West Maroon Trail is a 20.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Aspen, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
20.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
5,396 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

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.

24 days ago

Beautiful wild flowers!!

hiking
27 days 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
27 days 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.

hiking
28 days ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

Make sure to bring your rain gear

1 month ago

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.

2 months ago

Not for the faint of heart. This trail has serious elevation change and the trail on the Maroon Bell side of the pass is full of rocks.

hiking
2 months ago

Friends and I hiked half of this trail (one way), from Crested Butte to Aspen on 8/1. We took Dolly’s shuttle to the trailhead. No restrooms at trailhead from this direction. The hike is beautiful. Flower season was early this year, but we still had many to view. The lupine smell amazing! Lots of water crossings, they weren’t as big as we had expected. It’s dry this year. I went through about 2 liters of water. I was carrying a filter, didn’t need to use it. Unfortunately, wildfire smoke was evident in the sky. I don’t normally use poles, but had them on this trip. Glad I did! The trail has a lot of loose rocks, especially above Crater Lake. We saw and heard many pika, fresh bear scat (we think), bees and a few hummingbirds. The trail was more crowded than expected, still wonderful. Great campsites and backcountry spots if you’ll be hiking part way or half, then back. We again used Dolly’s shuttle back to CB. Dolly’s arrangements need to be made well in advance. I would possibly plan this hike differently next time... but would love to see it again!

hiking
Monday, October 02, 2017

Such a wonderful hike! Beautiful views throughout, moderately challenging, with quite a bit of wildlife (mule deer, marmot, pica, birds/hawks). It was pretty snowy while hiking over the pass, so make sure to bring at least poles +/- crampons. Make sure to get transportation EARLY through Dolly's or Alpine Express, as they run out of permits weeks/months ahead of your trip ($20 each way/person). The Aspen to CB hike is much harder than the way back, so I would recommend going from Aspen to CB, staying a few nights to enjoy the charm of CB, and hike back. You can get a shuttle to take you back or transport your car to CB from Aspen, but I think this is a waste of money and a missed opportunity to enjoy an absolutely beautiful hike. It is about 2/3 downhill on the way back, and much easier than the way to CB. Don't be lazy, finish the loop, and hike back :)

As an aside, rent a hardtail mountain bike and do the Lupine Trail to the Lower Loop trail. Such an awesome ride with gorgeous scenery throughout! It took me a couple hours, but I stopped to take a bunch of pictures. I rented a bike up at the Elevation Hotel for $35/half day (maybe a bit more expensive than in town, but higher up the hill and closer to the trail). Throw your bike on the free shuttle that goes through town and up the hill, and do it a few times if you wish!

Happy hiking!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Beautiful trail! Heads up at the first creek crossing....easily missed. Just check your map. Trail is well/heavily traveled so it is noticeably obvious except in the scree.
Highly recommend *

hiking
Monday, September 25, 2017

Did this hike about a week ago and it was just beautiful!
We started our hike at around 07:45 am at Maroon Lake Parking Area. There were quite a few people around Maroon Lake taking pictures of Maroon Bells in the morning sun which was just stunning. The trail to Crater Lake seems to be very popular as well but after that you won't see too many people anymore. The trail itself is not very steep but it is a constant incline and that combined with the mileage makes for a pretty significant hike. We usually hike at a very relaxed pace so this hike took us about 8.5 hrs to complete and needless to say I was very happy to be back at the car! That being said, the scenery is incredible all the way to the pass (and back of course) and I highly recommend the hike!

Just one more tip: If you plan on camping at one of the campsites on Maroon Creek Road and didn't make a reservation online you better be there early (they start giving away the few walk up spots at 7am)! When we got there in the afternoon every single campsite around Aspen was completely full with a lot of people driving around trying to get a spot so keep that in mind.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Even though we walked this the first weekend of September, the wildflowers in the Meadows were still in bloom. It is a great hike with mountain views and generally good signage. One note: we missed the turn to cross to the west bank of the river, so be sure to review the end-to-end route. We hiked Aspen to CB and once we left Crater Lake, we only saw a few other hikers. The rating is entirely about elevation gain, as the trail itself is only challenging for short sections in the primary ascent to the pass.

Sunday, September 03, 2017

This was a beautiful trail and definitely a good workout! We did this trail Aug 11-12. We started in Aspen and camped overnight just past Crater Lake. We hiked the rest of the trail in the morning and got to the trailhead in Crested Butte around 2 pm. If you're not planning on hiking back, ARRANGE A SHUTTLE AHEAD OF TIME! The drive from Crested Butte to Aspen is 3 hours. We tried to use Dollys shuttle service to transport us from Crested Butte back to Aspen but never received a call back. We called multiple times and left several voicemails but never once received a call back from Dolly's. I emailed the owner to tell him about the poor customer service and he was very rude. I would not recommend them, however, there are not a lot of other options so do your research ahead of time. Overall beautiful trail. Tough and muddy in spots but the views are worth it. The wildflowers on the Crested Butte side where absolutely beautiful.

hiking
Thursday, August 17, 2017

Took the Crested Butte to Aspen route to avoid the additional 1,000 feet of elevation gain and my legs were sure glad I did. We camped off of Slate River Rd (734) at a dispersed campsite so we were able to drive to the trail head since Gothic Rd (317) is still partially closed from the avalanche and down trees. The flowers on the CB side are incredible while the Aspen side was muddy and busy. Definitely a premier Colorado hike.

