North Maroon Peak, is the sister peak of Maroon Peak. This Colorado 14er in the Elk Mountains, is the smaller of the Maroon Bells, but is considered a very challenging summit. Most climbing this peak combine it with Maroon Peak via the Maroon Bells Traverse. In this article we will discuss hiking this summit by itself, and we will discuss the traverse in a separate article.
These two peaks are some of the most photographed places in the country because of the extreme beauty. Hiking just North Maroon, or both the bells is an intense endeavor, but extremely rewarding. Here is everything you need to know about hiking North Maroon Peak.
Distance – 8.76 miles round trip (14.10 km)
Height – 14,014 feet (4271.47 m)
Elevation gain – 4,719 feet (1438.35 meters)
Duration – 10 – 12 hours (book time dependant upon trailhead start)
Difficulty – Strenuous
Class: Class 4 Hike
Trailhead Location – Maroon Lake Trailhead (9,560 feet)
Need To Know Information
- Parking in the summer is extremely hard to come by, and the process is a bit confusing. We explain all of this below.
- This is a class 4 hike with exposure. It should only be attempted by hikers that have other class 3 and 4 experience.
- There are many mountain goats on this hike during most of the summer season. They can kick rocks down on you even when hikers are not above.
Hiking Route Options
There is only one common route to the summit of North Maroon if completing without other peaks. This summit may be combined with Maroon Peak via the Maroon Bells Traverse, which is one of Colorado’s 4 great traverses and should only be done by experienced hikers and climbers. We will discuss this traverse in another article.
Maroon Lake Trailhead | 8.76 Miles Round Trip (14.10 km) – 4,719 Feet Elevation Gain (1438.35 meters) | Class 4
Begin at the parking lot for Maroon Lake along the Maroon Snowmass Trail. 0.5 miles in, hikers will reach the junction for the scenic loop trail, and they should stay to the right along the Maroon Snowmass Trail towards Crater Lake. 1.6 miles in, hikers will reach the junction that heads up towards Pyramid Peak, hikers continue straight.
1.9 miles into the hike, hikers should bear right on the Maroon-Snowmass Trail towards North Maroon Peak, and not towards Crater lake. 0.8 miles after this junction, hikers need to turn left towards N. Maroon Peak and diverge from the Maroon-Snowmass Trail. This left turn is not a signed junction.
From here, hikers descend and cross a small creek and then hikers begin ascending through a talus field that has an incredibly well done trail through the Talus field now due to recent trail crews. The trail is simple to follow through these sections. Hikers will then begin ascending through a very steep gully, and then into a second gully. We highly recommend downloading the route on your phone or watch to help you stay on trail beyond this point. We have a GPX download here and below.
The second gully is even more steep, has more loose rock, and this is the point at which you need to make sure you have a good weather window. At 13,600 feet, hikers will find a rock band that has the routes only class 4 move through a chimney. Hikers usually take this route, but it is avoidable by walking to the right side and around. After this point the hike has a large amount of loose rock and class 3 hiking to the summit.
Camping For North Maroon Peak
Most people doing North Maroon Peak, Maroon Peak, Pyramid Peak, or the Bells Traverse as an overnight hike will camp out at Crater Lake, which has 11 campsites. If all spots are filled, campers can camp as long as they are .25 miles away from the lake. Information on camping can be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/whiteriver/recarea/?recid=40563
The difficult part of camping here is landing an overnight parking permit, or arranging being dropped off. Parking reservation or shuttle reservations to the lake can be found here: https://aspenchamber.org/plan-trip/trip-highlights/maroon-bells/reservations. Hikers can be dropped off between 6-8 am without a parking reservation. Hikers are required to purchase a one way shuttle back down to Aspen Highlands on the way out unless someone is picking you up after 5pm.
In addition to the Crater Lake Options, there are several campgrounds along the road to Maroon Lake. Below we order them as the closest to Maroon lake first:
Current Weather Conditions:
Here is the detailed weather forecast for the next few days. We highly recommend you check out the mountain forecast for this peak the morning of your hike.
Snowmass Village, CO
Snow showers and blowing snow. Cloudy, with a high near 11. Wind chill values as low as -20. West southwest wind 25 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 45 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 8 to 12 inches possible.
Snow showers and blowing snow. Cloudy, with a low around -9. Wind chill values as low as -25. West wind 15 to 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.
New Year's Day
Snow showers and areas of blowing snow before 11am, then patchy blowing snow and scattered snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near -4. Wind chill values as low as -47. North northwest wind around 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of around one inch possible.
Patchy blowing snow. Mostly clear, with a low around -20. Wind chill values as low as -48. West wind around 20 mph.
Patchy blowing snow before 9am. Sunny, with a high near 9. Southwest wind 15 to 20 mph.
Patchy blowing snow after 11pm. Mostly clear, with a low around 0.
Patchy blowing snow before 11am. Sunny, with a high near 14.
Patchy blowing snow after 7pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 5.
Patchy blowing snow before 5pm, then patchy blowing snow and a slight chance of snow showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 11.
Patchy blowing snow and a slight chance of snow showers before 5am, then a chance of snow showers and patchy blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 4. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.
A chance of snow showers and patchy blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 11. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
A chance of snow showers and patchy blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 9. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
A chance of snow showers and patchy blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 14. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.
A chance of snow showers and patchy blowing snow before 11pm, then patchy blowing snow and a slight chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 10.
Directions & Parking
From the roundabout, take the exit for Maroon Creek Road. Follow the road until the Aspen Highlands Center. If you are day hiking or don’t have a parking pass, you will need to park here and take the suttle. Continue along the road if you are traveling to Maroon Lake Trailhead.
Important Note: Read our camping section above for more information on parking fees, shuttle use, overnight parking, times you can enter, and dropoff information.
Directions to Maroon Lake Trailhead:
Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and sharing experiences with others. Max is a published author for various outdoor websites and digital marketing websites. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about