Shuttle service is $15.95 per person and parking all day is $30. Do you have to camp in the numbered campsites, or anywhere 100 ft from trail or water? P.s. Microspikes and an ice axe is highly recommended for insurance if you do fall on steep snow slopes. Not big on taking shuttle buses. No duplication of photos, maps, or text without permission. This pad is amazing for going fast and light. You can find more info here (https://aspenchamber.org/plan-trip/trip-highlights/maroon-bells/reservations). Sign up for Hiking Trails & Gear Updates! From there, the next two miles traverse along a ridge leading towards Frigid Air Pass. Definitely the pass with the most gradual climb. I’m a Mountain Laurel Designs Trailstar fanboy and Devin and I shared that since he packed the BearVault bear cannister, which we all crammed our food into each night. Very tough getting that far and in some cases had to rely on the gps in the snow covered areas and while picking our way through debris. Shuttle Bus Reservations are available and this will be your best option if you haven’t made a reservation early enough. The elevation kicked my butt , but it’s a trip I’ll never forget . Makes it easy to decide to take it. Caltopo makes it easy to quickly determine mileage, elevation change, get ideas on likely sources of water (toggle between the various maps and aerial images to facilitate this) and to get point weather forecasts. I also recommend pre-treating your hiking clothes and tent with permethrin spray repellent. Allow for slower travel than usual. In a state known for mountains, the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness stands out among Colorado’s mountainous locales. This pack is everything. Awesome pictures and write up… do you know when the maroon lake trail head will open this year? Beautiful hike, lots of water until frigid air pass and west maroon pass (no water in between these passes). Hi Amy – There are a few streams you must cross along the loop. Poetry. My wife and I did this for our first backpacking trip going clockwise. How early do you recommend beginning each hiking day in order to avoid storms later on? Hi. View looking west from the top of West Maroon Pass. The Bells rise proudly in the distance, the glistening lake sits in front of you, and golden aspens frame the whole scene. Reduces impact on knees by up to 60%. For Maroon Bells reservation questions, please call 970-930-6442 or email [email protected] Due to high call volume we recommend email for a prompt response. Bear canisters are required; arriving via shuttle bus is required during most hours. Hopefully that helps, have a great trip! Also, note that it is most important that you just pay attention to the weather and the sky as you hike. I prefer this route because you can hike a relatively easy 6 mile first day where you do not need to cross any mountain passes. below Maroon Lake. Four Pass Loop, Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness, Colorado. Thank you for info like this, Matt. Our next chance is the week of the August 12th. I hiked this loop with a few buddies over the 4th weekend. After climbing ~1,700 feet, you reach the top of the pass at the 4 mile mark. Dogs are welcome on the trails (and are allowed on the RFTA bus from the Aspen Highlands to the to the Marroon Bells… We went back the next day because we only had three days to try to finish the loop and our injuries definitely would’ve caused us to stay longer. Just as an example, we carried “lightweight” camp chairs. If you get caught in a storm and are soaked, you want your clothes to dry off so that you don’t get too cold. If you are visiting Colorado from a lower elevation state, it is recommended to spend a couple days acclimating to the elevation before starting your trek. Will plan on clockwise next time, backpacking to enjoy camping in the wilderness. Maroon bells scenic loop 1.9 Miles 160 Feet Elevation Gain Easy Relatively flat and accessible to wheelchairs in some areas, the broad trail that runs along the northern shore of Maroon Lake is popular for good reason. Plan to fill your hydration bladders before arriving or filter water from near Maroon Lake. We hiked counter-clockwise and did not regret our decision. You can find the update here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/581773065256376/permalink/1960353324065003/. And take a copy of "The Little Prince" because you never know who you might find along the path that has been putting off reading the penultimate chapter. Highly recommend! Shuttle service is $15.95 per person and parking all day is $30. Expect wet feet the entire loop. So much lighter than a can, and approved by rangers. 