hiking
Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Hiked Aspen to Crested Butte and then back the next day. Beautiful hike, the wildflowers are fully in blown especially on the Crested Butte side. It's muddy with several creek crossings. Hiking poles will be helpful for the steep and rocky parts. If you arrange for a shuttle through Dolly's Shuttle on the Crested Butte side you can avoid the 2 extra miles from the avalanche.

hiking
Monday, August 07, 2017

Hiked from Aspen to Crested Butte on July 15... very muddy and the extra 2.5 miles from the avalanche covering Gothic Road were killer. With that said, it was breathtaking and like no other hike! It's worth it for the mountains, the snow, and the wildflowers. And the Aspen side is very different from the CB side. Beautiful.

hiking
Friday, August 04, 2017

I hiked Aspen to CB. The views and flowers were amazing. I have never seen such spectacular flowers as I did on the CB side.
1. Bring water shoes. There is still a stream crossing this year that's about 2ft deep;cold and slippery. I used a pole to help my balance after watching 2 people slip and fall in.

2. Aspen side had a lot of mud and water. I recommend high top waterproof boots. This is different than other years. Typically trail isn't so wet and muddy.

3. Shuttle has worked out an option so you don't have to walk the 2 miles to and from the snow slide to catch it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wildflowers were unreal! Such a beautiful hike and extremely rewarding

Monday, June 26, 2017

I did this trail June 19, 2017. We could only make it 4.25 miles out. We made it well past Crater Lake. After Crater Lake, you are mostly walking on snow and the trail is difficult to find. To go over the pass, you need the right technical gear at this point in the season. We didn't meet anyone that day who had made it over. Most beautiful hike!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Super beautiful during the wild flower season! Part of 4 pass loop but still not too crowded

hiking
Thursday, September 29, 2016

First half is just amazing - not to be missed! But be prepared for rocky terrain.

Monday, September 05, 2016

7/21/2016: Incredible. Bring plenty of water if you're hiking the pass.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

We hiked from the East end of the trail in CB into Aspen. It was raining and hovering just below 50 degrees, but even in the slug if was a gorgeous hike!

hiking
Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hiked from Maroon Lake 3.6 miles out (couldn't cross the stream with 2 young kids). Fairly rocky, totally worth it, but wear good shoes. Half exposed. If you're going to DRIVE in, you have to be through the gate BEFORE 8am! Gorgeous hike, busier as the day goes on.

hiking
Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Great moderate hike for 4 miles then a little steep the last 2/10 up. Drove to trailhead on Gothic past Emerald lake in minivan, very dry day! Hike is over 8 miles there and back. You can complete a long trek to Aspen and get shuttled back or camp.

hiking
Thursday, October 15, 2015

This was the first leg in a two day back-packing trip. It's a beautiful hike. You start at Maroon Lake, walk up to Crater Lake, and then up the valley and to the Pass. It's a longer day hike (closer to 11 if you go from trail head to trail head), and about three grand in elevation gain, but honestly not that difficult. For those interested in camping, you can't disperse camp near the trail-head in Aspen, instead you have to pay a small fee to stay in the campgrounds that are there. For us it was worth it since we were getting up early to start the day. Also, the parking fills up FAST. We went labor day weekend and it was completely full by 6:30am. Apparently this is the case on most weekends, not just holidays. There is an option to park in town and take a shuttle if you aren't able to find a spot in the main lot or the overflow lot, but the shuttle doesn't start running until 8am, which is a bit late to get started in my opinion. Once you get to the opposite trail-head, you can either disperse camp, or take a shuttle into the town of Crested Butte and stay the night. Another logistical piece, while the East and West Maroon Trail-Heads are close together on the Aspen side, they are NOT close together on the Crested Butte side. They are about 6 miles apart on the Crested Butte side. We opted to take a shuttle (Dolly's Mountain Shuttle) from trail-head to trail-head, camped at the base of the West Trail and hiked that way back to Aspen.

hiking
Sunday, August 02, 2015

Hiked Aspen to Crested Butte and back in 3 days (with a full day and a massage in CB in between) with our dog (a 6 year old beagle). Dog did great on the hike (as usual), but my wife doesn't do well at altitude and got sick on the pass and descent. 12,000 ft is her limit and since the pass is only a little over that we thought she'd be fine. Otherwise, a great hike. Oddly, she was completely fine on the return trip, on which we took the same trail/route. We were a bit late in the season for wildflowers, but the view looking down the pass toward Aspen is beautiful. In CB we stayed in a private room at the hostel for cheap to avoid having to pack too much gear. Dog-friendly, too!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

An awesome hike that starts at Maroon Lake, up to Crater Lake, and up the Valley between the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak beyond the lake. In the summer(July-August), wildflowers are abundant, great hike for photography.

hiking
Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hiked from Crested Butte to Aspen in 3 days. Great backcountry camping, great trails, unbelievable views. Could not be more fantastic!!

hiking
Saturday, August 24, 2013

Beautiful views. Went from Aspen to Crested Butte with a larger group. Strenuous when you near the pass - stop and look around at the awe-inspiring views. Well worth the effort.

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