Pyramid Peak

 Northeast Ridge
Difficulty Class 4 
Risk FactorsExposure: High
Rockfall Potential: High  
Route-Finding: High  
Commitment: High  
TrailheadMaroon Lake
Start9,600 feet
Summit14,029 feet
Total Gain4,500 feet
RT Length8.25 miles
SheriffPitkin: 970-920-5300
Last UpdatedOct 2022
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In addition to the difficulties of parking at Maroon Lake, a permit is now required to camp near Crater Lake and they are most likely gone. You will probably have to dayhike your peak(s) from the trailhead. Please read the Maroon Lake trailhead alerts.


You must book in-advance to get an overnight parking permit at the Maroon Lake trailhead. There are a limited number of overnight permits available and they will likely be gone/booked before summer. However, they do have a "Midnight-to-Midnight" permit which allows you to drive to the trailhead between midnight and 8am and hike the same day, leaving by midnight. Please visit this page for more information.
Making it even MORE difficult to climb the Maroon Bells or Pyramid, a reservation is now required to pack in and camp near Crater Lake and permits are likely gone/reserved for the summer. However, if you are lucky enough to get a wilderness camp permit, you are provided an overnight parking permit as well. If you aren't able to get a camp permit, you'll have to dayhike your peak(s) and still deal with parking or get dropped off at the trailhead early in the morning. Check for wilderness camping permits at For reference, check out the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Overnight Permit Zone Map
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, 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 don't have a reservation to park at the actual trailhead, you'll either 1) Need to reserve a return shuttle ride back to town on the day you hike out and have someone drop you off at the trailhead between 6:00am and 8:00am on your hike-in day or 2) Park in town and make reservations for a shuttle up on your hike-in day and a shuttle down on your hike-out day.


Follow the trail along the right side of Maroon Lake and enter the forest on the Crater Lake trail - 1. As you ascend into Maroon Creek, you'll get a preview of the lower route on Pyramid - 2. Before reaching Crater Lake, turn left onto the Pyramid trail , just below 10,200' - 3. There are two entry points to the Pyramid trail and both are cairned. Hike southeast across a flat, rocky area to reach a small talus field at the base of a 1,000-foot slope. In 2006, the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) constructed a sustainable trail up this slope. Follow the trail and eventually switchback out of the trees - 4. Near 11,400', reach the entrance to the amphitheater .

Without a maintained trail, continue south into the amphitheater along the right side of a rock glacier - 5 and 6. Hike less than 1/2 mile toward Pyramid's north face before turning left (east) toward the center of the amphitheater - 7. Hop across talus toward the steep slope below Pyramid's northeast ridge and locate a trail at the base of the slope - 8 and 9. You must now climb 1,000' to reach 13,000' on the northeast ridge and portions of the slope are loose and scree-covered - 10 and 11. Reach the 13,000-foot saddle on Pyramid's northeast ridge where much of the remaining climb is now visible - 12. Turn right (southwest) and follow a small trail along the right side of a gendarme ( 13) and to a small saddle, near 13,100' - 14.

The remaining 1,000' requires Class 3 and 4 climbing and careful route-finding. Briefly follow cairns along the right side of the ridge until the terrain becomes more difficult. Climb left onto the ridge and over to the south side - 15 and 16. Below the ridge crest, follow cairns over a couple of small rock ribs and a small gap ( 17) to reach a narrow ledge ("cliff traverse") which crosses above some steep terrain - 18, 19 and 20. 21 is a broad look at the area from a bit higher on the route. It's an easy ledge but care must be taken while crossing a narrow section in the middle. After the ledge, follow cairns along the slope, across a gully ( 22), and left to another rock rib. Climb around this rock to reach a steep wall of greenish, light-colored rock - 23 and 24. Climb a few hundred feet up the greenish rock ( 25) and before reaching the ridge crest, look for cairns to the left. 26 and 27 show some of the steep terrain above the greenish rock.

The remaining 500' to the summit is complex, but usually well-cairned. Continue left of the ridge crest and zigzag up loose, red rock. You will likely encounter a couple of short, Class 4 pitches on the last few hundred feet below the summit. 28, 29 and 30 show some of the terrain. Near 13,900', if you've followed the most direct route, the slope eases near the top - 31. Gain the summit - 32 and 33.


This is the standard route on Pyramid but it's difficult and dangerous.
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21 #22 #23 #24 #25 #26 #27 #28 #29 #30 #31 #32 #33

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Caution: The information contained in this route description may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this route description provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the route description author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

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