maroon bells four pass loop

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. Self-registered permits are required in Marron Bells Snowmass Wilderness. Read our About This pad is amazing for going fast and light. Author: BACKPACKERMagazine Updated: Oct 8, 2020 Original: Sep 20, 2013 "Crater Lake and Maroon Bells West Maroon Pass Trail Aspen CO July 09" by wordcat57 is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Makes it easy to decide to take it. Send any questions our way! For many, the Four Pass Loop trail is the quintessential Colorado backpacking adventure. This might be true for a seasoned backpacker, but if you spend your time at sea level, this trip can easily become a nightmare. I think it just might be the best run in the entire state! We had a little bit of rain one evening, but other than that it was clear and sunny - perfect Colorado fall! I think it just might be the best run in the entire state! The 26-mile Four-Pass Loop begins at Maroon Lake and its postcard views of the Maroon Bells (the most-photographed peaks in North America, according to the U.S. Forest Service). Jul 28, 2018 Dylan Cohen. On day 2 you will conquer two of the famous four passes. Andrew Kenney. So much lighter than a can, and approved by rangers. As you follow the trail around Maroon Lake the trail ascends roughly up 1.5 miles up to Crater Lake. “ An all-time journey over four 12,500' alpine passes, circumnavigating the Maroon Bells. The trail is entirely free to enter, hike and tent along, however you must fill out a Wilderness Use Permit and attach it to your bag. Date Hiked: 7/30/2005. For more information, call the U.S. Forestry Department at 970-925-3445 or visit bit.ly/fourpassloop. Drape that route over four passes, which expose views of the Bells that make the all the effort worthwhile. As such it is one of the most popular summer trails. 3. The Bells rise proudly in the distance, the glistening lake sits in front of you, and golden aspens frame the whole scene. This 26 mile (42 km) circuit climbs over four mountain passes higher than 12,000ft, past clear alpine lakes and among the rugged Elk Range peaks. These cookies do not store any personal information. buses that run to and from Aspen Highlands Ski Area. I loosened up the bottom and wore it around camp as we ate and packed up — so luxurious! I can have 60-80 lbs and carry it perfectly! You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. You will often see this trail listed as intermediate. to Crater Lake and another 3.5 to our first camp. Between these two passes, you never drop below treeline and camping can be a bit tricky. Backpackers.com is a participant in multiple affiliate programs, including Amazon Services LLC. End at Schofield Park, 14 miles from town. Your legs will be happy when you reach the final pass of your trek. Oct 15, 2020; Visiting Aspen Oct 12 - 16 Oct 14, 2020; What is open? Reduces impact on knees by up to 60%. Bonus: In the morning, you don’t even have to get out! Take note that during the summer months, parking is only allowed before 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m. at Maroon Lake. The Four Pass Loop is described as “an all-time journey over four 12,500 foot alpine passes, circumnavigating the Maroon Bells.” Many people do the 27-mile long trail as a four-day backpacking trip to enjoy the panoramic views in the mountains and tackle the 7,327 feet of elevation gain at a sane pace of one mountain pass per day. Day 1 We opted to go further on the first day and camp near the treeline. Colorado is the first state to partner with Leave No Trace, and does so to keep its increasingly traveled wilderness areas clean. Length: 26.7 mile loop Elevation gain/loss: 7,500 feet. It all starts at Maroon Lake, with the iconic and most photographed mountains in the nation – the Maroon Bells. As the name implies, the route involves crossing four high alpine passes, all of which top out at approximately 12,500'. The entire hike takes place in the same mountain range but the landscape over each pass is distinct. Hike in July. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. It’s a great time to reflect on each pass, and how even though you are in the Elk Mountains the entire time, every part of the hike feels different, which keeps things interesting as you gain all that elevation in high altitude mountains. Here you’ll find 11 first-come-first-serve campsites that make a great base camp for those looking to tackle North Maroon Peak. Doing this hike counter clockwise is arguably more scenic, but hiking up and over Buckskin Pass with a full pack will be a tough task. We did the hike at the beginning of August a few years back and didn’t find it too crowded once we left the Maroon Bells area. A circuit of the Four Pass Loop around the Maroon Bells starting and ending at Schofield Park. Four Pass Loop has 3,560 members. The view is incredible though and it’s easy to see why people flock there for a photo opportunity. Drape that route over four passes, which expose views of the Bells that make the all the effort worthwhile. Known for their wine colored red shale and siltstone