Maroon Lake Trailhead
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


Range: Elk Mountains
Coordinates: 39.09862, -106.94064
14ers: Maroon Peak, North Maroon Peak, Pyramid Peak
Elevation: 9,590'
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Road Difficulty

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

Driving Directions

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.

Winter Access

Closed at the ranch, many miles below the TH, but the road is usually packed down by snowmobiles.

More Info

Parking: It's a pain.
Camping: No camping at the trailhead and reservations for the campgrounds down the road fill up early in the season. Most hikers get to the trailhead and pack into the backcountry to camp.
Restrooms? Yes
Fees? Yes
Trailhead added by BillMiddlebrook
Status Updates 
Posted By: WillRobnett
Info: Hiked up an Aspen hill this morning for a good view of Pyramid. Summer colors are starting to come out all over the valley! Afterwards did some research going by US Forest Service Station and Aspen Highlands talking with the amazing team supporting one of the most beautiful places on earth! At FS check-in they will ask vehicles if they have a reservation to self-drive to the lake, to enter. FS team is very kind and helpful providing alternative ways to get to the lake on the same day if you don’t have a self-driving reservation, booked months in advance. There are a lot of permit types and options. I’m sharing helpful info for someone that may want to drive to the TH as we did in years past. Without the permit that’s now required, they recommend taking bus from Aspen Highlands to Maroon Lake (MB Highlands bus) and said cycling is also allowed to the lake.. a lot of cyclist were living the the dream! Main focus for vehicles is parking. As far as climbing... you don’t need a permit to climb the Maroon Bells or Pyramid as there isn’t a Peak Permit... it’s driving/camping considerations that pushed permits. Bus fare from Aspen Highlands covers your entry fee. If buying bus ticket at Aspen Highlands it’s $20/day. Online at AspenChamber.Org it’s $16/day, RFTA phone app not connected. Aspen Highlands parking is $40/per day or $7/hour. First bus from Aspen Highlands departs at 7AM and last bus departing from the lake is 5PM. Buses run every 15 minutes with the exception of first hour meaning an MB Highlands bus leaves at 7AM and next is 8AM, then 8:15AM, 8:30AM, 8:45AM, etc.. every 15 mins until 5PM. MB Highlands bus was sold out today being a busy weekend. The valley slows down a little after this weekend...until July 4th and then we’re in full summer season! If you’ve been thinking about getting a road bike.. today might be the day!!
Posted By: WillRobnett
Info: Forest Service road opened all the way to the lake!
Posted By: WillRobnett
Info: Ranch snow pile that was in the middle of the road this winter has now completely melted. road is drivable to winter gate.. that’s below the Forest Service entrance. Pavement-trek from there and very little (scatter/infrequent/ at most 3" deep) ice on the road after winter gate. saw a few bikes heading up which would have easily gotten far up the road. Aspen Public Radio: Bells opening on May 15th for driving.
Posted By: WillRobnett
Info: road conditions... drivable up to Ranch. winter plows create a pile of snow in the middle of the road which prevents cars from getting further and still there. melting soon. a lot of snow still in the area
Posted By: ClimberSkierDave64
Info: Biked up the road and then camped next to one of the bathrooms. The road has very minor patches of snow all the way until the last half mile where the snow becomes somewhat continuous and annoying.
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.
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