Four Pass Loop - Maroon Snowmass Wilderness Backpacking - Colorado- MUST KNOW

Four Pass Loop - Colorado

Location: Maroon - Snowmass Wilderness Area, Central Colorado

Nearest Town - Aspen

What is it? - It's a difficult loop trail near Aspen, Colorado and one of the most iconic backpacking destination in Colorado especially during Wildflower season. The whole trail passes thru " Four Passes" above 12,000 ft. thru alpine lakes and the popular Maroon Bells. 

Four Pass Loop Distance - 28 Mile Loop


Clockwise: West Maroon Pass - Frigid Air Pass- Trail Rider Pass - Buckskin Pass  (recommended if you want a gradual ascent with your heavy backpack and if you are doing more than 2 day trip)

Counterclockwise: Buckskin Pass - Trail Rider Pass - Frigid Air Pass - West Maroon Pass

Best Time to Go: Wildflower Season & Fall Leaf Season ( July - Early September)

Estimated Completion Time - 3-5 Days ( Most common 3 nights 4 days)

Elevation - 9,580 ft - 12,500 ft Elevation Gain - 7,750 ft

FOUR PASSES: West Maroon Pass, Frigid Air Pass, Trail Rider Pass, Buckskin Pass

Trailhead-West Maroon Pass(12,490 ft) 

Distance: 6.5 miles (one-way) to West Maroon Pass 

Elevation gain/loss: 2,920-ft.

West Maroon Pass (12,500-ft.) to Frigid Air (12,405-ft.)

Distance: 2.4 miles (one way)

Elevation gain/loss: +687-ft./-787-ft.

Frigid Air (12,405-ft.) to Trail Rider Pass (12,415-ft.)

Distance: 7.1 miles (one way)

Elevation gain/loss: +2,150-ft. / -2,130-ft.

Trail Rider Pass (12,415-ft.) to Snowmass Lake (10,980-ft.)

Distance: 2.2 miles (one way)

Elevation gain/loss: -1,440-ft.

Snowmass Lake (10,980-ft.) to Buckskin Pass (12,460-ft.)

Distance: 3.8 miles (one-way)

Elevation gain/loss: +1,692-ft./-210-ft.

Buckskin Pass to Trailhead

Distance: 4.6 miles (one-way) to Trailhead (9,580-ft.)

Elevation gain/loss: -2,882-ft.


Maroon Lake Trailhead - Most popular- requires a parking permit check it here 

Crested Butte Trailhead - Does not require permit but adds a couple miles to the trip. (East Fork trailhead near Schofield Park)


Maroon Lake, Crater Lake, Geneva Lake(adds 2 miles to the trip), Snowmass Lake

Colorado 14ers in the area: Maroon Peaks, Snowmass Mountain, Pyramid Peak

Trip Report: Originally planned on 3 Nights and Four Days but finished in 2 Nights- 3 Days due to mosquitoes and black flies.

Trip Report: 7/11-7/13 2021 2 Nights-3 Days
Route: Maroon Lake Trailhead- CW plus Geneva Lake
Total Miles: 30.6 Miles
Views: Super Awesome
Wildflowers: Heaven binge, like walking on flower carpet literally
Water Source: Abundant, we only carried 1-1.5 L each time and filtered every 4-5 miles or so.
Weather: Good - no rain
Trail: Some mud and 1 snow spot but no need of spikes
Mosquitoes/Bugs: Superrrrr! -Motivated us to do it faster than planned. Bring Bug Spray
DAY 1:
Maroon Lake TH- West Maroon Pass- Frigidaire Pass- Camp @ Fravert Basin - 12 mi
DAY 2:
Geneva Lake - Trailrider Pass- Snowmass Lake(Camped here) - 9.96 mi
Snowmass Lake - Parking Lot Maroon Lake- 8.5 mi
1. Bring bug spray & rain gear
2. No need to bring extra water for extra weight, there are abundant water sources along the trails so bring your filter.
3. Start early and keep an eye on the weather


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1 comment

You are a brave girl! God bless you in your endeavors.

Jan Grubbs

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