West Maroon Bells Pass is a 7.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Crested Butte, Colorado that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and backpacking and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length7.8 miElevation gain2,165 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashBackpackingHikingForestRiverViewsWildflowersWildlifeSnow
Description
Waypoints (0)
Getting There

This version of the hike up to West Maroon Bells Pass is for those starting and finishing on the Crested Butte side of the pass. A 12-mile drive from Crested Butte Mountain Resort on CR 317 through Gothic, CO and on to the trailhead (will be on the right side of CR 317). A low-grade incline will take you up to the West Maroon Bells Pass for incredible views out and back.

12 miles from Crested Butte Mountain Resort on CR 317 to the trailhead. You'll pass through Gothic, Colorado on the way (trailhead is 7 miles from Gothic). 4x4 vehicle is recommended to get there.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (100)
Photos (390)
Activities (75)
Completed (559)
View user's profile page
airstream dog
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 18, 2020
HikingGreat!

Gorgeous with a few tough climbs. We maybe liked nearby Rustlers Gulch a bit better? NOTE: sanity check your Google driving directions! Take 317 a few miles past Gothic. 734 tried to kill us and we're experienced and in a high-clearance truck.

View user's profile page
G Houser
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 15, 2020
HikingMuddy

Awesome scenery. Great trail! The trail gently goes up till the last half mile or so. Then it is relatively steep going up to the spires. This last part was very muddy and slippery on our hike as a result of snow a couple days earlier. The road to the trail head definitely needs a high clearance and preferably a four wheel drive. One section of road is one lane with limited turnouts. Keep your fingers crossed that you don’t have to pass a car going the other way.

View user's profile page
Joshua Peter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 14, 2020
Hiking

Looking for updates on the condition of Gothic Road to the trailhead after the recent snow. Driving a Subaru Crosstrek. Many thanks!

View user's profile page
scott Kumbier
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 4, 2020
Hiking
View scott's activity
View user's profile page
Shawn Koehler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
HikingGreat!

Hiked on 7/30/20 - the views and flowers were tremendous! Stop and enjoy the fields of wildflowers within 1-2 miles of the pass. The hummingbirds are fun to watch.

View user's profile page
Patrick Barrett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 31, 2020
Hiking

Can anyone update me on the road from Gothic to the trailhead...In the past I had no trouble with my Forester but I'm not seeing any current road info....Can anyone please give me current info...Thanks !!!!

View user's profile page
Richard Charles Stitt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 30, 2020
Hiking

Hiked to the pass on 7/30 and the wildflowers were spectacular from about 11,200 to 12,200. The flowers at the lower level had already peaked and saw very few sunflowers or columbine. But the higher elevations brought out the most amazing display of wildflowers I’ve seen on this hike! Lots of people hiking that day and everyone stopped frequently to take pictures. I’m not sure why some people say the hike is easy, because it’s not. The first half is easy and then as you start climbing, it gets very steep and more difficult, right to the pass. But it’s an amazing hike every year and a true wildflower extravaganza. BTW, the parking lot was full when we arrived around 8:30. First time I’ve seen that many cars. My favorite!

View user's profile page
Len Gehring
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 26, 2020
Hiking

Fun easy trail. The wild flowers were beautiful and the views were wonderful. We did not make it to the pass as we took our time looking at flowers. The hardest part of the hike seems to be the switchbacks which is where we turned around. Will need to come back for the complete hike.

View Len's activity
View user's profile page
Anisa Moore
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 14, 2020
Hiking

Wildflower extravaganza!!! We hiked this trail today & saw masses of columbines. Indian paintbrushes, & sunflowers at their peak. I’ve lived in CO since 1985, & I’ve never seen so many columbines in my life. You don’t have to go far, either—tons of flowers in the first 2 miles. A definite repeat!

View user's profile page
Kim Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful! Must have high clearance vehicle to drive all the way to trailhead. Otherwise must park and hike or bike 2 miles. Hike is all uphill with wildflowers everywhere

View user's profile page
Calvin Yee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 12, 2020

Amazing trail with lots of wildflowers. Gorgeous day with perfect weather.

