No fee is required to backpack in the Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness or hike the Four Pass Loop, which most people start from the Maroon Lake. Maroon Lake Trailhead; Approach the Maroon Bells from the Maroon Lake TH (9,590-ft.) From Aspen, locate a round-about a half mile north on Hwy 82 and drive west on Maroon Lake Road for 9.4 miles to the parking area. Wildflower extravaganza!!! It got a little mushy and wet on the other side of the pass, so we set up camp about a mile after summiting. This blog was updated in July 2020 for accuracy and updated info. Join her Project Life course where she gives you the tools needed to live a happier and healthier life. I’m not sure why some people say the hike is easy, because it’s not. Length: 26.7 mile loopElevation gain/loss: 7,500 feet. Find a park. Camping and campfires are not allowed within 100 feet of a water source such as lakes or streams, Campfires are not allowed above 10,800 ft. elevation. It’s a bit more difficult than usual because we’d have to do an extra 2 miles hike to the trail head because of the impasse caused by the avalanche just south of Emerald Lake (don’t think that it’ll be melt down to be passable by cars this summer). I knew better and should’ve packed more layers. Except Aspen is 3000 ft lower than where we camped. Amazing trail with lots of wildflowers. But the higher elevations brought out the most amazing display of wildflowers I’ve seen on this hike! The snowfields are treacherous, poorly consolidated, and no place for a novice climber. If you hit it right, it is the most beautiful hike in Colorado from a flora perspective. More on this below. Luckily the rain didn’t last long and the clouds stayed high allowing us to soak in the gorgeous mountain views for our final hour and a half hike back to the start. Loads of wildlife - we saw many Pikas and Marmots. When you get off walk behind the bus (don’t cross the street) to the sidewalk and wait at the bus stop on the east side of the sidewalk. Better as a short backpacking trip, but can be done as a day trip if you leave early. 10:15-12:15Frigid Air Pass to River Crossing: 4 miles, 1900 feet elevation loss. There are a few regulations about backcountry camping and campfires that you have to follow: Right before Crater Lake there is a sign to go left on trail 1970, if you are hiking clockwise, or right on trail 1975 toward Buckskin Pass if you are going counterclockwise. The downhill off the pass was quick and the views really start getting good. I was very happy hiking it clockwise because then the views continuously get better throughout the hike. They are passionate about adventuring in the outdoors through surfing, rock climbing, mountain biking, and hiking. You could easily bring a Gravity Bag instead and just use it to fill all the water bottles you’ve brought with you each time you get to a water filling location. At the end of Maroon Lake is a bridge that crosses into the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness where there are falls and smaller lakes. We hiked this trail today & saw masses of columbines. On the walk there you will pass emerald lake which is gorgeous. It tells you which buses to look for and when they will arrive. That is why we recommend using your Google Maps app to cross-reference which bus is fastest when you get there. So here are a few odd things I wouldn’t normally pack, but you will want in the Maroon Bells. The beautiful Maroon Bells, and their neighbor Pyramid Peak, have claimed many lives in the past few years. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out. The views to the south are beautiful and when you add flowers in the mix it only makes it better. The third mile up to the pass summit is extremely strenuous and rocky, but the path is notable for more columbines plus king’s crown, Parry’s primrose, death camas, and other alpine flowers. It was mind-blowing! A 12-mile drive from Crested Butte Mountain Resort on CR 317 through Gothic, CO and on to the trailhead (will be on the right side of CR 317). 12:40-1:501st Trail Junction to 2nd Trail Junction: 1 mile, 1100 feet elevation gain. At the top of the pass we dropped our bags and scrambled up the rocks to the left to take in the gorgeous views that extend south to Crested Butte and beyond. Colorado and nature is showing off! Do this trail early during monsoon season as there is limited cover. From the lake it took us 40 minutes to get to the top of Pass and seeing the view of Snowmass lake after three hours of climbing felt like we had just reached heaven. The road to the trail head definitely needs a high clearance and preferably a four wheel drive. We maybe liked nearby Rustlers Gulch a bit better? I tried this trail last weekend but had to park 2.5 miles from the trail head due to the road being impassable for my RAV4. When we started hiking day 2, we crossed a stream early on and refilled all 7 water bottles. I plan on tackling the whole Four Pass Loop after training long and hard but this trail was an amazing introduction to hiking!! There was rain in the forecast for the next day and we didn’t like the idea of crossing the last pass in possible lightning storms so we decided to push on and hoped we could make it over the last pass and find a campsite before it was dark. The trail descends quickly down switchbacks into a steep gulch. I was surprised that there was plenty of parking on a Sunday afternoon in August and there would’ve been a place for my RV to park. Totally reasonable. The flowers at the lower level had already peaked and saw very few sunflowers or columbine. Such a magical hike with my best friends. If you are hiking clockwise, there are places to fill water at these points: Dehydrated meals may be better for this type of trip just to save space. Starting June 14, Maroon Creek Road restrictions will start and visitors will be directed to RFTA bus service. 