Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Trails
Nothing but superlatives roll off the tongue when contemplating the Maroon Bells–Snowmass Wilderness: the beautiful symmetry of the Maroon Bells, trails leading over nine passes above 12,000 feet in elevation, the delectable hot springs of Conundrum Creek, and shimmering alpine lakes nestled at the feet of jagged peaks, six of which crest at over 14,000 feet. The twin peaks of Maroon Bells are perhaps Colorado’s most recognizable scene, and the surrounding wilderness is one of the most popular, both for good reason. When it comes to sheer mountain splendor, few areas compare with the Elk Mountains and Maroon Bells–Snowmass Wilderness. Early on, Congress recognized the wilderness value of the Elk Mountains, and Maroon Bells–Snowmass was one of the five original Colorado wilderness areas designated by the 1964 Wilderness Act. That designation comprised only the most rugged core of the range, and it took the devoted efforts of Aspen conservationists to enlarge the area through 1980 Colorado wilderness legislation. These additions included such notable landmarks as Mount Sopris, Castle Peak, and the lower reaches of Conundrum Creek valley. Today Maroon Bells–Snowmass is Colorado’s fourth largest wilderness. Valleys in the Maroon Bells–Snowmass Wilderness offer an exhilarating mix of aspen groves, flower-speckled meadows, and dark forests of spruce and fir. Above timberline, scraggly krummholz are the only reminder of the lush lower forests, but bountiful displays of alpine wildflowers dazzle visitors in their stead. Big game animals such as mule deer and elk still abound, but extensive residential development of the valleys around Aspen and Snowmass has greatly reduced available winter range and elk populations in particular are experiencing stress as a result. The spectacular beauty of the Maroon Bells–Snowmass Wilderness and its many natural attractions draws great numbers of visitors. This trail guide includes descriptions of Carbonate Creek, Copper Lake, Twin Lakes, Electric Pass, Mount Sopris, Capitol Peak, Maroon Bells Circuit, Snowmass Creek/East Snowmass Creek, Snowmass Creek to Maroon Lake, Conundrum Creek to East Maroon Creek, and Avalanche Creek to Capitol Creek.
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Directions to: Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Trailsprint directions
Trail Statistics & Information
|Skill Level||Easy to Strenuous|
|Season||Best Spring through Fall|
|Trailhead Elevation||7,500 ft|
|Top Elevation||14,265 ft|
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