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Maroon Peak Trail

Very Difficult

Trail

2.1 mile 3.3 kilometer point to point
47% Runnable
Very Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 3,697' 1,127 m
Descent: -65' -20 m
High: 14,117' 4,303 m
Low: 10,484' 3,196 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 34% (19°)
Max Grade: 83% (40°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by Tyler Prince

A steep trail followed by a loose scramble, ending on the scenic summit of South Maroon Peak.

Tyler Prince

Features Fall Colors · Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

The Maroon Bells Wilderness is highly regulated. Traffic is often limited to buses, and overly friendly bears tend to limit camping. Details can be found on their site: fs.usda.gov/recarea/whiteri…

Runner Notes

This trail is entirely too steep and/or loose to run.

Description

Maroon Peak, AKA "South Maroon," is a fairly typical Elk Range 14er. It's steep, loose, and long. Make sure you have a good weather window, and bring all the necessities - warm clothes, rain gear, water, helmet, sun protection, food, etc. It wouldn't be a bad idea to have a partner on this one, as route finding is difficult. Done from the parking lot, this a big outing - 11 miles and 5,400 ft elevation gain!

Find the trail to the right off of West Maroon Trail at 10,400 ft. Look for the cairns pictured above. They should come shortly after a stream crossing by some bushes. The next section is affectionately known as the "2,800 ft of suck." This is a fitting name, as it rises 2,800 vertical ft and sucks. The trail zigzags up Maroon's east slopes, which are - you guessed it - extremely steep and loose. While the going's class 2, it's just so incredibly steep at parts you may find yourself crawling. Look for cairns along loose dirt trails, crossing a few small talus fields. It may be tempting to climb directly up to the ridge - don't! You'll get both lost and cliffed out, as will become apparent once you're closer to the summit.

Near 13,250 ft, come to the south ridge. Continue along some dirt and rocks for a few hundred ft before reaching the scrambling. From here the route finding can be difficult, but makes for some fun climbing. Scramble over ridge proper briefly before dropping down and to the left. Follow some cairns along an exposed section before coming to a rock chimney (pictured). Climb up 20 ft or so and then immediately turn left, continuing back toward ridge proper. Drop back down to the left and continue toward a gully. Climb up the gully on some talus. Staying on the left side will give you some handholds and make it easier to find the cairns about halfway up the gully.

Continue along some ledges before climbing up a second gully, less steep and less loose than the first. There are multiple routes from here. Continue up and search for cairns. The climbing shouldn't get above class 3. Near the summit the grade decreases. Top out and enjoy the views!

Flora & Fauna

Mountain goats have been known to kick rocks at climbers. Be careful and bring a helmet.

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Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 4 votes

#5184

Overall
  4.8 from 4 votes
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Trail Rankings

#357

in Colorado

#5,184

Overall
27 Views Last Month
3,242 Since Oct 31, 2015
Very Difficult

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Photos

Capitol peak and Snowmass village from the summit.
Nov 5, 2015 near Snowmas…, CO
The turnoff toward South Maroon can be easy to miss. Turn right at this cairn to continue on the West Maroon Trail.
Nov 5, 2015 near Snowmas…, CO
The 2800 ft of suck, aptly named, features many annoying spots such as this one. It's not especially easy going on the Maroon Peak Trail.
Nov 5, 2015 near Snowmas…, CO
A view of the remaining route from the start of the scrambling.
Nov 5, 2015 near Snowmas…, CO
A look at some of the typical terrain. Find this class 3 chimney before skirting to the left to avoid getting cliffed out.
Nov 5, 2015 near Snowmas…, CO
North Maroon and the famous Bells Traverse below.
Nov 5, 2015 near Snowmas…, CO

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