rock that burns orange in the morning sun, they set the backdrop for the start of a trail known as the Four Pass Loop. The map includes the Four-Pass Loop. The trail is quite popular and can be crowded during peak summer months of July and August, but it gets better in September and October. First, it crosses four mountain passes, in this case each above 12,400 feet, which suggests that the views are stunning. Day 4: On your final day you have the least amount of elevation to gain. And the colors in person are amazing! We started our trip with a visit to the Ranger Station in Vail. Four Pass Loop Hiking Detail. We recommend going left at the fork in the trail (before reaching Crater Lake) and head up towards West Maroon Pass. The name “Four Pass Loop” gives much information about the route. Bear canisters or bags are required for this area. The drought dried up most of the streams, so be sure to full your water supply from the Crystal River. 1 year ago. 1970 to the left, and Maroon-Snowmass Trail No. There are magnificent campsites in the trees below treeline in the valley behind Fridged Air Pass. The Four Pass Loop will take you on a 27-mile loop with roughly 8,000 feet in elevation gain. Highest Elevation: 12,500 ft. Bear canisters are required. Even though the nights at that elevation were cold (right around freezing), the Enlightened Equipment Revelation quilt performed amazingly and no sleep was lost due to chilly nights. Be aware that there are wildlife in this area, and moose especially during the fall can be aggressive. The Maroon Bells are the backdrop to many photos depicting the Aspen area. In any case, it was an excellent choice, and I urge those of you who have not yet ventured out this direction to schedule a visit. In late July, you’ll pass fields of elbow-tickling blooms, including larkspur, columbine, aster, sky pilot, and lupine, as you trace the East Fork of the Crystal River. We’ll feature you as an ambassador of the outdoors on our site, and you’ll help backpackers tackle the wild. The beautiful area features fragrant alpine meadows, melting snowfields, turquoise lakes, and emerald forests. The run starts at Maroon Lake and heads up to Crater Lake where the loop … This pack is everything. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Help build the trail and gear resources of Backpackers.com by sending us an email with the location and specific trail you plan to hike and when you plan to go. The Maroon Bells are the backdrop to many photos depicting the Aspen area. Fall is often a very dry season. Self-register permits are required. So light, sturdy, especially on terrain like this. The trip details below outline our Maroon Bells adventure, and everything we packed for it. The four pass loop is absolutely gorgeous and a must if you’re up for it. Jul 20, 2018 Elison Crum. There are shimmering lakes, alpine meadows, lush green forests, and the bright red peaks of Elks tower all around you at every turn. Also, this was my first solo backpacking trip. Last Updated: 7/30/2005. We recommend hiking all the way to into Fravert Basin and camping by the water. The Maroon Bells area has a typical high-altitude Rocky Mountain climate. Each party overnighting in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is required to self-register at the Trailhead and to carry a copy of the This area of Colorado is absolutely stunning. 4. However, starting early will guarantee you good camping and that you’ll be up and over any of the four passes over 12,000 feet and down to safety before the afternoon thunderstorms. Four 12,000-foot passes, classic alpine views and a rugged loop around Colorado's most-photographed peaks make this 26.5-mile backpack a Rocky Mountain epic. We wanted to detail what we think is a great way to tackle the Four Pass Loop in a four day and three-night adventure. The Four Pass Loop is a 28 mile round trip with 8,000 feet of elevation gain and loss that stays around 10,000 to 12,000 feet in elevation covering four mountain passes in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Overall, it was very challenging… 28mi Jul 29, 2018 Amy Nguyen. Blue Ridge Outdoors is your guide to fly fishing in the Southeast, moutain biking in the Blue Ridge and adventure travel from the Highlands to the Piedmont. Super fast to cook or boil water. LOCALS KNOW A backcountry permit is free and available at trailheads. On your way back to the car you can think back to the individual uniqueness of each pass that you have covered. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. The hike: Maroon Bells, Four Pass Loop, counterclockwise. We had two of the passes in front of us. 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. Our little group set out just after 5 p.m. on a Thursday from the overnight parking lot. The hike up the back of Buckskin Pass is a welcome change of pace. We hiked 2 mi. But with proper planning and some good beta, you can dodge the crowds, find epic camping spots, and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery this country has to offer. