“A valley trail with stunning views of Pyramid Peak and the Maroon Bells.
— Janice Shepherd
Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views
Trailhead access is by shuttle bus with fee from mid-June to early October with some exceptions (eg horse trailers and people with babies in car carriers). Ask the bus driver to drop you off at East Maroon Trailhead. If you can drive your own vehicle up there is a fee but it is waived with the National Park Pass.
This well-maintained trail starts by following Maroon Creek before entering pretty East Maroon Valley. The trail climbs steadily but not steeply. Early in your outing, you'll get a great view of the Maroon Bells to the west.
You've left the crowds heading to Maroon Lake by picking this trail with its tranquil aspen and pine forests. Large meadows give you grand views of the rugged Rocky Mountains that line this valley.
The sounds of wind whispering through aspen trees, East Maroon Creek tumbling over rocks and the occasional bird singing its joy, will let you leave the sounds of everyday life far behind.
Along the trail, keep an eye out for evidence of wildlife. We noted some deer and bear footprints in a muddy spot and found old bear claw marks on an aspen tree. Very cool!
There are a few small water crossings requiring stepping from rock to rock. Just check first that the rocks you are picking are stable. The use of trekking poles or finding a stick can help you keep your balance as you step from rock to rock.
Once below the ragged outline of Pyramid Peak
you notice some beaver ponds slowing the progress of East Maroon Creek. Now's a good time for you to slow as well. If you've brought along binoculars check the upper slopes of Pyramid Peak
for mountain goats. We spotted two the day we were out. It took careful looking, but that made it even more rewarding.
Let your energy level and abilities help determine how far to take the trail but keep in mind if you used the shuttle bus to access the trailhead when the last bus leaves Maroon Lake (5:30pm in 2015). You don't want to be stranded on the road.
Flora & Fauna
Starting in mid-September the fall colors add intensity to the stellar views.