View Calvin's activity
View user's profile page
Erica Jane
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2020
Hiking

High clearance vehicle needed to get to trailhead otherwise it’s a 2 mile walk to get there. On the walk there you will pass emerald lake which is gorgeous.

View Erica's activity
View user's profile page
Molly Murtaugh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 2, 2020
HikingNo shade
View Molly's activity
View user's profile page
Jason Fleming
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 26, 2020
Hiking

One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. The trail was pretty easy to follow and soft on the feet. The last push up to the pass was pretty steep but the rest of the trail is pretty moderate. I would recommend a high clearance vehicle to get to trailhead.

View Jason's activity
View user's profile page
Aronne Rudalinni
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 18, 2020
Hiking

Tremendous hike. We made it to the bowl, about 2.5 -3 miles up. Just a great hike. The views are spectacular. Trail was steep at times, but actually quite a soft incline for much.

View user's profile page
Kelsey Viet
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 16, 2020
HikingRocky

I tried this trail last weekend but had to park 2.5 miles from the trail head due to the road being impassable for my RAV4. I ended up on a different close trail. Totally still enjoyed the experience but my waterproof shoes were completely soaked by the end. It’s random and melting enough that spikes wouldn’t be helpful but I did wish I hadn’t left my poles on the car.

View user's profile page
Tim Powell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 14, 2020
Hiking

Quite a few snow drifts still, particularly when you get close to the pass. Prepare for wet shoes! Pass is not reachable from the Aspen side due to snow.

View user's profile page
Sarah B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 5, 2019
Hiking

Completed this hike sept 28th, started a bit later than expected so only went to the pass and back to the CB side, longer than the 7.8 marked, closer to 8.5. Absolutely stunning the entire way through. Not as difficult as I expected it to be, a bit of scramble the last .5 to the summit but otherwise a pretty mellow trail. Be aware to not turn towards frigid air pass instead of west maroon, this was clearly marked. One of my top 5 favorite hikes in CO! Summit was windy and not a whole lot of room to hang out FYI! Enjoy!!

View user's profile page
Gary Myers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 17, 2019
Hiking

Did this hike on Tuesday Aug 13th. This is probably my favorite hike of all time. Unfortunately you have to park 2 miles or so short of the trailhead because of a snowfield. Makes for a long day, especially since the last 2 miles are uphill. Acres and acres of beautiful wildflowers, a few snow patches and mountain views that will take your breath away. Took our time going up but made it from top to trailhead in 2 hours. Highly recommend this hike.

View user's profile page
Frank Lan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 5, 2019
Hiking

Did it on 8/4. What an amazing hike that began with unreal wildflowers in the valley and ended with breathtaking views of the valleys down and mountain peaks on both sides of the pass. It’s a bit more difficult than usual because we’d have to do an extra 2 miles hike to the trail head because of the impasse caused by the avalanche just south of Emerald Lake (don’t think that it’ll be melt down to be passable by cars this summer). But it’s definitely worth it! The flowers were in full bloom at lower elevation and not quite there yet at higher elevation. There’re a few snow patches to walk through without much trouble. The climb to the top is hard but fairly short.

View user's profile page
Alan Cole
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 23, 2018
Hiking

The road in from Crested Butte Mountain is dirt. The road near Emerald Lake is narrow and in some places one vehicle. Can be a little daunting. Once at trailhead there was plenty on spots. Really a big view hike out and back. Single file trail mostly. The pass summit was awesome. This is an achievable hike. It does get windy up there.

View Alan's activity
View user's profile page
John Kollmeier
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 8, 2018
Hiking

A nice option and a way to split off from the possibly crowded main trail is to include Hasley Pass and Frigid Air Pass in a clockwise loop. I've heard this route referred to as the West Maroon Short Loop. The views east over the ridge between Hasley and FA are breathtaking. Then celebrate a successful day hike at Secret Stash Pizza in CB.