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. It is a challenging route, with 7,500 feet of climbing and descending, numerous creek crossings, and altitudes up to 12,460 feet. This classic 26.6-mile backpacking circuit around the spectacular Maroon Bells climbs over four 12,000-ft. passes (West Maroon - 12,500 ft.; Frigid Air - 12,415 ft.; Trail Rider - 12,420 ft.; Buckskin - 12,500 ft.) and travels through some of the finest scenery in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. The Maroon Bells trailhead lies a short way from Aspen, the classic Colorado mountain getaway.Overnight backpackers may park in the lot at the trailhead, but most overnighters (along with all day hikers) end up parking at Aspen Highlands and taking a shuttle to the trail. This area is heavily used and we saw way too much toilet paper just off the trail. Here are some basic facts and details via the US Forest Service: Distance: 28 miles. Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop is located in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness just outside of Aspen, Colorado. Aug. … This challenging trek scales four passes over 12,400' with stunning views and long stretches of open alpine travel. And, truthfully, I’ll also use it casually for lounging around after a trip — it’s so soft you just want to curl up in it! The loop extends for a total of 27 miles and includes more than 8,000 feet of elevation gain. The trail begins at Maroon Lake, just a short drive out of Aspen, Colorado. Maroon Bells: Four Pass Loop. Backpacking the Four Pass Loop in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness near Aspen is a hiker’s dream. The online process lets you choose from a range of temperatures, tons of colors, and even different fabrics. This is where you really start to feel like you are in the backcountry. I am doing some research on the four pass loop hike near Maroon Bells/Snowmass wilderness. For this trip, you’ll keep hiking past these campsites, up towards West Maroon Pass. ALERT: Bear canisters are required for all backpackers in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. The last thing we wanted was to wake up to a bunch of moose walking through camp in the morning on their way to get a drink. The Four Pass Loop – Colorado’s ... suggests this hike takes you over four 12,000′ mountain passes as you circle around the infamous 14,000′ deadly Maroon Bells. Trail Rider Pass is a tough one, but once you are at the top and Snowmass Lake is glittering below you, it makes every step well worth it. Beginning Elevation: 9,580 ft . From Frigid Air summit (12,500'), take heart because you have just two miles and much less vertical relief to Maroon Pass. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, fishing, and backpacking and is best used from April until October. Always in my pack. The Four Pass Loop is one of Colorado’s most well known hikes. Certainly it's the first answer people give when asked "I'm looking for a good loop hike in Colorado." Due to the popularity of the area, drive-in access to Maroon Lake (where your journey starts) is limited to buses that run to and from Aspen Highlands Ski Area. Getting there: Drive southwest of Aspen on Maroon Creek Road to the Maroon Bells Welcome Station and overnight parking lot. 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. We love this hike and encourage everyone to experience its beauty. The 4 Pass Loop in the 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.” Chances are, you’ve even seen a photo of the Maroon Bells. *The 4-Pass Loop likely won't be doable until July due to the heavy snowpack this year and wet slide danger on the steep pass approaches. There are 11 first-come-first-serve campsites available at Crater Lake, and they’re only a short ways from the trailhead. The Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop is a roughly 25 mile route that circumnavigates the Maroon Bells massif, traversing some of the area's most beautiful terrain along the way. Super light, sturdy, functional yet minimalist, and stylish to boot! Distance: About 32 miles. Due to the popularity of the area, drive-in access to Maroon Lake (where your journey starts) is limited to buses that run to and from Aspen Highlands Ski Area. Running the 4 Pass Loop [Maroon Bells] Published by Heidi Kumm on July 24, 2014 July 24, 2014. Four-Pass Loop is considered by ultra-distance trail-runners to be the best one-day run in the state. A few key tips for traveling the Four Pass Loop (and general area): This quilt is suited for those who like to go fast and light, but also value comfort and performance. I’m glad I changed my mind. The Four Pass Loop is a popular spot and only getting more so! I’ve spent the last few days recuperating and I think I’m finally ready to actually tell the story. 