Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Loop is a 25.2 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Aspen, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
This classic 26.4-mile backpacking circuit around the spectacular Maroon Bells climbs four 12,000-ft. passes (West Maroon - 12,500 ft.; Frigid Air - 12,415 ft.; Trail Rider - 12,420 ft.; Buckskin - 12,500 ft.) and travels through some of the finest scenery in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.
Great loop! Seemed a little busy, but can get super secluded after the first 10 or so miles. Tons of rangers monitoring the loop, which is extremely helpful since old trails cross the mapped one and it can be easy to get off course. Be sure to carry bear spray and a bell or two on your gear.
This was one of the most amazing trips we have done. The wildflowers were unbelievable! I would highly recommend this for someone looking for a challenge. We did the loop in 2 1/2 days with minimal down time. Each pass gave you spectacular views. Well worth the hard work.
This is a true 5-star trail. There are shorter versions than the 25 mile loop[. Out to the lake and back for instance. The Bells are the most photographed mountains in Colorado for a reason. they are breathtakingly beautiful! For visitors to Colorado looking to catch a do-able hike with unforgettable scenery, this is it! Outside of the San Juans, these are among my favorite peaks.
So the post fails to mention that right after Marble it is a 4x4 road
For the full story of the day of hiking check my blog: freeoutside.com this is just the trip report to help people out
I woke up in the tent around the trail junction between N. Maroon and Maroon peak and the trip report will start from there as it is a very solid trail up to this point.
The trail around crater lake and up the creek is very nice and straightforward but the cutoff to begin climbing the ridge (ascent 2800') is very difficult to find. In fact I found people walking the wrong direction still looking for this cutoff. There is a pile of rock, but it looks to natural to depend on this to find the trail. If you see the snow over the creek you have gone too far. Worst case you can begin to walk straight up the ridge and you will definitely hit the trail. The climb is long and relentless but definitely manageable as the trail is pretty solid. At the top you cross the ridge and begin the final ascent of Maroon. The advice I would give is to be looking ahead and picking out targets or cairns to climb toward in order to avoid being cliffed out. The reports and pictures on 14ers are also very good resources and that is what I used as the cairns are very hard to pick out some times. The rock is also old and rotten so be careful of your holds.
The traverse is fun and a good mix of class 4 and 5 climbing. If you are smart, the main thing to be sure of is the presence of those around you to avoid getting in their way or kicking rocks on them. There are many different routes and I believe I took a more difficult one on accident, but it seems that if you stay on top of the ridge it is pretty straightforward for the most part. The reports on here were helpful for me as well as following others. There was quite a backup on most of the route due to the high volume of people on it during the weekend. It is smarter to be patient as opposed to trying to climb around people. No one wants to get hurt.
The route is straightforward up to when you cross the rocks in front of the face. There is not a true trail so any route across to the base of the trail up to the saddle will do. The climb up here is a rough 1000' because of the looseness of the trail. At the top I found many mountain goats along with a mother and her baby that gave me a bit of a hard time. In the end I just gave them space and went around but it got my heart going a little. Check out my blog for the full funny story. The climb up pyramid from the saddle involves a mix of hiking, climbing and route finding. I would be prepared because at one point when you look up and see the summit you will be surprised to see that it is actually a false summit. I was pretty tired after a long day by the time I got this peak but after I was finished my arms were pretty tired so I would be expecting a fair amount of climbing.
It's beautiful every time and a super easy walk for all ages! There is nothing more breathtaking than the Bells, especially once they are snow capped! I take every visitor there when they come...a must see!!
This is a must. So worth the drive up here.
Crowded but beautiful. Before 8am or after 5pm you can drive to the trailhead, otherwise it's a bus ride ($6).
Maroon Bells is a great hike with amazing views. Distance is approx. 6 miles or so. Trail is somewhat crowded in summer but not terrible. Take the free shuttle in from Aspen. This is a must do hike for sure.
Maroon Bells just a must see in Colorado. This hike is amazing and great. The hike overall is very easy and the only downside I have from it is that it's very busy and there is a lot of people at the lake at all times.
snowshoed the road up to the bells. About 8 mile walk/hike. Seen 2 Moose YES Moose. Theres also snowmobile rides up & down. We had to take them down; my gf from HI got her ass handed to her. ♡ Altitude. Bring Water. Also hiked in the fall. GREAT PICTURES !!!!