The United States Congress designated the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness (map
) in 1964 and it now has a total of 181,976 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Colorado
and is managed by the Forest Service.
Colorado's fourth largest Wilderness exemplifies Rocky Mountain splendor: 100 miles of trail lead over nine passes above 12,000 feet, vast regions lie above the tree line, and long glacial valleys point the way to glistening alpine lakes. Six peaks rising above 14,000 feet draw mountaineers to challenge themselves on the rugged terrain. These peaks are among the most difficult to scale in the state. Caution and skill are advised.
In midsummer, the wildflowers are abundant. Native Bighorn Sheep make their home in the rocky terrain. Elk and deer currently thrive in the Elk Mountains, but development threatens their habitat.
Historically what is now the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness was the territory of the Paranuche and Tabeguache bands of the Ute Tribe.
The Maroon Bells Scenic Area, which lies outside of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, provides access to some of the popular Wilderness trailheads. Due to the popularity of recreation in the Maroon Bells Scenic Area, shuttle buses operate during the summer months (approximate mid-June through Labor Day, plus weekends in September) to Maroon Lake.
The Maroon-Bells Snowmass Wilderness draws over 100,000 visitors (day hikers and backpackers) each year. The Conundrum Hot Springs lie within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Starting in April 2018, a permit is required for overnight stays within the Conundrum Hot Springs Zone. This zone includes all of Conundrum Creek Valley from Silver Dollar Pond to Triangle Pass, and includes the popular hot springs. This permit must be acquired in advance at recreation.gov. All other overnight visitors to the Maroon Bells - Snowmass Wilderness are required to self-register at trailhead registration boxes.