Featured Hike #14: East Maroon Trail
With the leaves changing colors and the temperature dropping, we decided to embark on a beautiful hike from Crested Butte to Aspen on the East Maroon Trail. The hike, although not extremely difficult is much longer than the West Maroon Trail, so make sure you bring plenty of water and snacks. We were very fortunate to have caught superb weather as we made our way over to Aspen.
With our music blaring and our stoke level on high, we drove out to the Judd Falls trailhead, where we parked our car, put on our backpacks, and began our adventure. To access the East Maroon Trail, begin your hike as if you were hiking to Judd Falls or Copper Lake. Once you reach Judd Falls, follow the signage that directs you towards Copper Lake. As you continue along the trail, you will be amazed at the precious beauty before your eyes as you feel the wind blow upon your back. Look to your left and get glimpse of Whiterock Mountain standing tall, with Precarious Peak appearing just in front of you.
As you make your way along the trail, you will have to cross multiple rivers and streams, many of which have logs that will allow you to cross safety without getting your feet wet. After a 4 mile hike, you will arrive at the beautiful Copper Lake. Here, take some time to relax and enjoy this beautiful lake nestled atop the East Maroon Pass.
After a quick snack, we quickly summited the East Maroon Pass before catching magnificent views of the East Maroon Valley. Summiting the East Maroon Pass is not extremely difficult, however watch your step as this section of the trail is rather rocky and a little unstable.
With our packs on tight, we caught our breath, drank some water and powered on toward Aspen. The East Maroon Trail is a peaceful and gorgeous hike, and less frequently traveled compared to the shorter West Maroon Trail. Because the East Maroon trail is less frequently hiked, we recommend this hike for experienced hikers.
As you continue you along the trail, you will be engulfed in a sea of beautiful aspen groves. We decided to do this hike in the fall as the leaves began to change colors, it was truly breathtaking. As you inch closer to the end of the East Maroon Trail, you must cross two knee high rivers. We recommend any type of water shoes for these two water crossings to keep your feet safe from sharp rocks.
Continue on for a few more miles, and you have made it to Aspen. Because the Maroon Bells shuttle bus does not run to the end of the East Maroon trailhead, you have the option to either hike up to Maroon Lake and catch the free shuttle, or you can hitch hike to Aspen Highlands 4 miles away. It’s a great adventure with amazing amounts of beauty. We hope you enjoy this incredible hike!