Features: Fall Colors — Lake — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs
Maroon Peak, AKA "South Maroon," is a fairly typical Elk Range 14er. It's steep, loose, and long. Make sure you have a good weather window, and bring all the necessities - warm clothes, rain gear, water, helmet, sun protection, food, etc. It wouldn't be a bad idea to have a partner on this one, as route finding is difficult. Done from the parking lot, this a big outing - 11 miles and 5,400 ft elevation gain!
Find the trail to the right off of West Maroon Trail
at 10,400 ft. Look for the cairns pictured above. They should come shortly after a stream crossing by some bushes. The next section is affectionately known as the "2,800 ft of suck." This is a fitting name, as it rises 2,800 vertical ft and sucks. The trail zigzags up Maroon's east slopes, which are - you guessed it - extremely steep and loose. While the going's class 2, it's just so incredibly steep at parts you may find yourself crawling. Look for cairns along loose dirt trails, crossing a few small talus fields. It may be tempting to climb directly up to the ridge - don't! You'll get both lost and cliffed out, as will become apparent once you're closer to the summit.
Near 13,250 ft, come to the south ridge. Continue along some dirt and rocks for a few hundred ft before reaching the scrambling. From here the route finding can be difficult, but makes for some fun climbing. Scramble over ridge proper briefly before dropping down and to the left. Follow some cairns along an exposed section before coming to a rock chimney (pictured). Climb up 20 ft or so and then immediately turn left, continuing back toward ridge proper. Drop back down to the left and continue toward a gully. Climb up the gully on some talus. Staying on the left side will give you some handholds and make it easier to find the cairns about halfway up the gully.
Continue along some ledges before climbing up a second gully, less steep and less loose than the first. There are multiple routes from here. Continue up and search for cairns. The climbing shouldn't get above class 3. Near the summit the grade decreases. Top out and enjoy the views!
Mountain goats have been known to kick rocks at climbers. Be careful and bring a helmet.