View user's profile page
Kenny Perret
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2018
Hiking

Just did this hike 2 days ago. The wildflowers were in full bloom. One of our favorite hikes in CB. The dogs loved the hike also. Took us about 5 hours from trailhead to the peak and back.

View user's profile page
Joe Mossa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 28, 2018

Unreal wildflowers

View user's profile page
Lauren Cavender
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 16, 2018

I’ve done this hike several times both from CB to Maroon Bells/Aspen or vice versa. If you hit it right, it is the most beautiful hike in Colorado from a flora perspective. Glimpse of heaven. The colors and variety of flowers is hard to rival anywhere else I have seen. You have a great range from meadows, to creeks, to the saddle and rock/shale fields, to forest and aspen groves, to lakes and rivers! Colorado and nature is showing off! The fireweed is about to burst and hike should be good thru early August for wildflowers.

View user's profile page
Anisa Moore
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 14, 2018
Hiking

I’ve lived in CO for over 30 years, and this trail is hands down the most breathtaking display of wildflowers that I have ever seen! The first quarter mile goes through a wooded area before opening into wide meadows, where we hiked through a sea of waist-high wildflowers in every direction. The meadows include abundant displays of mule’s ears, larkspur, columbines, paintbrush (red, purple, and sulfur), lupine, bluebells, cow parsnip, corn lilies, elephantheads, sneezeweed, daisies, fleabane, and more. The first couple miles are easy-moderate dirt single track. The third mile up to the pass summit is extremely strenuous and rocky, but the path is notable for more columbines plus king’s crown, Parry’s primrose, death camas, and other alpine flowers. The sheer quantity and variety of wildflowers in mid-July on this trail is mind-blowing—much better than Trail 403, which we hiked yesterday.. If you want to see wildflowers, this is the trail for you!

View user's profile page
D H
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2018
Hiking

I did this in combination with the trail to Maroon Lake making for a 31 mile rt. First and foremost; the wildflowers on this trail are absolutely stunning right now! The views to the south are beautiful and when you add flowers in the mix it only makes it better. Trail is well graded and not too rocky (the exception being the last half a mile up to the pass). Do this trail early during monsoon season as there is limited cover.

View user's profile page
Tatiana Timmins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 8, 2018

This trail is gorgeous at the end of July! So many beautiful wildflowers along the way. The views were breathtaking the entire time. It got a little mushy and wet on the other side of the pass, so we set up camp about a mile after summiting. Better as a short backpacking trip, but can be done as a day trip if you leave early. I did this trip with 5 of my girlfriends as a backpacking trip and we had a blast. Not too difficult, but it did test out mental strength as well as our physical strength. Hiking poles were such a blessing. Also, wear hiking shoes that you don’t mind getting wet as you’ll be crossing streams and walking in snow at times. Layers are also helpful. We parked just outside of the town of Gothic and had to hike a few miles until we got to the trailhead. Such a magical hike with my best friends.

View user's profile page
Vincent Cedre
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 8, 2018
Hiking

This trail pays! We hiked to the top of the pass in 3 hours. A camel pack and 3 power bars should do it. Get after it!

View user's profile page
Robin Davies
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 21, 2018
Hiking

My husband and I did this 6.21.2018. While we are both in decent shape, we're from Tampa where the elevation is about 30ft. We took our time and enjoyed the views, so this was a full day hike for us. The road leading to the trailhead was blocked by a snowdrift from a recent avalanche near Emerald Lake, so we had to hike an additional 2+ miles just to access the trail which increased our total round trip to 12.7 miles. The hike out was pretty moderate, with a gradual uphill until the final elevation climb up to the pass. The hike back was great and mostly downhill.Every step of this hike was absolutely beautiful with postcard worthy views, and at the end of the trail all your hard work is rewarded with one of the most incredible views I've seen. Despite all the cars in the parking area and all the bike traffic on our way to the trail, we only encountered a few other couples the entire day.

View Robin's activity
Showing results 1 - 30 of 100