2) Stayed night before the loop adventure at The Inn at Aspen (decent hotel), which is right by Buttermilk parking lot, and the hotel provided a free shuttle to and from Aspen Highlands (where you catch the shuttle to Maroon Bells); 3) Got altitude prescriptions and took as prescribed (coming from 500 feet elevation to 9,000+ in 2 days to start the loop without more time to acclimate was a big concern for me); and. +120′ Dogs are prohibited because of Moose inhabiting this area. If you plan to hike further on your first day and will hike over a mountain pass, you should plan to begin hiking quite early in the morning. Lastly, there are some campfire regulations that prohibit fires near Crater Lake and any above 10,800 feet of elevation. Camped at snow mass lake and while beautiful was a bit crowded. Bonus: In the morning, you don’t even have to get out! I imagine the lot will be full on a Friday or Saturday evening. The site for night one could be #32, 33, or 34 on this map (https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd542652.pdf). When you are going up the last 0.2 miles of Frigid Air Pass or Trail Rider Pass, you really do not want that luxury item so much. Makes it easy to decide to take it. There are not a lot of places to shelter in the area so they recommend you take good waterproof gear and be ready for rain storms. But huge sense of accomplishment when finished. Jump to Day 1 hike – Maroon Lake Trailhead to West Maroon Pass Dries so quickly, stays warm, and breathes. Your email address will not be published. However, most of what I have seen/heard says that you should be prepared for anything from sunny and 60s to cold and snowing. Backpackers planning to visit in 2020, should keep an eye on the Forest Service website to see if permits need to be reserved. Hi Kevin – The temperatures should be nice in late July. We chilled for a bit on top before heading down to Snowmass Lake (yes, those are sandals on Devin – crazy man) and then headed on to Snowmass Lake. The Four Pass Loop can be hiked in either the clockwise or counter clockwise directions. have plenty of layers and a good sleeping bag, have at least trekking poles, and have good navigation skills/tools in case the trail gets obscured). ( Log Out / You drop some 2,000 feet over the next 3 miles. There are vault toilets at the trailhead, but there is not potable water access. Definitely a trip to remember, Colorado at its finest. Thank you. Dogs are welcome on the trails (and are allowed on the RFTA bus from the Aspen Highlands to the to the Marroon Bells), but they must be kept on a leash. 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. But, if you see dark clouds moving in, you want to get to lower elevation to protect yourself. Take the Maroon Snowmass Trail southeast towards Buckskin Pass. -Make sure your boots are worn in and your backpack fits well. 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. Wool is great because it doesn’t pick up funky stenches as fast at cotton or synthetic clothes and also because it dries out quickly if you get caught in the rain. Rocky Mountain National Park – Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (45 mile loop), Three Sisters Wilderness – Broken Top Loop (24 mile loop), Trinity Alps Wilderness – Four Lakes Loop (20 mile trek), Teton Crest Trail – Grand Teton National Park (48 mile loop). So total cost if you take 4 days for the backpack would be about $152? The loop starts at the Maroon-Snowmass trailhead in the Maroon-Snowmass Wilderness. Snow mass was my favorite, wake up early to watch the sun rise (pics are amazing). Backpacking the Four Pass Loop in the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness near Aspen is a hiker’s dream. What is the temperature range I should expect in the mountains? Day 4: Hiked Buckskin Pass. Beautiful campsite next to the river. Day 1: got the 9am shuttle, started hiking around 9:45am. This is my go-to. You just need to make sure you make it past Maroon Lake because camping is not allowed there. His microadventures include leading youth group trips, backpacking with his family, and doing more intense two or three day adventures with friends. Remember that scene from Lord of the Rings – Return of the King where Frodo and Sam are almost to Mount Doom? There are options for Shuttle Bus Reservations, 1 Day Parking Permit Passes and 2 Day Parking Permits Passes. Thank you so much for sharing with us a wonderful and informative article. In this report, we describe the clockwise route. Took about 4.5 hours including breaks arriving at the lake around 12pm. If you are worried about it, you can park at Buttermilk Resort for $6 a day and take the city bus to Highlands to catch the shuttle.