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We did four days in Rocky Mountain this spring - two nights at the Andrew's Creek site and a night at Glacier Gorge. I thought both regions of the park were incredible, but Andrew's really blew me away.

So much water everywhere. Not only will you be well hydrated, but you'll be spoiled with some of the best tasting water I've ever had.

The last leg of the hike up to the glacier is a tough one, especially in early June. Signage is lacking and the footprints of previous hikers led me to a dangerous scramble up the gash. Unless you're hiking in late summer, I'd suggest you either really study up or take your time with a topographic map and compass.

I shouldn't complain though, because the final destination was breathtaking - endless wildflowers and little critters surrounded the tarn and made for a perfect lunch break.

Highly recommended.

First half is a challenging incline flowing in and out of Aspens groves. Once you hit the conifers you're close to the lake! Take breaks and bring plenty of water.

Went Aug 12-13th and stayed at campsite 17. Absolutely a beautiful trail from start to finish. Ran into 2 small groups of hikers on the trail which was amazing. Made you feel like you were the only people on the trail. Plenty of alone time. The hot springs itself was crowded at night...kind of annoying, but the people were nice....the morning however was very quiet and peaceful. We only stayed one night and I don’t think that was enough. I would have liked a full day of relaxing at the hot springs instead of feeling rushed to do the 9 mile hike back to the car. Campsite 17 is about a 20 min hike up to the springs FYI. I heard some negative reviews about the hot springs being dirty and It wasn’t at all. I think the new permit system has really helped cut down on the over crowding. Please be respectful of this beautiful gem! Pack in and pack out!

hiking
4 days ago

Beautiful scenery the entire walk and quite spectacular at the top. Considering the low mileage the solitude at the top was surprising.

Be ready. Prepare. Physically and upstairs. And it will be one of the most memorable camping experiences. Period.

My first solo trip. Weather was perfect and the trail lived up to all my expectations. CLockwise and glad I did!

Made this trip on 7/27 as the way down from Flattop Mountain and Hallett Peak. Was hard to pick a line to glissade down so spent the trip down the glacier slipping and sliding on foot and on my rear end. Took me about 7 hours round trip. Great trip but route down from the tarn was more rock climbing (descending) than hiking. Add this to your list and do it.

We used this as our exfil after traversing from Hallett Peak and glissading down Andrews Glacier. Makes about a 12 mile loop and it was amazing. Andrews Tarn is like an infinity pool.

This hike was stunning. It was a pretty quick one, it took us two hours to get to the top. The trail itself was easy and well maintained, the hard rating is due to the near constant elevation gain.

Bunch of knobs on the trail

We arrived to start the loop on Saturday morning at 5:30 am. Were greeted with overnight lot full sign. There were two parking spots in the overflow area just before the overnight lot. When we walked thru the overnight lot, there was one open spot. When we returned on Tuesday both of those parking areas were full. You might have to check out the other overflow parking area to find a parking spot.
We did the loop CW to West Maroon pass first. We did this because one hiker was not acclimated, and this direction is not as steep. The valley was crowded with hikers and runners up to the pass. The camp sites between West Maroon and Frigid Air are about 1/4 mile off the trail in the trees. There is a stream for water between the trail and campsites.
Thunderstorm started at 6 pm and rained and sleeted for a couple of hours. Intermittent rain thru the night. Only about 800 ft elevation change from camp to Frigid Air pass, a 100 yard section was steep and slick from the rain, so it was a relatively easy morning hike. 2100 ft elevation change downhill into the next valley.
We camped just after the intersection with the Geneva lake trail. Several nice camp sites in the area and water is close at the river.
Third day was a tough one. First 2170 ft elevation change up to Trail Rider pass. 1700 ft elevation change down into the Snowmass lake area. Then 800 ft elevation change up to our next campsite. The area was dry due to the summer conditions, so a lot of streams were dried up. There is water in Snowmass lake but we didn't need water at the time. We didn't really want to pull water out of the swamp, though the beaver dam was busted and it was flowing. At the campsites halfway up to Buckskin pass, there were two good streams for water.
Fourth day another roughly 800 ft elevation change to Buckskin pass, then close to 3000 ft downhill to the parking lot.
Outside of the main valley the trail was not crowded. Beautiful flowers, lakes and mountain scenery. Lots of animals, pikas, marmots, deer and a mountain goat guarding Buckskin pass.
Doing the trail in the CW direction was right of us, so the unacclimated hiker was able to make it. But it does make the last half of the hike the hard section. If you are a flatlander and live at low elevation like me, I do recommend spending a 3 or 4 days to acclimate before doing high altitude hiking.

This trail was amazing. I went two nights 8/6-7. I suggest going two nights. Spending a whole day just relaxing is worth it.

I went up solo. It took Me quite a while to make it up. Start early and take breaks as needed. It’s not a race. The altitude was pretty rough for me. The trail is pretty rocky so bring solid foot wear. Also many parts of the trail are through thick brush. Long sleeves will save some scratches. On the way back down by the ponds past the creek ford I encountered moose. But I came up on the with no coverage or protection. The bull was chill enough that I could back off slowly and not spook it, but easily could have been bad. Be mindful out there.

