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    West Maroon Pass

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    Very Hard
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    23.4 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    1,182 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
    Overall Rating
    This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
    Physical Difficulty
    This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
    Advanced (Diamond)
    Suitable for advanced experience level looking for a solid adventure.
    Technical Difficulty
    This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
    Intermediate (Square)
    Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
    Read Reviews
    Directions to Trailhead
    Panorama of the West Maroon Pass in Aspen

    One of the classic long hikes though the Maroon Bells Wilderness, the trek up to West Maroon Pass is certainly not one to miss. Be forewarned, however, that there are two gnarly creek crossings that separate you from the prize of this high alpine pass.

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    Route Description for West Maroon Pass

    From the parking area, or the shuttle drop off point, head down to Maroon Lake. The view across Maroon Lake with Maroon Peak in the background is stunning. It’s one of the most photographed shots in the Colorado Rockies, so enjoy this absolutely stunning vista before starting the work ahead of you.

    Continue around the north side of the lake. At the end of the lake the trail will begin to climb gently. For another mile or so you will gently gain elevation through sparse trees. After that 1.6 km, you’ll reach a junction. Head left along the West Maroon Creek Trail.

    You will begin heading up the long valley carved by Maroon Creek. Maroon Peak looms over you on the right, and Pyramid Peak towers on your left. Though trending upwards, the path undulates up and down a little bit.

    Along this section of trail you will encounter two treacherous creek crossings. Take extreme care. After large rainfalls or during the ‘melt’ season these creeks can run quite high and are best avoided. Expect to get wet up to your knees. These two creek crossings are the crux of the hike, and a fair number of groups turn around when the rivers run at a dangerous rate.

    Finally the trail will start to veer to the right (west) as you find yourself at the bottom of a high alpine cirque. To your right will be Belleview Mountain at 4,033 m and to your left will be an unnamed 4,002 m mountain.

    Finally begin the ascent up the rocky slopes to West Maroon Pass. After one long switchback you will find yourself at the craggy pass. Looking down the other side, you’ll be able to see down into the Purity Basin, with Galena Mountain looming on the opposite side. Return the way you came, and yes, revisit the creek crossing again. Note that the creeks will run higher later in the day, especially when there is snow-melt feeding them.

    Insider Hints for West Maroon Pass

    • Trekking poles and water shoes are practically essential for the water crossings. Do not do these crossings barefoot, as walking with a cut food is way worse than walking with wet shoes!
    • Afternoon thunderstorms are common in this part of the world. Be sure to be off the pass and down to the trees by early afternoon.
    • This hike can be completed as part of the Four Pass Loop, one of the greatest backpacking trips in the Colorado Rockies. Inquire at the ranger station in Aspen for more information about this stunning two- to four-night backpack.
    • A fee is required to enter this section of the park, or a National Parks Pass. Note that for most of the summer, Maroon Creek Rd is closed from around 8a.m.-5p.m. If that is the case, you will have to take the Shuttle from Aspen Highlands Ski Area. Contact the National Forest Service for more information on the shuttle.

    Getting to the West Maroon Pass Trailhead

    Head west out of Aspen along Colorado 82. At the first traffic circle take the second exit onto Maroon Creek Rd. Continue along Maroon Creek Rd for 15.1 km.

    Route Information

    • When to do

      Late June through September

    • Backcountry Campsites

      Yes, In the National Forest Wilderness

    • Toilets

      Yes, at trailhead

    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    West Maroon Pass Elevation Graph

    Weather Forecast

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    West Maroon Pass Reviews

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