FATMAP difficulty grade
The West Maroon Trail offers a stunning point-to-point trail run from Aspen to Crested Butte through the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness.
Runners can take the trail out and back or can run one way and arrange to have a shuttle pick them up at the end of the trail.
Dogs are welcome to accompany their owners as long as they remain leashed. For runners starting in Aspen, the trail begins near Maroon Lake and travels at a moderate but steady incline on to Crater Lake.
After Crater Lake, runners will enter the valley between Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak before then beginning a steep ascent up into Maroon Pass.
Beautiful views abound on this trail.
Mountain peaks and lakes along with meadows of wildflowers (summer) make this trail exceptionally scenic.
There is also a good possibility of spotting a wide variety of wildlife such as mule deer, marmots, pica, and a variety of birds including hawks.
Though the elevation gain is dispersed over a longer distance, the trail is rated as difficult due to its length, steep sections ascending into Maroon Pass, and high altitude.
Many runners find this trail to be moderately challenging, but factors such as altitude sickness or the need to acclimate may have to be taken into consideration.
Depending on the pace and whether runners take the trail both ways or just one, this route can take between 8.5-11 hours.
Some people take advantage of campgrounds near either trailhead to hike one way, camp overnight, and then return the following day. Make sure to have a map and or review your trail route before beginning.
Some people have reported that river and creek crossings are easily missed, especially during times where there is still snow on the trail.
It is also good to be aware that, depending on weather conditions, creeks and rivers may run higher and runners not wearing high top boots may get wet at crossings.
This trail is considered to be moderately trafficked, though some runners may find parts of the trail less populated than others.
Very busy times include weekends and holidays, and parking lots near the trailheads can fill up early.
Runners who are unable to find parking at the trailhead can park in town and take a shuttle to the trail.
Those who take this option and are only planning to run one-way should consider making arrangements for a shuttle to pick them up at trail’s end to avoid any delays or missed transportation.
This trail is best used between July and September.
Due to high elevation, there may still be snow in some areas, especially in Maroon Pass, in spring or late fall.
You should always check weather and conditions beforehand and prepare accordingly.