Being from the flatlands of SE Pennsylvania this hike was a real heart pumper! DH and I were in the Aspen area for three full days before attempting it and I'm glad we had the time to acclimate. It was 9.2 miles out and back from the Maroon Lake trailhead/parking lot and 2,879 ft elevation gain (data from Garmin). We are both runners and I just completed a (flat) half-marathon. That said, we still required frequent breaks and lots of water and fuel to get this done. I recommend having camel packs, energy blocks or other quick fuel, and a good hat and hiking boots. There are plenty of mountain streams for water refills if you have iodine tablets.
Going back down was much easier and our pace was 3-4X that of going up, so keep that in mind as you are ascending..there is relief! We started before 8am to beat afternoon showers. I do not recommend starting this much later than 9am in the summer unless you are a mountain goat (which we saw up there!). I highly recommend this as the views are breathtaking (or was that the altitude?). In any case, this is the real deal Colorado high and nothing compares. Cheers!
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