Explore 4 day trip - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

4 day trip Map
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Use caution with the map above, this expansive wilderness area is more of a web of trails as opposed to a clearly defined loop. I'd recommend an Lost Creek Wilderness map, and also to start Brookside rather than Wigwam. The last day going clockwise was ridiculous. Other than it being a difficult hike, the scenery and wildlife were second to none for this being so close to the front range.

The BEST hike, I did it in July in 3 days and it was the hardest but most fulfilling thing I have ever done in my life.

Get a good water filter, tent, rain gear (a must), the usual. We had to have a beat canister when we went and it was SO heavy, and doesnt get much lighter throughout the trip due to "bring it in bring it out." Next time we will use those bear bag type deals, much lighter and you're still able to rent those.

Its amazing, I am not in the best shape but not in bad shape and it was hard but not discouraging by any means! Have fun!!!

Beautiful views wherever you go! Challenging backpacking!

I’m new to backpacking with this being my second trip ever. My son is an experienced hiker and he is the reason I got into doing these types of trips. We like the ease of hiking loops from a logistical standpoint so when we found this one, it was a no brained that we had to give it a go.

This trail was very difficult for me. I am not in the best physical shape but I am mentally strong which I believe is a good part of being able to successfully complete a hike like this one. There is thin air, cold, rain, hail and tough elevation changes. This can all beat you down if you can’t handle the mental aspect.

We completed the hike in 4 days in early August. Other than the rain on a couple days and the hail coming up over the passes, the weather was ok. I’m not sure there would have been a better time to hike this.

Would I do it again? Not sure. It took my knees a couple of weeks to recover from the beating they took going down the passes. The views were breathtaking and as is usually the case, pictures just don’t do it justice.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing trek, did a version of this last summer. You can read the full story here:
http://thousandtreks.com/2018/09/22/hiking-maroon-bells.html

Challenging trail over the passes, but the amazing scenery makes it well worth the effort!

Completed the loop in 3 days/2 nights Sep 4-6, hiking counter-clockwise. Camped at Snowmass Lake the 1st night (~9 miles) and just above the large waterfall in Fravert Basin the 2nd night (~7.5 miles). Total distance logged on my gps watch was 29.4 miles, so that left about 13 miles on the last day over Frigid Air & West Maroon Passes. A storm on day 2 forced us to hike over Trail Rider Pass in snow/sleet, which made the trail muddy and extremely slippery. A good set of hiking/trekking poles is highly recommended!

fantastic 2 night backpacking trip. lots of beautiful campsites along the way. amazing granite crumbling peaks. GORGEOUS

Absolutely amazing! My 1st solo hike - 26 pound pack to start. Went counter clockwise August 24-26 to make option to hike out 3rd day easier. Reflection of Snowmass lake in morning sun is breathtaking, do not miss! Found refreshing swimming hole and small falls about mile above big waterfall on 2nd day. Ended up hiking 14 miles 3rd day and exiting...love my new altra trail runners, no blisters and with lighter pack, was very doable and enjoyable. View after view will keep ya going. Would love to hike this again!!! Trail is well marked, met friendly trail runners and many helpful hikers and a resourceful ranger each day. Combine these with Alltrails app for navigation and a Spot devise for emergency rescue and you are good to go, safer than being in a city!

Amazing hike. Did it as a very long day hike, took ~9 hours. Didn’t see any other hikers except for on the out-and back to the Causeway. Saw a couple friendly bow hunter groups on horseback. Amazing weather, mid-Sept is a great time of year to explore this area as the aspens have started to turn. A bit tricky to follow the trail along the Chinese wall, you’ll lose it and find it again if you stay in the general direction.

Wow, literally breathtaking all the way around! The views were above all expectations. The trail says it’s 29 miles, however my gps tracked it at 31.2 miles. There is a major drought issue here in aspen so I kept about 3 liters of water at all times. Make sure to do the same if you find water take advantage! I didn’t see any bear however I did see tons of chipmunks, marmots, mule deer, mountain goat, and sheep. Such a brutal trail, however it was so worth it! No pain no gain! The entire loop took 4 days 3 nights and I did it counterclockwise. The first night I arrived late and only got about 2 miles in, then it was starting to get dark so you gotta set up camp just before sunset because the wind is a beast! Couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather. The highs were in the upper 80’s, lows around the upper 40’s low 50’s. I would absolutely do this hike again, maybe try doing it clockwise next time.

We did not hike the entire trail, but look forward to that in the future. We did a day hike to the log jam out and back which measured 15 miles on our GPS. The trail was beautiful and the valley is gorgeous. This would be the clockwise direction. The trail was pretty easy going most of the way. At the beginning you pass through some private property which is clearly marked, but there are cows present and occasionally on the trail. They were not a problem. Thoroughly enjoyed the hike and look forward to backpacking the entire loop next time. I did fish the creek and had a blast!

Spectacular! Counterclockwise, four days. I hike with a pup that’s hit or miss with other dogs and was so happy to see most dogs were on leash on the loop.

