The loop circumnavigates the iconic Maroon Bells peaks and crosses four passes: West Maroon (12,500 ft.), Frigid Air (12,415 ft.), Trail Rider (12,420 ft.), Buckskin (12,500 ft.). Several campsites near the lake are prime real estate for base camps below Snowmass Mountain or overnight respites before the 1,400-foot climb back to Buckskin Pass. The soil can be slick if it is wet. Buckskin Pass 12.6 Miles 3,378 Feet Elevation Gain Strenuous Shortly before Crater Lake, the Maroon-Snowmass Trail forks. Miles one way: 6.2. A left leads to Crater Lake (just a short distance beyond) and a right climbs steeply through forest and over alpine tundra to Buckskin Pass at 12,462 feet. 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. Running the 4 Pass Loop [Maroon Bells] Published by Heidi Kumm on July 24, 2014 July 24, 2014 This past weekend I wandered west on a bit of an adventure…to Aspen and the Maroon Bells with plans to run the 4 Pass Loop with Ann , Holly, Paula and Logan . Four Pass Loop - West Maroon to Buckskin ALERT: Bear canisters are required for all backpackers in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Definitely get an early start on it to get out ahead of the Maroon Bells crowd (and snag a good parking spot). It's one of nine passes over 12,000' in the wilderness, and arguably easiest to reach. This area is renowned for wildflower displays in the month of July. Enjoy the views of the north face of Maroon Bells on the right, and of purple hued Pyramid Peak straight ahead. Trail Map | Photo Gallery. Maroon Bells 4 pass circuit with summits ; Day 1 - Friday October 15, 2010 ... Beautiful evening on the Pyramids from Buckskin Pass After the sun set we started descending as we had to get to Snowmass Lake for camp. It’s typically a three- to four-day backpacking trip done clockwise, but can be done in the opposite direction. We recommend going left at the fork in the trail (before reaching Crater Lake) and head up towards West Maroon Pass. Backcountry camping in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness is free, but expect to pay a per-car fee or per-passenger shuttle fare to access the trailhead at Maroon Lake. The trailheads can be accessed by either Maroon Lake near Aspen or off Divide Road near Snowmass Village, CO. This trail starts at the immensely crowded Maroon Lake Scenic Trail and follows the only slightly less busy Crater Lake Trail to the foot of the iconic Maroon Bells. Buckskin Pass - 9.2 Miles Round-Trip Buckskin Pass (12,462') is located 4.6 miles from Maroon Lake in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Buckskin Pass came highly recommended from a friend, and the hike did not disappoint. There was a little snow up top in early Oct of this year, but there were enough footprints to make out the trail. This is a 17 mile dirt trail in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness that travels over Buckskin Pass and is used as a connection on the Four Pass Loop. The hike to Crested Butte is about 12 miles. Just as the moon rose, I was able to get some very nice alpenglow photos. The hike up the back of Buckskin Pass is a welcome change of pace. Your legs will be happy when you reach the final pass of your trek. Elevation: 10,000 ft. - 12,500 ft. (MODERATE - LONG) Buckskin Pass - After about 1/2 mile above the tree line is the Maroon-Snowmass and Willow Lake junction. The Maroon Snowmass Trail drops from Snowmass Lake into a boggy area before ascending to 12,462 ft. Buckskin Pass. The famous Four Pass Loop backpacking route within Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness is an international treasure. 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