- This trail is one of the most heavily used trails in the Aspen area. Hikers, backpackers and horse travelers enjoy the wildflowers, views and access to the wilderness areas. There is fishing in Willow Lake. Camping at Willow Lake can get very crowded.
The trail starts at the Maroon Lake parking area (9,580 ft). Follow the trail on the north side of the lake through a meadow to a Forest Service informational bulletin board. The right trail is the Maroon-Snowmass Trail which climbs through the aspen trees to Crater Lake (10,076 ft). Take the right fork at the Crater Lake bulletin board. The trail ascends steeply into Minnehaha Gulch. About 1/2 mile above tree line is the Maroon-Snowmass & Willow Lake Trail junction. Take the right fork and ascend steeply to the top of Willow Pass (12,690 ft). From the top of the pass, the trail descends to the junction of the East Snowmass Trail. Continue straight on the trail for the last 1/2 mile to the lake (11,795 ft). The best campsites are below the lake in the trees. It is 6 1/2 miles one-way and the average hiking time is 1-2 days. The trail is considered difficult and receives heavy use.
Willow Lake is in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, so please educate yourself about Wilderness Ethics and rules.
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