Maroon Lake Trailhead


Range: Elk Mountains
Coordinates: 39.09862, -106.94064
14ers: Maroon Peak, North Maroon Peak, Pyramid Peak
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Road Difficulty

Paved Road 0   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD paved to the TH.

Driving Directions

NOTICE: For 2020, you must book in-advance to get an overnight parking spot at the Maroon Lake trailhead. Please visit this page for more information. Summer parking will likely be booked fast so you'll probably have to park in town and ride the shuttle up the night before your hike.
Full Link:

Drive to Aspen and locate the start of to the Maroon Creek road at a roundabout just west of town. Measuring mileage from there, drive 3.2 miles where you'll pass a ranch. At 4.7 miles, reach the U.S. Forest Service entrance station. During summer, there are restrictions to general travel on the Maroon Creek road. The road is closed to cars 8am to 5pm and people ride buses to reach the lake. The bus station is located down the road, at the base of Aspen Highlands. If you're backpacking in and camping before your climb, there are two overnight parking lots near Maroon Lake and if they are not full, the entrance station personnel may allow you to proceed during the day. If the lots are mostly full, they may ask you to come back at 5pm when some of the overnight hikers have driven out. If you're arriving after 5pm and there's no one at the station, you can pay the entrance fee and drive up. Just be sure to park in one of the overnight lots, not the marked, "Day Use" lots. If you plan to arrive at the trailhead early in the morning (definitely before 8am) and day-hike, you can drive up to the trailhead and park in one of the "Day Use" lots. The Crater Lake trail starts near far end of Maroon Lake.

Winter Access

Closed at the ranch, many miles below the TH, but the road is usually packed down by snowmobiles.
Status Updates 
Posted By: angry
Info: Reservation system is seamless. Once you arrive at lot, just park in the applicable section. Overnight requires you to print your confirmation and place on dashboard.
Posted By: markf
Info: Parking at the Maroon Lake TH is now by reservation only. Reservations are made online at and are $10.
Posted By: Chicago Transplant
Info: Road opened Friday 5.24.19 according to the local paper.
Posted By: lodgling
Info: Road is closed at T Lazy 7 Ranch. There are two brief concrete patches so far. Sleds are getting past slide debris at 7 mile mark, but not past debris at 8 mile mark. Getting past that pile on foot adds a good 20 minutes or so.
Posted By: Conor J
Info: I had no problems getting up to the trailhead to park in overnight parking, as I arrived at around 10:30 pm, however I climbed with someone who said there was still an attendant at the booth at 7:30 pm, who was turning people away due to full overnight lots. Could be the fact that the leaves are in full swing, but be ready to be turned away potentially!
Posted By: madmattd
Info: Got the last legal spot in the upper overnight lot at 6:15am on Thursday 8/9. Both lower/overflow lots had filled minutes before we got there. Several "creative" parking jobs in the overnight lots when we returned Friday afternoon. Day use lot was slightly less than 1/2 full both when we arrived and when we left, noticed several cars with "notes" on their windshields and payment envelopes. Pay the parking fee before you park ($10)! (National Parks Pass accepted).
Posted By: wireless973
Info: Got to the entrance at around 4pm on a Monday and saw the "overnight parking full" sign. I continued to the main gate and sure enough they told me there was in fact overnight parking available. It seems they just leave that sign up all the time so you might as well drive all the way up since people are constantly coming and going from the overnight lot. When I got back from my hike at around 1 pm on Tuesday almost all of the day spots were filled but there were still overnight parking spots available even though the gate once again said it was full.
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: This was on a Wednesday... Reached the Maroon Lake road USFS entrance station at 3pm to find they have posted a temporary sign stating overnight hikers will be let in at 5pm if there is sufficient parking. The attendant confirmed this and told us to come back at 5pm or later in the evening when the station is unattended. However, we came back at 4:30 and the attendant said there was now enough spots so he let us pass. When we got up there the two overnight lots (West Maroon Creek Portal and general overnight) were about 1/2 empty. If you’re going on a weekend, you might want to park ($) at the bus station and take the bus up to the lake.

