Tricky Sections: I lost the trail a few times on this route. Chances are, you’ve even seen a photo of the Maroon Bells. Round-Trip Length: 26 miles Elevation gain & loss: 7,400′ Starting elevation: 9,655’ Trailhead Location: Maroon Lake Trailhead – 6.5 miles west of Aspen, Colorado on Maroon Creek Road. The route travels 32 miles, but expect to add about another mile to reach Copper Pass and just over a mile round trip to reach Triangle Pass. Hike wildflower terrain from Crested Butte all the way to the iconic Maroon Bells in Aspen via West Maroon Pass. It tests the soul, and feeds it at the same time. Photo credit: Clay Malott. That is the trail both climbs and descends 8,115′. West Maroon Pass Trail near Aspen, Colorado - Imposing peaks, pretty waterfalls, stunning lakes, a huge alpine basin and panoramic views from a 12,500-ft. pass encompassing Treasure Mountain, Pyramid Peak and the Maroon Bells are the scenic rewards on this 13-mile (RT) hike to West Maroon Pass. Crowds fall off beginning in September, when the days are still long and … Welcome to Backpackers Review! It's probably another 2-2.5 miles from West Maroon to the top of Frigid Air so you should be on the way down by 11 or 12 if you start at 7. West Maroon Trail #1970, also called East Fork or West Maroon Pass Trail, is a difficult trail you can hike, run, and horseback ride that is dog friendly. This loop is certainly on my list of future backpacking destinations and this hike was a good introduction to the area. The view of the mountains surrounding us was incredible, even more so as we climbed higher. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. On the bright side, you'll see far fewer people. At 28 miles in length, this loop is typically hiked over the course of 3 to 5 days depending on your fitness level. Trail Map | Photo Gallery. This stunning pass is the most commonly used route for thru-hikers between Aspen and Crested Butte, and the first encountered when traveling clockwise on the 4-Pass Loop.. Miles 2-4 had many trail split offs and disappearing trails going to haystack pass. So, if you want to break your legs in half go ahead and run it, but for normal humans I recommend backpacking. Length: 26.7 mile loop Elevation gain/loss: 7,500 feet. East Maroon Pass - 19.4 Miles Round-Trip East Maroon Pass is located 9.7 miles from East Maroon Portal in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Finally begin the ascent up the rocky slopes to West Maroon Pass. The Four Pass Loop is one of the top hikes in Aspen and a quintessential Colorado backpacking trip, traversing high alpine passes, wildflower-filled valleys and dark blue lakes, more than 26 miles and more than 7,000 feet. Trent and I did this Four Pass Loop backpacking trip with our dog (Tsali) in August of 2018. Aspen is known as a skier's paradise, but its got something special for Colorado hiking and backpacking fans, too. We couldn’t see the exact path of the trail leading up to West Maroon Pass until we were almost near the final 1/2 mile or so ascent. 1970 to the left, and Maroon-Snowmass Trail No. I patiently waited for September to come and there it … This area is very open and Crater Lake can be seen in the distance. From the top of East Maroon enjoy epic views into multiple drainages . From Aspen, you will drive .5-mile West on Highway 82. Overview Of Backpacking The Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop. It would be the only thunder I would hear all day. The trail from CB to the West Maroon Pass is only 4.5 miles and is a gradual climb with few rocks on the trail. After gaining the pass, the trail angles to the left and descends steadily through willow and then tundra. Look for a short wooden sign underneath the brush and take the right fork toward West Maroon Pass. The sheer size of the terrain made us feel very small. Posts about West Maroon Pass written by linhartb. To your right will be Belleview Mountain at 4033 m and to your left will be an unnamed 4002 m mountain. “The Bells” are part of the Elk Mountains, which straddle the border of Gunnison and Pitkin counties in west central Colorado. Intersection by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr The rocky trail up to West Maroon Pass (12,500 feet). This stretch of trail is often covered in wildflowers during later summer months . While this trail starts at 9,580′ and tops out at 12,465′ at West Maroon Pass the overall elevation gain is 8,115′. Trail Map | Photo Gallery. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from April until September. West Maroon Pass - 12.9 Miles Round-Trip West Maroon Pass (12,465') is located 6.45 miles from Maroon Lake in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Our first pass, West Maroon, laid in a saddle near the top of the huge bowl. If using this trail as part of the Four Pass Loop, the West Maroon Trail starts from an intersection with Fravert Basin Trail in Scholfield Park where you'll head east, away from Schofield Park to West Maroon Pass. The upper drainage near West Maroon Pass. How to get there: From Aspen. Snowmass Mountain – this can be accessed from Geneva Lake (mile 23) or Snowmass Lake (mile 43) via class 3 climbing. This complete one-day epic hiking trail from Crested Butte to Aspen traverses through stunning alpine scenery of snow-capped peaks, lush forests, and beauty-filled meadows of native wildflowers. The valleys were so green with lots of wildflowers. Continue up the valley ascending a gradual incline until the next signed junction for Frigid Air Pass . … September finally came! Although we’d been backpacking before, this would be our longest trip yet. It is more difficult than East Maroon and more popular. Backpacking the Four Pass Loop in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness near Aspen is a hiker’s dream. Campsites for backpackers can be found in the woods between the two river crossings described in the West Maroon Pass trail guide. Accessed from West Maroon Creek Trail at miles 35-36. Near mile 4.2, (mile 2 if you started at Schofield Park), bypass the Hasley Basin Trail and continue toward a rolling basin below Frigid Air and West Maroon passes. From the lake head right and continue