A very popular but steep day hike often used as a starting point for extended backpacking trips.”
— Tom Robson
From mid-June through September, Maroon Creek Road is restricted to vehicles from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. beyond the T-Lazy 7 Ranch. Take the shuttle from Aspen Highlands Ski Area, which leaves every 20 minutes; dogs are allowed on the bus.
The Maroon Bells Scenic Area is a recreation fee area; there is a mandatory fee. The Interagency, Senior & Golden Access Passes are honored.
Features: Fall Colors — Lake — River/Creek — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
At the Crater Lake bulletin board, the trail forks to the right and climbs steeply through aspen and spruce forest for 1 mile to Minnehaha Gulch. A stream divides the nearly one mile long gulch in half with campsites available before and after the stream crossing.
The trail continues its steep ascent exiting the gulch into an alpine meadow with Buckskin Pass looming ahead. A trail sign for the Maroon-Snowmass /Willow Lake junction appears in another 1/2 mile. Take the left fork which continues to follow the Maroon-Snowmass Trail through the meadow to a series of switchbacks that climb steeply to Buckskin Pass. If hiking beyond the pass, the next available campsites are 2 miles ahead.