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. The wild flowers were beautiful and the views were wonderful. About an hour past Crater Lake you will reach the first creek crossing at 3.5 miles. I’m not a fan of dehydrated meals and I prefer having whole foods but that made it hard to fit it all in the bear canister. Turn right onto the Maroon-Snowmass trail - 3. The descent to Fravert Basin campsite is 4 miles and took us exactly 2 hours. US Forest Service – Maroon Bells Scenic Area Guide, A plaque about the danger of the Maroon Bells provided by the Forest Service reads: (Click to expand), Below the 'Deadly Bells' plaque is another plaque that reads: (Click to expand), By using this site you agree to the terms of our. We woke to the sound of rain and thunder the next morning and were glad we didn’t have any passes to cross. Here’s our itinerary of how long it took us to hike each section an where we camped. Driving a Subaru Crosstrek. Indian paintbrushes, & sunflowers at their peak. If you left your car there you’ll jump on the CM (Castle/Maroon) bus and get off at the roundabout. Both these buses were very short rides (5 min each). Not too difficult, but it did test out mental strength as well as our physical strength. When you start the hike it’s very straight forward. Turn off your ad blocker to see a map of this trail, Crested Butte to Aspen via West Maroon Pass, Snowmass Lake via North Fork Crystal River. To help prevent conflicts between pets and wildlife please do not bring your dog on the Scenic Loop Trail past Maroon Lake. First and foremost; the wildflowers on this trail are absolutely stunning right now! We followed the sign toward the campground at Snowmass lake but only to give us a spot to sit for almost an hour to prepare dinner and take pictures. We did not make it to the pass as we took our time looking at flowers. Did the out n back hike from CB side. Walk in the revolving door to buy your tickets and the clearly marked bus that’s directly in front of the building will take you up to the trailhead on a guided tour. Looking for updates on the condition of Gothic Road to the trailhead after the recent snow. All our insider knowledge into backpacking Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop. Parking at Buttermilk is allowed for only 4 days though. Get the full experience and book a tour . Then, walk across the street and find the pedestrian tunnel that takes you under Highway 82. There was one creek crossing early on where we refilled all our water bottles and that lasted us until the creek by Fravert Basin at about noon that day. Related: Ultimate Colorado Adventure Itinerary. Robyn, along with her husband, Victor, and their five kids sold most of their belongings and moved into an RV back in 2015 in order to create more memories through travel and adventure. It was just a little over an hour to descend the 2+ miles to Snowmass lake during all of which you have insanely beautiful views of the Lake. The last push up to the pass was pretty steep but the rest of the trail is pretty moderate. Many thanks! You'll pass through Gothic, Colorado on the way (trailhead is 7 miles from Gothic). We parked just outside of the town of Gothic and had to hike a few miles until we got to the trailhead. The hummingbirds are fun to watch. Be warned, even though you’ve been climbing a steep trail for more than an hour, you’ve still got over an hour to the top of Trail Rider pass on equally as steep terrain. (We barely made it btw). Since we only carried one bear canister among 3 hikers, it was hard to fit enough food in it for all of us for two nights. When we were there the creek was very low but it’s obvious by the number of rocks lining the creek bed that at certain times of the year it is a huge creek. We didn’t have our gravity bag and while that may have been helpful towards the end of the hike, our HydroBlu Clear Flow water bottles which have filters built-in seemed to be enough. Head back to the sign junction where you turned to Snowmass Lake and this time head on the for Maroon Snowmass Trail. You may want to also join us on Instagram and follow our travels.. Quite a few snow drifts still, particularly when you get close to the pass. This version of the hike up to West Maroon Bells Pass is for those starting and finishing on the Crested Butte side of the pass. Took us about 5 hours from trailhead to the peak and back. About an hour past Crater Lake you will reach the first creek crossing at 3.5 miles. The trail is very well marked so you don’t need to worry too much about navigation. Learn how your comment data is processed. Then it is relatively steep going up to the spires. Wanna challenge me in push ups, go all day without eating, or hike all four passes of the maroon bells four pass loop in one day? Together they are inspiring others to explore the outdoors, get outside their comfort zone, and #BraveForAdventure. So many beautiful wildflowers along the way. We did also include distances, elevation gain, and other recommended camping spots because while we had an epic time, hiking all 4 passes in 1 day is hard. What an amazing hike that began with unreal wildflowers in the valley and ended with breathtaking views of the valleys down and mountain peaks on both sides of the pass. The dogs loved the hike also. We hopped on the free BRT bus towards Aspen and rode it just over a mile to the roundabout. The first couple miles are easy-moderate dirt single track. That gave us enough water to drink when hiking to the campsite, drinking water at the campsite, boiling water for pasta in our Jetboil, washing out the Jetboil, and making coffee in the morning. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.
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