Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Overnight Permits
White River National Forest
Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Overnight Permits are for remote areas that involve backpacking a significant distance from a trailhead and all development and roads. Wilderness permits should not be confused with campground reservations.
The best way to plan for your trip and to be ready to reserve a permit is to understand where you plan to camp each night of your trip. Use this Overnight Permit Zone Map to understand which zones in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness require a permit. If you (and your group) plan to camp in a permitted zone, you will need to reserve a spot in each zone for each night that you camp.
If you plan to start your trip at the Maroon Scenic Area, you will need to reserve a parking or bus reservation. You will receive a link in your confirmation email to reserve parking or bus transportation. There are a limited number of parking spaces available so you may need to reserve a bus ticket.
The best time to visit the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is July through September.
From early October to late June in the Rocky Mountains, campsites, trails and mountan passes are snow covered and trailheads may be inaccessible. Avalanche hazards exist in the mountains. Snow makes route finding difficult. If you’re not prepared to travel and camp in snow, plan your trip for summer.
- Permits are limited to two permits, per person, per calendar year.
- Permits are available online up to the day of the trip, depending on availability.
- Maximum length of stay per permit is seven nights.
Why Do I Need a Permit?
We’re excited that you want to visit the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and thank you in advance for being a good steward. The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness carries special legal designation to protect its natural, undeveloped and untrammeled qualities as well as to provide outstanding opportunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined recreation.
The camping permit system, and the regulations, are in place to help protect this unique Wilderness treasure. Remember, you’ll need to bring a bear canister or Ursack. There are no toilets so now’s the time to brush up on backcountry bathroom etiquette. As a visitor to the area, it’s up to you to help protect this amazing place, and we know that you will!
Permit & Season Information
The permit allows the permit holder (and group) to camp in the Overnight Permit Zone they select within the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. The permit holder must reserve a zone for each night of their trip. Most permits allow up to 4 people per group. See section below for more.
Permits are required year-round, but the best time to visit the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is July through September. From early October to late June campsites, trails, and mountain passes are snow covered and the trailheads may be inaccessible.
In Conundrum Hot Springs, Crater Lake, and Capitol Lake Zones, the permit holder and group are required to camp in their reserved campsite. In all other zones, permit holder and group should select a campsite within the zone that is already established and is 70 big steps away from trails and water.
View maps of:
Overnight Permit Zones
Conundrum Hot Springs Zone reserveable campsites
Crater Lake Zone reserveable campsites
Capitol Lake Zone reserveable campsites
Need to Know
When planning your trip, please keep the following in mind:
- The best time to visit the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is July-September. From early October through the end of June the campsites, mountain passes, and trail are snow-covered, and trailheads may be inaccessible to vehicles.
- Permits are only available through Recreation.gov. Ranger stations will not issue permits.
- Permit holder (or alternate trip leader) must be present. Permits are non-transferrable. If the permit holder or alternate are not present, the permit is void. Alternate trip leader cannot be added after permit is purchased. Please enter an alternate before purchasing. This rule is in place to avoid abuse of permit system.
- Printed permit and photo ID must be carried by permit holder or alternate and displayed upon request of any Forest Officer. Permit can be printed as early as 14 days before your reservation date.
- Permit holder and group must camp in their reserved zone or at their reserved campsite at Conundrum Hot Springs, Crater Lake, and Capitol Lake
- Permit holder and group must reserve a spot for each night of their trip in the zone where they will camp
- Permits are limited to two permits per person, per calendar year
- Permits cannot overlap. I.e. A permit holder cannot reserve two permits for the same night.
- Maximum length of stay per permit is seven nights
- You are responsible for your safety and for the safety of your group while traveling in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.
A few more items to agree to and consider when planning include:
- You will be traveling in Black Bear country. Food, trash and any scented items must be stored in an IGBC approved bear resistant container. Visitors without approved bear resistant containers will be ticketed and required to leave. This may sound harsh, but we want to keep both bears and people safe. Local retailers rent and sell approved bear resistant containers.
- There are no toilets in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Now’s the time to make a bathroom plan. Human waste bags (WAG) bags are highly recommended but not required. WAG bags must be packed out. Learn more about how to use a WAG bag. If a WAG bag is not used, visitors are required to deposit solid human waste in holes dug six to eight inches deep at least 200 feet (70 paces) from water, camp and trails.
- Group size is limited to the maximum number of persons allowable at the campsite, with total group size limited to 10 if multiple campsites are reserved.
- Dogs are prohibited in the Conundrum Hot Springs Zone. Dogs must be on leash everywhere else in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.
- Campfires are prohibited at all designated sites at Conundrum Hot Springs, Crater Lake, Capitol Lake, and above 10,800 feet anywhere in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness (including Snowmass Lake). Campfires consume wood, accumulate trash, kill fragile alpine vegetation, sterilize the soil and scar the land. Wilderness rangers hike hundreds of pounds of garbage out of the Wilderness every year.
- As with all designated Wilderness, aircraft, motorized equipment and mechanized transport are prohibited including bicycles, motorbikes, chainsaws, ATVs, carts, drones, hang gliders and paragliders. This equipment is prohibited to provide visitors with a primitive recreational experience and to preserve outstanding opportunities for solitude.
- Overnight pack and saddle stock are not allowed at any designated campsite in the Conundrum Hot Springs or Capitol Lake permit zones.
- Exact conditions at the time of your trip will not be known. Remember that you are traveling in a remote, wild place. Plan and prepare accordingly and embrace the elements of the unknown that wilderness provides.
- Overnight Permit Fee from May 1-Oct 31 is $10.00 per person, per night. 95% of these fees are directly re-invested into stewardship of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.
- Children 16 and under are free.
- The non-refundable reservation fee is $6.00 for each overnight permit.
- Once permit has been printed, you cannot make changes to or cancel your permit
- Permit is non-transferable. Permit holder or alternate leader must be present. If permit holder or alternate are not present, permit is not valid
- Group size may be changed up to the maximum allowable until the permit has been printed
- Permit can be printed up to 14 days prior to trip
- To change your permit zones or reservation dates, you must cancel your existing reservation and make a new reservation. New reservation is subject to availability.
- Permit holders may cancel their permit up to 2 days before their trip and recieve a full refund (minus the $6 reservation fee).
- The $6 reservation fee is non-refundable
- Canceled permits will be available on permit website within 24 hours of cancellation
- Permit holders should cancel their permit if they will not use it to allow another visitor the opportunity to visit this amazing place!
PO Box 309 Carbondale CO 81623
White River National Forest Supervisors Office: (970) 945-3201