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Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness

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Area Management

The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is part of the 110 million acre National Wilderness Preservation System. This System of lands provides clean air, water, and habitat critical for rare and endangered plants and animals. In wilderness, you can enjoy challenging recreational activities like hiking, backpacking, climbing, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, horse packing, bird watching, stargazing, and extraordinary opportunities for solitude. You play an important role in helping to "secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness" as called for by the Congress of the United States through the Wilderness Act of 1964. Please follow the requirements outlined below and use Leave No Trace techniques when visiting the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness to ensure protection of this unique area.

General Wilderness Prohibitions

Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited on all federal lands designated as wilderness. This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters, unless provided for in specific legislation.

In a few areas some exceptions allowing the use of motorized equipment or mechanical transport are described in the special regulations in effect for a specific area. Contact the Forest Service office or visit the websites listed for more specific information.

These general prohibitions have been implemented for all national forest wildernesses in order to implement the provisions of the Wilderness Act of 1964. The Wilderness Act requires management of human-caused impacts and protection of the area's wilderness character to insure that it is "unimpaired for the future use and enjoyment as wilderness." Use of the equipment listed as prohibited in wilderness is inconsistent with the provision in the Wilderness Act which mandates opportunities for solitude or primitive recreation and that wilderness is a place that is in contrast with areas where people and their works are dominant.

Wilderness-Specific Regulations

Wilderness managers often need to take action to limit the impacts caused by visitor activities in order to protect the natural conditions of wilderness as required by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Managers typically implement 'indirect' types of actions such as information and education measures before selecting more restrictive measures. When regulations are necessary, they are implemented with the specific intent of balancing the need to preserve the character of the wilderness while providing for the use and enjoyment of wilderness.

The following wilderness regulations are in effect for this area. Not all regulations are in effect for every wilderness. Contact the Forest Service office or visit the websites listed for more specific information about the regulations listed.


-- Group size is limited to 10 people with no more than 15 stock animals in one group.

-- Dogs must be under a physical restraint of a leash not to exceed six feet in length (except for working stock dogs, or dogs used for legal hunting purposes).Dogs are prohibited in the Conundrum Creek Valley from Silver Dollar pond to Triangle Pass.

-- Campers must camp in designated sites at Conundrum Hot Springs, Copper Lake, Crater Lake, Geneva Lake, and Capitol Lake. Everywhere else, campers must set up 100 feet from lakes, streams, and trails and use previously impacted campsites.

-- Campfires are prohibited within 100 feet of lakes, streams or system trails; within 1/4 mile of Crater Lake; and above 10,800 ft. elevation (including all designated sites at Conundrum Hot Springs).

-- Do not shortcut a switchback in a trail.

-- Motorized and mechanized equipment is prohibited including: Bicycles, motorbikes, chainsaws, ATVs, carts, drones and hang gliders.


-- Overnight permits are required year-round for overnight camping in the vicinity of Conundrum Hot Springs. Permit info can be found here.

-- For all other overnight trips to the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, registration is required at the trailhead.

-- For overnight visitors, food, refuse and any scented items must be stored in an Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC) approved, bear resistant container.


-- Stock users must use certified weed-seed free pelletized feed or rolled grain. Possessing or transporting any unprocessed stock feed (including certified weed-free hay) is prohibited.

-- Pack or saddle stock cannot be hitched or tethered within 100 feet of lakes, stream, ponds, rivers, similar bodies of water or system trails, or within 1/4 mile of Crater Lake, Conundrum Hot Springs, or Snowmass Lake.

Learn more about why regulations may be necessary in wilderness.

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