Climb South Maroon Peak

Rate this Adventure 11.5 miles 4800 ft gain

Added by Grace Ditzenberger

Climb this dangerously beautiful and iconic peak in the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness by Aspen, Colorado.

Starting at the Maroon Lake Trailhead, walk on the trail past the lake and turn onto the trail heading towards Crater Lake. Hike approximately 1.75 miles to reach another signed trail junction, then turn left and continue on the West Maroon Creek trail to Crater Lake. Eventually you will reach a talus field and wind back into the bushes. Continue on for approximately 0.5 miles until you reach a cairn - from here, you will turn right and hike up the Maroon Peak trail. The cairn can sometimes be hard to see, especially if you begin before dawn, so be paying special attention for the turn-off point. The trail will wind up and begin gaining steady elevation at this point, becoming more clear as you leave the creek trail. 

The next 2,800 feet of elevation gain is arduous - be sure to get an early start to give yourself plenty of time for breaks on this initial ascent to the ridge. Near 11,600 feet, the trail becomes difficult to follow so be on the watch for cairns to guide your path to the ridge.

If you stay on the west side of the ridge, the route traverses through complicated terrain for approximately 0.4 mile, up a large gully, and continues on the west side before gaining the south ridge, near the summit. Follow a cairned trail on the left (west) side of the ridge and after over 0.1 mile, and turn right to find a chimney between some rock towers. Climb up through the chimney, turn left and climb up the large crack. 

From here, the trail becomes progressively more difficult. To avoid backtracking, study the terrain ahead and look for cairns. You will see two clear gullies and either one can be climbed. Climb up halfway either gully to reach the cairned ledge. Continue on the ledge heading west until you can see the next section of the route. Climb steep and loose rock to the right and turn left onto another ledge, until you round another corner to find a large gully that separates the summit and the ridge. 

Enter the gully, turn right and ascend towards the summit. Be careful, this is where there is a lot of potentially dangerous exposure. Scramble up the remaining route and follow the cairns to the summit. 

TIPS: 

  • Start early in the morning. The climb will take long due to tedious route finding, dangerous terrain, loose rock, and the initial 2,800 feet ascent. 
  • Bring as much water as you can, as well as a purifier. It is essential to stay hydrated on this hike to prevent poor route decisions from being made. 
  • Wear layers in the morning. It will begin cold but you will warm up as soon as the sun comes out. 
  • Scan ahead to look for cairns - backtracking is exhausting and time consuming. 
  • You will want poles for the beginning portion of the hike but ditch them once you reach the ridge - you'll need both hands for a portion of the climb. 
  • Stick to the sides of the gullies because they provide more loose rock.
Read More

Tags

Rock Climbing
Hiking
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Have you done this adventure? Be the first to leave a review!

Stay Nearby

Maroon Creek Road

East Maroon Portal Picnic Site

Overview East Maroon Portal Picnic Site is situated next to Maroon Creek, offering spectacular views of towering red stone cliffs, lush wetlands and evergreen forests. The area is an excellent gath...

Carbondale, Colorado

Bogan Flats Campground Grp S

Overview Bogan Flats Campground stretches along the Crystal River in a valley of aspen groves, towering Ponderosa Pine, spruce, and willow. The setting is ideal for larger groups seeking recreatio...

Aspen, Colorado

Single Family Home, Plenty Of Room

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •This spacious 4BR/4.5BA single-family house is the Snowmass Village rental ...

From $452/night

Aspen, Colorado

100' To Slopes! Roomy Snowmass Home With Hot Tub

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •Skiers and snowboarders will love this multi-level 4BR/4BA + den Snowmass h...

From $367/night

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike to Frigid Air Pass

    About 15 miles away from the ski resort town of Crested Butte lies the West Maroon Pass trailhead. This trailhead sees thousands of visitors every year as they make their trek over West Maroon Pass down into Aspen. While West Maroon Pass is beauti...

    8.5 miles 1400 ft gain

  • Hike the West Maroon Pass in the Maroon Bells

    West Maroon Pass – one of the four passes in the Four Pass Loop gives you the wow factor of hiking in the Maroon Bells Wilderness in a day-hike format.West Maroon Pass can be accomplished in a number of ways:Hiking Crested Butte to Aspen (10.5 mil...

    10.5 miles

  • Hike and Swim at Devil's Punchbowl

    Drive north of Crested Butte to Schofield Pass until you come to the sticker-covered sign. Unless you have an ATV, park the car and descend along the infamous and deadly Schofield Pass Road. Follow this road past the first waterfall, which is abou...

    2.5 miles

  • Camp at Paradise Divide

    At a literally breathtaking 11,250 feet, Paradise Divide offers seclusion and scenery that can't be beat. Just fifteen miles outside of the world renowned ski resort Crested Butte, this area boasts wildflowers, wildlife, stunning peaks, and opport...

  • Inspire Your Fall Aspen Trip!

    Autumn days in Aspen are filled with sunshine and nights with crisp cool air. Watch the mountains and valleys turn gold with the changing Aspen trees. Take in the scenery while enjoying scenic drives, hiking through forests, road biking, and exploring our IMBA Gold Level Ride Center recognized mountain bike trails. 




    Learn More