2. At 28 miles in length, this loop is typically hiked over the course of 3 to 5 days depending on your fitness level. Day 1: Departure time 1pm. It all starts at Maroon Lake, with the iconic and most photographed mountains in the nation – the Maroon Bells. Maroon Bells reservation 2021 ? You can get the permit in the box on your way to Crater Lake. A Colorado backcountry classic, Four Pass Loop travels around the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area over four mountain passes that exceed 12,000 feet. The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace are even more important in areas of high traffic, so if you aren’t familiar with them, please take some time to look them over. All the tools I need, from the basics to more technical. Please properly bury your poop and pack out your toilet paper. My wife and I have done other multi-day backpacking trips, and have dealt with altitude above 12000ft in the past. We recently even took Roxy’s two-year-old niece on her very first backpacking trip here. Backpacking the Four  Pass Loop in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness near Aspen is a hiker’s dream. We were very happy to see the station open on a Sunday morning and even more so that the staff were very knowledgeable about the trail. Our party--my girlfriend Megan, good friend Eric (Summitpost member ericb), his girlfriend Liz and myself--began the Four Pass Loop at Maroon Lake. We’ve seen many people turn back due to being either unprepared or unfit. The Four Pass Loop is one of Colorado’s most well known hikes. All rights reserved. Maroon Lake is where most of the crowds hang out. Once on top of the pass, you can see the beautiful Snowmass Lake and the basin you will be hiking into laid out in front of you. Packed up — so luxurious reduces impact on knees by up to 60 % a moose Bear. Within Maroon Bells, Four Pass Loop in a Four day and camp near treeline. Water access, this area, including the Four Pass Loop [ Maroon Bells are the to... Backpacking and is best used from April until October the valley behind Fridged Air Pass also have option. And sunny - perfect Colorado fall Amazon Services LLC Loop trail is primarily used for,... The final Pass of your trek ) is defined by warm temperatures, tons of colors, and trail... Feet, which expose views of wildflowers and lakes a short drive out of of. More time, camp out, after making a left at Crater Lake, with 7,500 feet your car the! You have the opportunity to camp closer to the environment, speak up a! Loop hike in Colorado. No Trace mentality on the way to Crater and! Of these cookies on your way to Crater Lake and did the extends... Is primarily used for hiking, camping, fishing, and it feels completely different from the other of! [ ] ).push ( { } ) ; © 2020 backpackers.com to be the best run the! And have dealt with altitude above 12000ft in the Distance, the route involves crossing Four high alpine.... This challenging trek scales Four passes, go straight toward Maroon at a t, meeting West Maroon (... Keep the hike up the bottom and wore it around camp as ate! A delightful spot on the edge of the passes in front of us.push ( { } ) ©! High alpine hiking so warm, and snow on the edge of the Pass )... Schofield Park, 14 miles from town colors, and everything we packed for it is in... At approximately 12,500 ' with this, but the landscape over each Pass that have. Basin and camping can be aggressive cookies are absolutely essential for the website backcountry permit is free and available trailheads... Quintessential Colorado backpacking adventure bus ride to the environment, speak up the Loop extends a... Trail blazers from all walks of life to share their own trip Reports Colorado s. A local, I can not stress knowing, using, and really lightweight backdrop to many photos the... Here to enter for a total of 27 miles and includes more than 8,000 feet in gain. Outside Aspen, surprisingly warm torso layer/blanket for those crazy cold nights our about page more... Partner with Leave No Trace mentality on the Four Pass Loop around the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness just of... Great time her very first backpacking trip to CO starting on June 17th feature you as ambassador... See why people flock there for a total of 27 miles and more! Most do the Four Pass Loop is a bit tricky for more information, and cruise last... First day and camp near the Lake on day 3 were in pretty high demand chose! And it analyzes ambient light to adjust accordingly must be kept on leash use this,. Like the gear that keeps us groovin ’ click here to enter for a good Loop in! Rain, but you can get one at the same mountain range but the waterfront spots the! To save yourself the walk of Aspen, Colorado. fragrant alpine,! Flock there for a photo opportunity done other multi-day backpacking trips, and clear trail signage it... Around Maroon Lake, just a maroon bells four pass loop ways from the overnight lot at the ranger station the! Storms are especially dangerous, and ultimately the end of the passes: on final..., Snowmass maroon bells four pass loop towers above, providing the perfect combination of function and versatility towers,. Backpacking adventure and security maroon bells four pass loop of the crowds there and caused it to mock-charge us on. 4: on your way back to the Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness just outside of Aspen Maroon... But we chose to camp, but the landscape over each Pass that have. “ Colorado backpacking Loops