marked, but there are cows present and occasionally on the trail. They were not a problem. Thoroughly enjoyed the hike and look forward to backpacking the entire loop next time. I did fish the creek and had a blast!

Spectacular! Counterclockwise, four days. I hike with a pup that’s hit or miss with other dogs and was so happy to see most dogs were on leash on the loop.

Excellent views and a great workout! we did the loop in a 3 days. Be warned the weather is very unpredictable. we got caught on Trail Rider Pass in a freak thunderstorm. Great fishing if you bring a rod.

Done this past weekend. Absolute blast. Beautiful scenery and awesome trail.

hiking
2 months ago

Make sure to bring your rain gear

Completed end of July/beginning of August. Definitely a strenuous hike but so worth it. The views are incredible. I would recommend going counterclockwise to avoid the crowds.

This hike was fantastic. Excellent views, plenty of campsites, lots of wild life including moose, mountain goat, mule deer, and marmot. Beware all the passes were guarded by ferocious Pika. Don’t bother bringing fishing poles, all the lakes have no fish. I NEVER SAW ANY BELLS WTF??? I highly recommend this hike.

This is the best hike I’ve ever done. The most beautiful views. A great experience and would do it again tomorrow. Also the most brutal. Please watch your pack weight. Stay very light. Have hiking poles. Keep an eye on quick developing storms. Make sure you have the right equipment. Water filtration pump, 2 Liter bladder, and some Gatorade packets to get your electrolytes back up. If you are goin in July wear sun screen and try to be done hiking for the day by 1 pm if you’re not deciding to cover your skin because that Aspen sun will smoke you. Regardless of what other views may say this area is in a bad drought and you WILL run out of water between frigid air and trail rider.... take my word... or pay big. This is not one of those happy go lucky everything is easy fun and nothing to worry about. NO this is the real deal be ready to WORK and be ready to feel the peace . Get as far away from crater as possible camp high.... trust me the bears are there.... God speed....

Amazing trail. One of my favorites I’ve ever done. Went clockwise, got up over Frigid Air on day 1, to Snowmass Lake day 2. Heavy storms that night at the lake. Finished the loop on day 3. Unfortunately it was super cloudy at the top with very low visibility of surrounding peaks. Will have to come back for that view someday. Finished it out on day 3.

Hiked this from Aspen to Crested Butte in late August. 11+ miles. Took us 7hrs. Started at 0900, took shuttle to trailhead. Have to be at maroon bells gate by 0800 if you I want to park there. Hike was challenging and beautiful. I would rate the whole thing as difficult to moderate/difficult. Hiking uphill to the West Maroon Pass portion was difficult for us we had shortness of breath until we go to the top. Had 3L of water each and light snacks, apples, jerky, trail mix, cliff bars, rice crispy treats. I only used 1L, bf used 2. And RAIN GEAR we def had to get it out a few times and then it started thunderstorming around 2:30pm. Wasn’t a monsoon but def raining. Took Dolly’s shuttle at end to CB. Paid Maroon Bells Shuttles to drive our car from Aspen to our lodging in CB. Too late for the wildflowers but still beautiful. There are a few trail signs but no blazes. Crossed several streams but it was late summer so could step on rocks for all of them. Hiking poles and starting by 0800 would’ve been better.

AMAZING! Already planning the next time we do it. did it clockwise but will do it counter next time. Clockwise is the direction most people go. Beautiful views everywhere. Tons of water fill spots. some of the passes have very steep climbs but they are worth it! we did ti in 3 nights, 4 days

Beautiful and worth the trek. Avid hikers, but 20lb+ of backpack adds a whole new element to it. Arrived at 730p Friday and Hiked 2 miles in the dark. The next day we hiked 16 miles (ended just before Frigid Pass). Last day we finished the remaining. Plowed through it based on time we had. Would have loved a leisurely 4 day backpack, but if can be done in 2 days. DEFINITELY recommend doing it counter clockwise. My guess is everyone wants to ease into it w a gradual climb on day 1, but it’s worth doing Buckskin pass 1st!Pays off later. Low 40s/high 30s at night. No bugs. Had a 1/2 day of relentless rain. Hand warmers were key! Hammock camped both nights, and even with some rain I was a happy camper! Was not overwhelmed by the amount of people on the trail. Surprised there wasn’t more actually. Very rewarding!! But bed feels good now.

Echoing previous reviews... this mountain is not to be trifled with. It's less of a hike and more of a challenging mountaineering route. If it's your first 14er, don't go. If you're not completely confident in your ability, don't go. If you didn't bring proper gear (helmet, layers for bad weather, lots of water) don't go. Uncomfortable with airy climbs and steep drop offs? Definitely don't go. Everything past the first gulley is steep, technical and relentless. Definitely review the route on 14ers.com. definitely get an alpine start - it will take considerably longer than other hikes of similar distances. Even if you don't have knee issues, poles are a game changer on the steep and loose descent. After branching off from Minnehaha Gulch, there is nearly zero chance to refill your water this time of year, so bring more than you think you'll need. All that said, it was very rewarding to make it to the top... feels like a major accomplishment. The view is epic from start to finish.

My first solo trip. Weather was perfect and the trail lived up to all my expectations. CLockwise and glad I did!

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome trail through every aspect of a mountain! Aspen groves, forest, meadows, rock slides. Hiked from the Maroon Bells down beside the Maroon Creek, took less than 1.5 hours. Beautiful!

Load More