Also, we camped at Crater Lake site #4 and had a bear nose around our camp at night.
Posted By: Eli Boardman
Info: The road and parking is totally dry and open.

Just posting to say that the Silver Bell campground is open. It said online it wouldn’t open for a while, but it is in fact open now. The other campgrounds on the road are closed.
Posted By: TakeMeToYourSummit
Info: The road is definitely open & crawling with tourists. Pictures included to show snow levels.
Posted By: cloudkicker
Info: Per the Aspen Chamber website:

"Maroon Creek road is scheduled to open May 10th 2018 at 4pm."
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Road open to Maroon Lake!
Posted By: One Sierra Charlie
Info: Road is gated 6 miles below Maroon Lake, but is dry all but the last half mile.
Posted By: WillRobnett
Info: Road closed approx 6 miles from the Maroon Lake. Freeze/thaw cycles on the road consistent up to the day-use parking. Full snow coverage 1.5 miles from the lake. Coverage is 2 feet deep at Maroon Lake. Alpine start, brought snowshoes and didn‘t need them. Gaiters were good to have at the lake.
Posted By: HikerGuy
Info: Arrived at the welcome station around 5:30-5:45, a ranger was still there collecting the entrance fee ($10). She directed me to the overnight parking lot. There is NO sleeping in your vehicle at either the day lot or overnight lot, clearly signed. I spoke with other hikers later on that they were able to sleep in their vehicle in the lower overflow lots and no signs were posted there. As soon as I reached Maroon Lake, I was approached by a ranger and asked if I had a bear canister, I did. Another couple hoping to start the Four Pass Loop were turned away because they did not have a hard-sided canister, I felt bad for them. I was also instructed to camp either south of Crater Lake or up in Minnehaha Gulch, I chose the former. My car was parked for three nights in the overnight lot and was not molested by any critters.
Posted By: yingyangsoup89
Info: Road open to trailhead. $10 access fee. We car camped in the overnight lot just below the main lot that everyone parks at when they visit Maroon Lake. Snow-free until above the garbage chute. We saw 2 porcupines on the trail early AM so be on the lookout!
Posted By: SoCool
Info: Rd to Maroon Lake is open. You are supposed to pay $10 per vehicle at the self pay station just past the (empty) entrance booth. The $6 bus will begin mid-June.
Posted By: Hypersnow
Info: Road is clear to the parking lot; gate will open Thursday afternoon sometime. Might even open Wednesday evening if the county finishes the cleanup early...
Posted By: dhstamp
Info: The trailhead is closed to ALL cars (not just dayhikers) between 9 am and 5 pm. No exceptions for overnight hikers. If you show up between 9 and 5, you‘ll be sent back to park at Aspen Highlands and take the bus!
Posted By: Eagle Eye
Info: Just an FYI there is a sign posted on the west side of Maroon Lake stating there was a bear incident in that area on 6/29/2014. That was all the sign said.
Posted By: freeinthehills
Info: Road still open and not closing... snow about half way to Crater lake. Would advise shoes if walking in the wee hours of the morning. If you‘re going to just walk around, may god help your soul. you will be smitten by post hole
Posted By: dholm
Info: Maroon Lake Rd open. We saw a bear and what I swear were two mountains lions along the road.
Posted By: Hypersnow
Info: Road will open sometime Thursday morning 5/15 (before noon). Parking area will be cleared and a couple restrooms open.
Posted By: Hypersnow
Info: Road melted to west maroon. Can ride a bike that far, 18" +/- snow covering most of the road further on. Official opening May 22, but my guess is the snow will be melted out by next weekend. If that‘s the case, the gate will probably get opened earlier.
Posted By: kullpeak
Info: Note that the trail up the East Slope of South Maroon has been changed. The old trail just past the bent tree has been obliterated. A new trail junction is supposedly 1/4 mile towards Crater Lake - though we never saw it. Keep a watchful eye if you are going up soon.

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