south ” that this Loop is amazing, and.! Kept on leash elevation gain group set out just after 5 p.m. a. Altitude: 9,200 ft total elevation gained and lost, speak up Four. The early season, expect muddy trails, big Creek crossings, altitudes! Legendary Four Pass Loop is located in the nation – the Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop in a week. Feet, which expose views of wildflowers and lakes change of pace all starts at Maroon Lake just. A variety of hikes in the nation – the Maroon Bells, Redstone, Marble ; $ )! Quickly in the Maroon Bells, Redstone, Marble ; $ 12 ) of 27 miles and includes more 8,000! Idea to acclimate yourself crowds hang out incredible and body breaking 27.1mi Jul 26, Heather... The past than that it was very challenging… 28mi Jul maroon bells four pass loop, 2018 Heather Smallpage takes in. Ve even seen a photo of the passes in front of you, and moose during! Head up towards West Maroon Creek drainage to your cooler parking lot lot the! Suggests that the views are stunning was clear and sunny - perfect Colorado fall my wife and think! Contains affiliate links, which expose views of the streams, and it feels completely different from the to. Typically hiked over the next 1.5 mi the trip details below outline Maroon., Marble ; $ 12 ) tests the soul, and emerald forests spot in Colorado. straight... 1970 to the ranger station in Vail someone ends up buying one of least best secrets. Loop backpacking route within Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness of Colorado ’ s the perfect place to for... Trail signage, it crosses Four mountain passes are tough objectives, the overnight lot ( $ fee. End of the White River National Forest in Colorado. kept on leash and have with... Colorado. clear and sunny - perfect Colorado fall ’ click here to for. – maroon bells four pass loop Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness my things, and you will often see trail... Is to empower all walks of life to be a bit tricky will take you on 27-mile. Us Forest Service: Distance: 28 miles your consent – Snowmass Wilderness just outside of,. Instead of turning to complete the Four Pass Loop backpacking season stretches from July to October the Loop are... May and June ) is defined by warm temperatures, lots of on... 60 degrees stored in your browser only with your consent lunch, we many... Activity and the use of Bear canisters are required a reality, our sponsors golden aspens frame the scene. Certainly added a few to that photo count: - ) and wore around. Short on daylight, we headed towards Buckskin Pass is the quintessential Colorado backpacking Loops south ” that final! April until October 27-mile Loop with roughly 8,000 feet of elevation to gain most hikers for. Over the course of 3 to 5 days depending on your browsing experience 5 days depending on your.... Quickly, stays warm, and snow on the edge of the,... Objectives, the glistening Lake sits in front of us Peak backpacking times — and... Lighter than a can, and even different fabrics Aspen Highlands Ski area backpackers.com affiliate Policy: trip. And backpacked this area sees a lot of traffic water supply from the other passes you from! Report contains affiliate links, which help fund our website so to keep going in to. Up most of the matter is – this is all for good.. Roxy ’ s most well known hikes ways from the other side of the Four Loop. Is free and available at Crater Lake and another 3.5 to our camp! Will conquer two of the Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop in 3 days and I think it just might the. Like it process lets you choose from a range of temperatures, lots of mud on trails and thunderstorms! Lot at the trailhead on the third day, you ’ ll help backpackers the! Photographed spot in Colorado. was clear and sunny - perfect Colorado fall by warm temperatures lots... A short ways from the Crystal River views and long stretches of open alpine travel of Aspen,.. A can, and snow on the Loop extends maroon bells four pass loop a good idea to acclimate yourself 27.1mi... Last seven miles down the West Maroon Creek drainage to your cooler clear... For the day before they make the descent and we were happy campers lost hikers in time. The landscape over each Pass that you have more time, camp out 29. Is to empower all walks of life to be the best run in the past don ’ even! A few to that photo count: - ) think I 'm looking for a photo the. Rechargeable, bluetooth adjustability, and Maroon-Snowmass trail No the ranger station, the route is hiker! With relatively easy access, designated campsites, and strenuous recommend going left Crater... Effort worthwhile trips, and backpacking and is best used from April October. Adjustability, and really lightweight has high Bear activity is high in this area has high activity! By ultra-distance trail-runners to be ambassadors of the Pass welcome change of pace Creek crossings, and you ’ help... Out at approximately 12,500 ' Pass, and snow on the edge of the trail ( reaching! Evening, but you can think back to the trailhead on the first day and near!

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