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Wilderness Volunteers

East Fork Trail, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, White River National Forest, CO (Jul 25th - Jul 31st 2021)

This service project is sponsored by:

  • Frances Kittrell

  • Description
  • Details
  • Map

The world-famous and spectacular Maroon Bells-Snowmass area truly exemplifies Rocky Mountain splendor and is Colorado's fourth largest Wilderness. The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness was established with the original 1964 Wilderness Act and total size now is approximately 183,500 acres. Featuring 100 miles of trails that lead over nine passes above 12,000 feet, vast regions lie above the tree line and long glacial valleys with roaring rivers point the way to sparkling alpine lakes. The awesome, jagged symmetry of the Maroon Bells peaks reflected in Maroon Lake is perhaps Colorado's most iconic mountain scene. Midsummer wildflowers consume the hill slopes, supplementing additional vibrancy to this remote and isolated mountain landscape. Elk, deer and an abundance of wildlife are found throughout the area. The variety of terrain encompasses scenic forests, summer wildflowers, challenging river crossings, and spectacular views of the numerous peaks of the Elk Mountain Range.

This is a great opportunity to experience Colorado Wilderness, and give something back by helping the White River National Forest to maintain trails and control erosion in this beautiful region. This area’s vast trail network provides hikers access to the high ridgelines and peaks that dominate the landscape. We will be working on the East Fork Trail which is a frequented hikers trail between the mountain towns of Aspen and Crested Butte. We will set up basecamp at large dispersed campsite after a 2 mile backpack from the East Fork trailhead. Project participants will assist the Forest Service by working on projects designed to improve the East Fork Trail, which climbs steadily for 5 miles from our camp along East Fork of the Crystal River. Volunteers will focus on construction and maintenance of water bars and check dam, revegetation of braided trail, and trail hardening where there are creek crossings. This project is at elevation, 10,800ft to 12,000 ft.

We highly recommend that those coming from low elevation (anything below about 5,000 feet) plan an extra couple days in the area before the trip to acclimate to the elevation for your own safety. Altitude sickness is a concern when traveling from low elevation to high elevation and getting acclimatized before the trip is one of the easiest ways to prevent it. If you need ideas on things to do/see before the trip contact your leaders.

For 2021, we HIGHLY SUGGEST applicants have the ability to get themselves to the trailhead. This road requires high-clearance vehicles and possibly 4WD when it's wet. Low clearance vehicles WILL NOT make it to the trailhead. Participants with low clearance passenger vehicles may utilize shuttle services to/from the trailhead. In year's past participants have used Dolly's shuttle service. Beware that COVID-19 may impact Dolly's shuttle service for this project. Wilderness Volunteers is not responsible for canceled shuttle reservations.

Please note: Due to COVID-19, Wilderness Volunteers is operating our 2021 project schedule under our Modified Project Procedures for Volunteers. These project guidelines will be revised as needed. Please check back often for the latest version.

Due to additional COVID-19 precautions, we are prohibiting mixed household volunteer carpooling (with volunteers outside of the same household traveling in the same vehicle) to projects until further notice. Exceptions to this policy (eg close friends traveling together) will need to be discussed with/pre-approved by the office and will require additional precautionary steps for the individuals involved.  Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

There's a lot of beauty to see on your day off! Go for a hike to West Maroon pass or Frigid Air pass, fish, view wildlife, wildflowers, or snag some photographs!

This project is rated as a challenging project.

Check out more photos from last year's Maroon Bells-Snowmass project in our gallery.


Jul 25th - Jul 31st 2021

Service Project

Trail maintenance, erosion control, and treadwork construction.

Agency logo

Free Days

Hiking, fishing, photography, wildlife & wildflower viewing


Backpack camping

Project Difficulty

Challenging : Digging, bending, shoveling, moving rocks. 2 mile backpack with 1,400' elevation change at high alti


Carter Bland
Karen Zietlow

Equipment List