Pyramid Peak trail hike begins at the scenic Maroon Lake, before turning up a steep trail, this hike ambles through the forest below the majestic Maroon Bells. After some switchbacks, under the rocky wall of the Pyramid’s north face, it pops out into a large boulder area. After a steep climb to the headwall, it begins to be enjoyable. While scrambling to the top of the final 1,000 vertical feet, hikers can enjoy spectacular views of the Maroon Bells, Capitol Hill, and Snowmass Mountain.
- Getting there
- Description About the trail
- Hikers keep this thing in mind!
Drive toward Lake Crescent on US 101 west of Port Angeles, or north and east of Forks. Turn northeast into Camp David Jr. at the very western end of Lake Crescent. Highway (just west of milepost 221).
Continue straight on North Shore Road for 3.1 miles, following the signs. The first half is asphalt, and the second half of crushed rock is graded. Look for a yellow pedestrian crossing signal at 3.1 miles. Perse, there is no parking area, only dedicated handicapped parking on the right shoulder and space on adjacent shoulders for a few cars. There are no services for trailheads. There’s no parking pass required.
Description About the Pyramid Peak trail
Travel west on route 82 from Aspen. You will enter a traffic circle immediately upon leaving town. Up Maroon Creek Lane, follow the sign for the Maroon Bells. Pass and pay for the welcome center ($10 for a single day pass for a car; subject to change). In one of the lots, proceed up the road and park. This area is full of visitors and is well signed, but few people actually climb the Bells or Pyramid. There are lots for the day, lots for the night, and lots for sleeping in your vehicle. Take a pick.
Rolling along the Maroon Snowmass Trail from the upper lots, leaving Maroon Lake and gaining a small amount of elevation along a mellow and often rocky trail. Turn left after around 1.5 miles, just below the upper lake, towards Pyramid Peak (Crater Lake). Before the going gets steep, trail continue through a flat zone. Walk up steep switchbacks until you reach a boulder field below 12,000 ft, known as “the amphitheatre” by hikers.
The real hike begins from here. In the boulder area, there are several cairns, and the CFI has done a good job of constructing the trail. Continue up the rocks and to the left to find a ravine to the east of the magnificent north face of the Pyramid.
Next thousand fetes after that is rough . This gully is so steep that even the fittest hikers would possibly have to pause every few minutes for a breather. In about 0.2 miles, you’ll get 1,000 ft, topping out on a hill.
Things are much more enjoyable from here. Turn right and climb over many gendarmes, or just walk to the right through them. Once the grades gets steep again, your aim is to look for cairns to the left of the mountain. Travel carefully through loose rocks . The you reach to a spot referred to as the “leap of faith.” in a few minutes. It’s not a leap – just a big step between rocks. Cross several narrow ledges immediately, sticking to the rocks to your right to prevent exposure to your left. This region is brief and underwhelming. Do not be terrified!
Turn right up a short red gully from here and follow Cairns to the “green gully.” There is an unmistakable green hue to the rock here, and it can’t be missed. Scramble up solid rock for around 300 feet in this gully until you find cairns below the summit. Continue running to hit a false summit in fun class 3-4. Close here, there are some fun class 5 moves that provide the more experienced climbers with a fun challenge. It’s a 1-2 minute walk up to the true peak once you’re on the false summit. Stop and enjoy the views… the way back down is a long way!
Hikers keep this thing in mind!
Although only 8 miles long, you have to be a good hiker because a high level of fitness and skill is needed for this hike. The trail up to the ridge of 13,000 ft is absurdly steep, and one of the loosest and most technical regular routes up any Colorado 14er is the final 1,000 ft. Bring a helmet and get yourself comfortable for a long day.
The best hikers should expect a round trip of 6 hours, with 10 hours being a fair time for the less ambitious.