2.3 Hiking at Maroon Bells

How does it feel to be the most photographed?

Sometimes, it's hard being so #popular.

Maroon Bells is one of the most-photographed scenes in the state of Colorado. Sometimes, that status comes with a price. During the summer and fall months expect crowds at the Bells. We need your help to keep the Maroon Bells a special place to visit for years to come. Practice Leave No Trace when visiting, do not approach wildlife, be considerate of other people, and please stay on designated trails to protect fragile alpine vegetation!

Hiking and Backpacking

Know Before You Go.

The Maroon Bells Scenic area is located at high elevation, and conditions can change fast. Most hikes in the area are located in Wilderness and are very rigorous and technical. There is no cell service. at the Scenic Area or beyond the Scenic Area in the Wilderness. Ask yourself this: are you prepared for a back country experience, are you prepared for the unexpected?


Local's Tip: Bring lots of water, snacks and extra warm layers, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats and sturdy shoes.


There are three main trails that start at the Maroon Bells Scenic area and take you to other trails further in the Wilderness.

Here is a guide to those trails:

Maroon Lake Scenic Hike: EASY

2 miles (round trip)

Most visitors will walk this trail.


Crater Lake: MODERATE

3.6 miles (round trip)

Beginning and Ending Elevation: 9,500ft-10,100ft

Elevation Gain: 600ft

Most visitors looking for a day hike at the Bells will hike this trail.


East Maroon Trail: MODERATE

21 miles (round trip)

Beginning and Ending Elevation: 9,000ft-12,000ft

Elevation Gain: 3,000ft

Access to Copper and Gothic lake

*Opens to further hiking and backpacking


West Maroon Pass: MODERATE

13 miles (round trip)

Beginning and Ending Elevation: 9,500ft-12,500ft

Elevation Gain: 3,000ft

Extends on right fork from Crater Lake


Buckskin Pass: DIFFICULT

9.2 miles (round trip)

Beginning and Ending Elevation: 9,500ft-12,500ft

Elevation Gain: 3,000ft

Right fork from Crater Lake, climbing to Minnehaha Gultch

1/2 mile above tree line take left fork to Buckskin Pass


Willow Lake Trail: DIFFICULT

13 miles (round trip)

Beginning and Ending Elevation: 9,500ft-12,500ft

Elevation Gain: 3,000ft

Take right fork from Crater Lake

1/2 mile above tree line take right fork to Willow Lake Trail