Directions: From Aspen, take Maroon Creek Road (closed in winter) southwest for about 10 miles to the Maroon Lake Parking Area. There is a fee to enter this area and there is mandatory shuttle service from mid-June to September. However, if you get there before 9:00AM you can drive yourself to Maroon Lake.
The Maroon Lake Scenic Trail is both easy and phenomenal. It might be the easiest hike in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and it certainly brings the views. So much so that you will not be alone on this trail and you will have to fight your through the first 10 minuets as people come from all over the world to photograph Maroon Lake with the Maroon Bells and the Aspen Forest in the distance. If you arrive early on the weekdays you'll have a better chance of avoiding the crowds, but if there are a ton of people, fear not. The crowds thin out drastically as you start hiking to the far end of the lake.
The views can't be beat in Colorado. This is a viewpoint that every Colorado citizen should experience. The trail skirts the north shore of the lake and enters the aspen forest at the far end. You'll gain a little altitude and then come to a junction. Straight ahead are the trails to Crater Lake, Maroon Pass, Buckskin Pass, and the Maroon Bells, you want to turn left here for the Scenic Trail. The trail has an upper and a lower section and the upper section is amazing. You cross Maroon Creek various times, pass through stunning forest, and get non-stop views of the Maroon Bells. The trail is easy to follow and links back around to the rejoin the main trail at the north shore of the lake.
The Upper Scenic Trail is a great way to beat the crowds and get a view of the Maroon Bells that you simply can't see from the lake, and oh yeah, don't forget to look to the south for a great view of Pyramid Peak looming overhead...
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Upper Maroon Lake Scenic Loop
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, White River National Forest
Date Hiked: June 16, 2013
Distance: 2 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 300ft
Elevation Min/Max: 9,550 to 9,720ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 39.098476º N; 106.940412º W
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service
Fee: Yes, National Park Pass Accepted