up the trail. We average about 2 miles per hour and we were a little slower than that for this hike, probably due to the weight of our bags. During the trek you hike over four high elevation mountain passes, reach a peak altitude of ~12,500 feet, and climb nearly 9,000 feet of elevation. This Four Pass Loop will take you through these high peaks and into some of the most otherworldly looking alpine basins for an unforgettable backpacking trip. DAY/BACKPACKING OVERVIEW: This is the shortest route to Crested Butte. Days can be in the 80's but I would more expect mid 70's at best. Shop sale & … We did… Continue Reading → Posted in: Camping, Hiking and Backpacking Filed under: Buckskin Pass, Crater Lake, Four Pass Loop, Frigid Air Pass, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, Maroon Lake, Trail Rider Pass, Trails in Colorado, West Maroon Pass, West Maroon Trail. The Area . This route can also be accessed from the Crested Butte side of the Wilderness near Schofield Pass. I've been in some hairy situations forging on west maroon pass in the spring. Once you get over West Maroon, you don't descend much heading over to Frigid Air so it's not a long haul up like the other passes. West Maroon Pass is straight ahead. After a break on the summit of West Maroon Pass to take in the views and have lunch, we headed down the other side around 12:45pm. Backpack the Richmond Ridge – Aspen's mountain range – aboard Four Pass Loop, a 26-mile route that Backpacker's editors once named their favorite trip ever.Day-trip the White River National Forest on West Maroon Pass, a 12.7-mile out-and-back that showcases some of … I would anticipate the weather to be at or below freezing at night if you are camping up high, otherwise in the high 30's. We recommend hiking all the way to into As I neared the pass I heard a very faint distant rumble of thunder, but it wasn't close enough for me to be concerned about. Trip Overview: The Four Pass Loop in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is one of the premiere backpacking loops in Colorado. It has been a LONG few months since my last trip to Colorado with my dog Pike. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. West Maroon Pass (12,480 ft) and Fridged Air Pass (12,415) are your objectives. At Schofield Park, you’ll turn right to follow the West Maroon Pass Trail along the Crysteal River’s East Fork. The trail is very well marked so you don’t need to worry too much about navigation. Finally the trail will start to veer to the right (west) as you find yourself at the bottom of a high alpine cirque. 30 miles and four mountain passes in 4 days. Below you’ll find affiliate links to great products that we enjoy using in our own kitchen. West Maroon Pass is the highest of the passes at 12,500’. On this site you will find backpacking and camping trip guides that provide detailed information on routes, scenery, and general tips. Backpacking the Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop was incredible, challenging and absolutely beautiful. You also can find gear lists and short product reviews for all of the gear that I used while on these trips. There are shimmering lakes, alpine meadows, lush green forests, and the bright red peaks of Elks tower all around you at every turn. We made our way up to West Maroon Pass and after 6.5 miles and 3,400 feet of elevation gain, we crested over the Pass. West Maroon Trail is a 20.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Aspen, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. This long but moderate trail follows East Maroon Creek to its origin just below the pass, and continues down the west side into Copper Basin and on to Gothic near Crested Butte.. From West Maroon Pass, we dropped 1000′ and traversed the southern face of Belleview Mountain. Max Elevation: 12,480' (West Maroon Pass) When to Go. Most of this route is above treeline, but is lined by bushes and wildflowers during the summer. There are magnificent campsites in the trees below treeline in the valley behind Fridged Air Pass. This is a rocky/dirt trail in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness that travels over West Maroon Pass (12,465 ft) and is used to get from Aspen to Crested Butte or as a connection on the Four Pass Loop . It offers magnificent views of the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness area and vast fields of wildflowers. Between these two passes, you never drop below treeline and camping can be a bit tricky. The Maroon Bells is arguably Colorado’s most photographed cluster of mountain peaks, as if created by a computer imaging for a Hollywood blockbuster. Hi there! The Four Pass Loop in Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area just outside of Aspen, Colorado, is one of those backpacking trips that you consistently find on online lists that read “Five Backpacking Trips You Must Do Before You Die“. The Four Pass Loop backpacking season stretches from July to October. From here the trail gets steeper as you get closer to the pass. Although I’ve hiked around this area many times, I’ve never committed to the whole 26.8 miles and 8,115 ft of elevation gain until a few weeks ago. 1975 to the right. From Aspen to WMP it's 6.5 miles with the first 5 miles being up/down, up/down with plenty of rocks on the trail and sometimes all rocks. Some of the best views can be found on the trail between Copper Lake and East Maroon Pass. But 5 miles will put you pretty close to West Maroon Pass (about 1.5 miles). They are the hallmark of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness … Typically should be dry and any showers are normally daily afternoon ones that last a few hours and then dissipate. After crossing West Maroon Creek again, we crossed a few more small streams before the landscape really began to open up. Maroon Bells Backpacking Trip. While the West Maroon Pass section of this loop sees a steady flow of people, the East Maroon and Copper Lake sections offer a little more solitude. Wildflower bloom peaks in mid-to-late July. The Maroon Bells are the backdrop to many photos depicting the Aspen area. East Maroon Pass. 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