We hiked this to flattop mountain on a day hike. A little longer then we expected and then further got delayed by having a bull moose on the trail who would run at us when we tried to pass, ended up waiting 30 minutes for him to move on. Lots of wildlife 2 bull moose, elk, mule deer, beautiful views and lots of water. 22 miles total for us in 10 hours. Not to bad

Excellent views and a great workout! we did the loop in a 3 days. Be warned the weather is very unpredictable. we got caught on Trail Rider Pass in a freak thunderstorm. Great fishing if you bring a rod.

Done this past weekend. Absolute blast. Beautiful scenery and awesome trail.

Completed end of July/beginning of August. Definitely a strenuous hike but so worth it. The views are incredible. I would recommend going counterclockwise to avoid the crowds.

backpacking
2 months ago

Stunning, but tough. My wife and I (both 56, from Atlanta) and our 20-something kids from Denver did the loop over Labor Day weekend. Thankfully, we had the chance to acclimate ahead of time with some long hikes at altitude. We did the 28-mile Lost Creek Loop in three days and went counter-clockwise, which I would highly recommend. First day includes a big climb, with a payoff of spectacular views. We camped a little more than 10 miles in at McCurdy Park, which offers beautiful campsites in a meadow setting with good access to water. Day two starts out pretty easy and includes the really unique and beautiful Refrigerator Gulch. Coming up and out of the gulch though is a butt-kicker, with a 1,000 foot climb in just over a mile. We did another roughly 10 miles day-two and camped in a great spot in the woods along a stream, just before the intersection of the Wigwam Trail. Day three was an easy, and much faster, 8-mile walk to complete the loop. Milkshakes at the Sonic in Conifer, on the way back to Denver, capped a really wonderful long weekend!

Great loop. We hiked counter clockwise and it is definitely easier. I agree with others that the loop is 30 miles according to GPS. Refrigerator gulch is a good place to camp. We saw a moose and other wildlife along the way. Next time I will do it clockwise for the bragging rights, I feel like I cheated going CC.

Great backpacking trail - Started at Beaver Creek Trailhead, hiked counter-clockwise and added a detour to the Mirror Lake overlook which I highly recommend. Beautiful mountain views! Trail is hard to spot/ non-existent in spots (mostly above tree level) but there are markers along the way. GPS was very helpful for this. Plenty of water available from creeks and runoff streams. Went on Labor Day weekend and only ran into 3 other groups in three days. Amazing find!

backpacking
2 months ago

amazing view long hike and I hike it Counter clockwise is the best and easy way out

This hike was fantastic. Excellent views, plenty of campsites, lots of wild life including moose, mountain goat, mule deer, and marmot. Beware all the passes were guarded by ferocious Pika. Don’t bother bringing fishing poles, all the lakes have no fish. I NEVER SAW ANY BELLS WTF??? I highly recommend this hike.

backpacking
2 months ago

completed this loop 8/26/2018. Garmin watch said about 30 miles. We did it clockwise but almost think we would have been better off counter clockwise. If you go clockwise it's pretty flat for first about 7 or 8 miles. There is cool cave that the river flows through a mile or 2 past refrigerator gulch. good camping in refrigerator gulch. pretty good water sources throughout except up above 10500(there are still water but not ideal). We completed the loop in 2 nights. Out of staters from lower elevations should plan for 3 nights. makes it more fun and can do some exploring.

This is the best hike I’ve ever done. The most beautiful views. A great experience and would do it again tomorrow. Also the most brutal. Please watch your pack weight. Stay very light. Have hiking poles. Keep an eye on quick developing storms. Make sure you have the right equipment. Water filtration pump, 2 Liter bladder, and some Gatorade packets to get your electrolytes back up. If you are goin in July wear sun screen and try to be done hiking for the day by 1 pm if you’re not deciding to cover your skin because that Aspen sun will smoke you. Regardless of what other views may say this area is in a bad drought and you WILL run out of water between frigid air and trail rider.... take my word... or pay big. This is not one of those happy go lucky everything is easy fun and nothing to worry about. NO this is the real deal be ready to WORK and be ready to feel the peace . Get as far away from crater as possible camp high.... trust me the bears are there.... God speed....

Fantastic hike, beautiful tundras and landscape. I don’t think this would be as challenging if you did it in 3 days but I only had 2 securing a last minute spot at camp porcupine splitting my trip into 13 & 18miles. Completed this counter clockwise. With all side trips, water gathering, setting up camp, and putting away the bearvault logged about 31 miles on this loop.

Yes a permit is required here for overnight backcountry but if you just show up to the ranger office or call day before they said they reserve spots for walk-ins so dont let that deter you.

You can camp for free down the road in Arapaho National Forest which is about 15min away.

Amazing trail. One of my favorites I’ve ever done. Went clockwise, got up over Frigid Air on day 1, to Snowmass Lake day 2. Heavy storms that night at the lake. Finished the loop on day 3. Unfortunately it was super cloudy at the top with very low visibility of surrounding peaks. Will have to come back for that view someday. Finished it out on day 3.

AMAZING! Already planning the next time we do it. did it clockwise but will do it counter next time. Clockwise is the direction most people go. Beautiful views everywhere. Tons of water fill spots. some of the passes have very steep climbs but they are worth it! we did ti in 3 nights, 4 days

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