West Maroon Pass gives hikers a hike surrounded by thick fields of stunning wildflowers If you have the luck to visit maroon bells in good timing. This famous pedestrian highway from Crested Butte to Aspen will also reward you in every direction with spectacular views from the summit.
- On the way
- Tips for hikers
Directions to West Maroon Pass
Take Gothic Road (Route 135) 14 miles to the north, across the Schofield Pass from Crested Butte. A big parking lot is located shortly after the pass and the trailhead is on the right.
On the way
This trail is also starting from the same popular trail as Aspen. The trail begins to wind along the Crystal River forest. Besides the end of the forest, there is a rotting cabin. After passing that cabin the trail forks. Taking right from the fork, hikers can join the wonderful wildflowers.
The nearest junction is less than 2 miles away and difficult to find. Search for a short wooden sign below the brush and take the right path to the West Maroon Pass. Continue up the valley to the next signed crossing to the Frigid Air Pass. The West Maroon Pass is ahead directly
The path becomes steeper from here as you get closer to the pass. The last quarter mile is especially challenging, but the effort deserves the reward. Enjoy spectacular views in all directions from the summit. Look back down on your development and at the Maroon Bells on the other side. The pass is small on either side with magnificent rock pinnacles. Take a long break and then head back down the way you arrived.
Tips for hikers
- Do not pick, cut or walk on wildflowers or other plants, please. Removing wildflowers from the wild can have a negative effect on pollinators and other animals that rely on the species for food and cover and affect the long-term survival of the flowers in that region.
- Don’t leave any marks. In an alpine climate, garbage and human waste will take years to decompose. Pack it in, and with all the garbage, pack it out. Try using the restroom in lower levels and dig a cat hole 6-8 centimeters deep for human waste.
- It is a good idea to bring some additional stuff in your pack for longer walks. Ensure that you have additional food and water, rainwater, maps or GPS, sunscreen, and torchlight if your hike lapses.
- Mountain weather can change very rapidly. It is normal during the summer months to have thunderstorms form in the high country during the afternoon. Before you go, check the weather forecast. Keep an eye on the clouds to see when you should turn around.