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Maroon-Snowmass Trail to Willow Lake is a 11.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Aspen, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and snowshoeing and is best used from May until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 11.6 mi Elevation gain 3,779 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Camping

Hiking

Snowshoeing

Lake

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Snow

No shade

Waypoints (0)
Contact
Getting There

Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO

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.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (52)
Photos (840)
Recordings (32)
Completed (100)
Adam Nelson
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Hiking
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Adam Nelson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 6, 2020
Hiking
View Adam's Recording
scott hanson
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Hiking
View scott's Recording
Mackenzie Bourgeois
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HikingNo shadeRockyScramble

This was a spontaneous overnight-backpacking trip and I thoroughly enjoyed it. i will admit, the beginning was rough with a steep elevation gain and no shade on a very hot day. definitely bring sunscreen. we stopped beneath Buckskin pass and found a dispersed camping spot nearby with a 10/10 view. we left our site to hike on the next 1.5 miles to Willow Lake the next morning - which I'm glad we did because as you approach Willow Pass, the rocks are loose and steep. very windy at the top. but breathtaking view once you get there. totally worth it!

Kyle Liss
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 30, 2020
Hiking

This is the most beautiful non-14er hike I have ever done! I could not recommend it more highly. Challenging but extremely rewarding. Be mentally prepared that you will lose a good bit of elevation (~600ft) going down to Willow lake from the highest point of the pass, and you will have to gain this back on the return trip. The last bit of the pass is a sketchy, exposed gravely trail. Poles would have been very helpful (forgot mine before we left for this camping trip), but if you’re in good shape and don’t mind the exposure you’ll be fine—though I did have to crab walk 150ft or so on the way down. On Jun 30 there was no need for micro-spikes or other snow gear; there were only a couple of very small stretches where the trail was snow covered, and only one that was in a slightly awkward spot. If you like trail running, most of the trail is great for it. I ran the bulk of the way back down. Enjoy!

View Kyle's Recording
Jimmy Morrison
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 30, 2020
HikingRocky
Judith Ackerman
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HikingRockySnow

This trail was exactly as described. The views are stunning. The terrain is very rocky for much of the trail. We attempted to do and out-and-back to Willow Pass, but above 11,000 ft. there was still and the trail was not visible and impassable. We hiked up and tried to trail run down, but the large rocks during most of the trail made trail running less than ideal. Good facilities at the parking lot (toilets, water, etc.). Make sure you go to aspenchamber.org to reserve a parking permit in advance as parking is very limited and permits are required to park at the trailhead.

Bud Abel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 11, 2019
Hiking

Great trail, snowmass lake has rainbow and brook trout that we caught

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Nicolas Chamel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 8, 2019
Hiking

Après une montée assez raide à travers la forêt, le sentier débouche sur une immense prairie de fleurs sauvages très colorées au milieux desquelles se terrent de nombreuses marmottes. La montée du col Willow est éprouvante mais offre une vue grandiose sur les montagnes environnantes et sur le lac Willow.

Sara Hedenlöf
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Hiking

Great hike and great views. Not at all crowded once you get past the first lake. We got there after 8 so the road was closed for cars and we had to take the bus. It was pretty smooth but parking cost 15 and then 8 each for the bus, ergo don’t be late :)

Doug Grant
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Backpacking

On July 29, 2019 crampons are not necessary on this trail. Several very small snow crossings mostly on the buckskin side of the pass.

David M
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 28, 2019
BackpackingMuddySnow

Still plenty of snow crossings on both sides of the pass (8 on the Minnehaha Gulch side, 7 on the Lake side) but nothing that requires traction, even in the afternoon (poles are helpful). The first snow on the trail is in avalanche debris where a makeshift trail cuts left when hitting the downed trees. The second snow crossing is a bridge at the first creek crossing that is plenty thick a few feet from its edge. Plenty of mud/water in the trail on the lake side as well. We were the only campers at the lake the night of the 28th with great camping near the eastern shore. Bugs were present but minimal, no wildlife near camp (marmots stayed higher on the Sievers South saddle). Great overnight with perfect weather

Jeff Hunter
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HikingSnow
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Jaime Bakeman
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Hiking

Couldn’t complete. Bushwhacked through avalanche zone after crater lake and was able to find trail again. Trails runs for 1/2 mile with stream running down it until you start hitting snow. We made it a mile past Crater Lake before turning back. Trail finding issues with the large amount of snow. Next time we will bring microspikes and snowshoes and extra battery for GPS. It was gorgeous! So much fun despite not making it all the way.

Katie Peters
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 28, 2018

Did this on 6/23! Most amazing and beautiful hike really makes you feel like you’re “in” the mountains! Didn’t see many people once high up. Flowers were great too!

Jennifer Orlando
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 22, 2018

Amazing hike! Completed this on 6/22, no worries about snow patches. Willow pass from maroon lake is a bit tricky, but well worth it!

Vasyl Alba
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Hiking

Picturesque views. Technically it is an easy hike, but only if you are in a good shape and used to high elevation.

Andrew McKenzie
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Hiking

Still a lot of snow after Crater Lake. It'd be decent with snowshoes, postholed without. Hard to find trail at times but manageable. Beautiful trail and amazing views.

Jilly Bean
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Beautiful hike , perfect weather. Start early

Camila Niero
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Awesome hike, be prepared for the open fields, coming back from the lake is harder than it seems

Mike Movall
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Backpacking

Did this over 4th of July weekend. Still plenty of snow but wasn't too much of a problem. Slippery in some spots but the pass was clear. The hike ascends without much of a break until you get to Willow Pass. Incredible views looking back on the Bells and the 360 degree view at the pass make this hike well worth it.

Brittani Smith
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Absolutely amazing and strenuous trail!

Megan Urrutia
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Backpacking

7/19/2016: Maroon Lake, Crater Lake, Buckskin Pass, Willow Pass. Incredible scenery, tough elevations.

Kate L
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 29, 2016
Hiking

This is a beautiful, strenuous and rewarding hike. You can experience Maroon Lake, Crater Lake, Willow Pass and Willow Lake all in one hike. I recommend starting early as the majority of the hike is above treeline and very exposed to the sun. You have no shade from the final ascent to Willow Pass until Willow Lake. Keep in mind, you'll be ascending again on the way back from the lake, so save some energy for that significant 1.5 mile incline, let alone the remaining descent back to Maroon Lake. Wildflowers were abundant in late July as were pika and marmots. It was a very quiet hike on a Thursday morning. I kept a decent pace with a brief break at the lake and finished the hike in 7-8 hours.

DeWayne Hansen
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Camping
First to Review

Hiked up this trail 1st day , Then set up camp.2002-09-15

diego ortiz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 24, 2020
Hiking
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