Maroon Lake Trailhead


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: IHikeLikeAGirl
Info: Bring something to ward off porcupines (can’t speak for the marmots). Spent the night in the overnight parking lot and (4 times) had to chase off a porcupine (who was gnawing on my car)...and it would not scare off easily. Rocking the car, loud noises, lights, etc. didn’t work. Had to nudge and prod the little guy with a stick several times before it would scamper off...only to return as soon as I dozed off again. Crawled up into my engine twice, also.

Last year, I wrapped my car in chicken wire. That did the trick and wasn’t hard to do, even by myself. The people next to me were up all night chasing off a persistent porcupine, while I slept like a baby.

BobbyFinn and KatieFinn brought granulated coyote urine. Worked for them and they have never had any issues.
Posted By: mtn114
Info: Drove up to the gate and biked the 7 miles or so down the road to the summer TH. Road was basically clear of snow until the Maroon Bell West Portal; stashed my bike and walked the last bit. Snowshoes would have been helpful at the summer TH as there was a lot of post holing. Choosing your route carefully you can make your way down to the lake and up the ridge towards Crater Lake with a minimum amount of post holing. Turned around at the ridge as I was pretty beat.
Posted By: dsunwall
Info: Gate closed at Ranch. I believe this was the first weekend it was closed.
Posted By: carson_h
Info: The campground host said that porcupines haven‘t been seen at the overnight parking lot since mid-June.
Posted By: Hypersnow
Info: Road to Maroon Lake Parking lot will be open for traffic as of Friday 4/20/12. There will be no fees until sometime in May (probably Memorial weekend). Consistent snow cover starts in the first mile after Maroon Lake.
Posted By: AspenEx
Info: Gate is closed, but road is still a dry for a couple of miles. Not passable by snowmobile, yet.
Posted By: mountainmicah83
Info: This is a bit of old beta but newer than what is currently there. As of 10/29 the road to the TH was still open and the roads were still dry with minimal snow. No idea if it is closed yet at the typical winter closure.
Posted By: Carl
Info: Road opened for the season May 27.
Posted By: Carl
Info: Road is melting pretty quick. You can bike nearly 3 of the 5 miles from the gate to the TH. Also, we learned yesterday that you‘re not allowed to snowmobile up the road if there is less than 6 inches of snow coverage. The ranger turned away one group and was attempting to locate another. Plan accordingly.
Posted By: gb
Info: gated, first 1.5mi to silver bell is plowed, continuous snow after that. rough for both bikes and snowmobiles right now.
Posted By: COmedic04
Info: The snowblock was open at T-Lazy 7 Ranch, but the gate was closed above that. The road was relatively clear, however, and I was able to hike along the road without snowshoes all the way to the lake.
Posted By: Carl
Info: Road opened for the season Saturday May 22nd.
Posted By: tmahon
Info: Gate still locked at T Lazy 7 but road is getting dry. Might be more of a bike ride than a snowmobile ride until it unlocks around Memorial Day
Posted By: Glen
Info: talked to the rangers and as of this morning the gate is closed!!
Posted By: Nelson
Info: I called the Aspen Ranger Station today. They said the road is open although there is snow in places. 4wd should be able to make it to the lake. He felt it should melt off with good weather this week end. He said the snow around the Lake and higher would be there for the season.
Posted By: TI83plus
Info: Road is open the entire way. Got charged $10. Maybe it was because we had 2 people in the car. Too many tourists though.
Posted By: centrifuge
Info: The Road is open to Maroon Lake Trailhead. There is a Forest Service Fee Station that charges a $5 fee to gain access to the road.
Posted By: Prairie Native
Info: Road is open. hiked in from 6 miles out and was greeted with a mob of tourists the next day.
Posted By: mtnbikerskierchick
Info: I just called the Ranger Station and they said they are working on plowing the road right now. There is an anticipated opening date of June 1st, but there is some road damage, so it might not be open then.
Posted By: Couloirman
Info: Just to refute the previous poster, the road is not open, and will not be open until at least June 1st when the county may decide to plow it.
Posted By: s_tuning
Info: Maroon Lake Road opens May 17th.
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Closed near the ranch, approx. 6 miles below the lake.
Posted By: sam
Info: Road will open for vehicles 9am on Friday May 25, 2007
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Open
Posted By: brianat2000
Info: The fee to the entrance ends at 7pm. Anyone arriving after this time, it is free. However, I understand if you have a Golden Eagles pass it is free anytime. It is roughly 5 miles to the \"overnight\" parking.

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