East Maroon Pass

Round Trip Distance: 2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 11,396 - 11,800 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Trailhead: East Maroon Pass
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic views

East Maroon Pass is located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area of the Gunnison National Forest near Crested Butte, Colorado. The trail provides passage between the towns of Crested Butte and Aspen by connecting the Copper Creek trail, on the Crested Butte side of the mountains, with the East Maroon trail on the Aspen side. The trail is most popular with backpackers and day hikers that are visiting Copper Lake.

This post begins at a fork near the end of the Copper Creek trail a few hundred yards before it reaches Copper Lake.

A short distance from there is another fork that also runs down to Copper Lake. Hikers that stop at Copper Lake before heading on up to East Maroon Pass usually pick up the East Maroon Pass trail here.

As the trail comes out of the trees the rest of the route up to the pass comes into sight.

The views of Copper Lake and the surrounding basin are nothing short of spectacular from the East Maroon Pass trail. The higher peaks and ridges around the parameter of the basin are all above 13,000 feet.

A gentle slope makes the climb up to the pass much easier than the last mile of the Copper Creek trail was leading up to the lake. There are quite a few pika along the rocky slope, as well as a few marmots, to entertain hikers as they pass by.

Riders on horseback and those with a fear of high exposed places should find the trail comfortably wide. Back in the mining days the trail was used by horse and mule trains to transport supplies. At one spot you can even find some coal that was spilled on one of those trips.

A large pile of rocks marks the summit which is also the boundary between the Gunnison and White River National Forests.

Keep going for another hundred yards or so for some nice views of the Aspen side of the mountain. Pyramid Peak (14,019 ft.) can be seen towering high above the East Maroon trail.

On the south side of the trail there are glimpses of Conundrum and Castle Peaks.

The hike back down the Crested Butte side is dominated by White Rock Mountain (13,539 ft.)

On a partly cloudy day the ever changing shadows playing with the light upon White Rock Mountain and Copper Lake ensure that no two photos will look exactly the same.

It takes a little extra effort to hike up to East Maroon Pass after making it to Copper Lake but the extraordinary views make it well worth it. Those that are really feeling energetic might like hiking the loop around to Copper Pass and Triangle Pass. Whether day hiking or backpacking East Maroon Pass is a good alpine option in the Crested Butte area. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.