The people up there were all great. Just a group of strangers all there to relax and enjoy the hot springs. Everyone was there for a great time. Don’t be uptight cause there will be drinking, probably nudity and a few were smoking pot.

I would suggest bringing foot wear you can wear in the spring. It’s great but the bottom and edges are super rocky. It’s very painful getting in and out. Sunscreen and bug spray cause flys and mosquitoes were all over me. Also don’t skimp on cold weather stuff. The days were very nice, but even early August as soon as the sun sets behind the mountains it got VERY cold.

on Cathedral Lake Trail

hiking
10 days ago

The hardest part is the last stretch before you top out to reach the lake, so be prepared for that. The switchbacks are very steep and in the sun. There were a LOT of gnats around the lake but the views were beautiful.

We started at 8am and the trail was pretty unpopulated. We ran into a LOT of people making their way up as we came down, including people blasting music from their phones (please do not blast music on trails).

Pretty neat!

Did this on the way back from Sky Pond on the morning of August 2. In contrast to that trail, we had the trip to Andrews completely to ourselves. This is by no means an easy hike -- the trail is poorly marked and eventually peters out, there's a ton of boulder scrambling, and the final approach to the base of the glacier is very steep -- but the adventure, the views, and the solitude were all outstanding. Would definitely recommend for serious hikers interested in a worthy challenge.

Absolutely beautiful hike! Flowers/colors are amazing! We hiked in on 8/3 for 1 night.
Took us about 5 hours to get to the first camp site #19 and at least 30 minutes more to get to site #4 (our site). The hike from #19 to #4 may have been the most difficult part of the hike. We saw 3 moose, a few deer and a far off bear sunning itself in a rock near silver dollar lake! Rangers stopped us on our way and asked to see our permit, ID and bear canister. The springs were spectacular and surprisingly uncrowded. Took us 3.5 hours to hike out.

backpacking
12 days ago

Many of the views are very beautiful. However, with all of the pine beetle kill, there are hundreds of downed trees that cover portions of the trail, particularly between the trails near the Cataract lakes in the north down to Boulder Lake. There is evidence that the Forest Service has tried to clear the trails by chainsawing out the dead pines that have fallen onto the trail(s), but they can't keep up with the blowdown.

There is plenty of water, and you never walk more than 2 or 3 miles between decent water sources.

Doing this loop at the end of the week and was wondering if bear canisters were required.

Did it CCW......Was a very hard brutal and at times scary climb to a couple of the passes. Fridge Air was steep as hell and very loose rock for this 67 year old man we had great weather not sure I could do it in rough weather wind and rain you know...would slide right off. 4 days 3 night .....but loved it and may do it again CW

Did this hike a few years ago. Totally worth it!

Challenging, but totally worth it. It was a steady uphill with some switchbacks to start, followed by some serious rock navigation. The toughest part was the switchbacks up the mountainside around mile 2. Poles would be handy. the lake was gorgeous and peaceful.

I am looking for someone who has actually hiked both the hot springs and conundrum/castle peaks. Looking to do this hike this weekend and would like information on trail conditions, snow on trail, recent weather, any tips, trail finding difficulty, etc. If anyone could comment back on here, I'd be super grateful! Can't find much information online.

Wonderful hike but it was tough for us two 50-something flatlanders with only one day acclimating. Loved lake.

Hard but really rewarding with beautiful vast views and the lake at as a nice reward at the end. Difficult and moderate parts with beautiful waterfalls and wildflowers. Looking forward to doing it again. A fun hike with friends.

great hike, spectacular views. however, do not underestimate the difficulty. honestly, I would recommend helmets and gloves as the odds a lot of bouldering, many not stable. absolutely no trail guidance.

This was my first solo backpacking trip. I completed the loop counterclockwise, and I did it in three days. It was challenging but so beautiful. This trail includes wildflowers, lakes, and everything in between. If you are new to backpacking, I would recommend only doing part of the loop versus the whole thing. You can still see some beautiful scenery!

Amazing trail. Challenging with gorgeous scenery. Be sure to arrive at your campsite early enough to grab a good spot. Some spots like The Basin and Snowmass Lake filled up quickly.

So beautiful!

Read this to learn everything you need to know about this loop.

FYI:
This trail is also known as the "Four Pass Loop".
No pictures do it justice.
I've uploaded images of the the map that I bought for this loop in the photos section of this trail.

I backpacked this trail back I'm July of 2017. This is widely accepted as a 3 day 2 night loop, but I did it in 2 days and 1 night. I am not an ultra marathon runner or anything either, and I come from a low elevation state. I'm just in the best shape I can be in. This was my first multi-night backpacking trip ever, and I could not have asked for a more epic and beautiful experience!!!

This trail consists of:

》《4 challenging, yet beautiful mountain passes.
(hence the alternative name "Four Pass Loop")
》《2 waterfalls.
》《A marsh.
》《360° views.
》《lush forests.
》《deep valleys.
》《ice crossings.
》《wildlife sighting opportunities.
》《beautiful lakes.
》《winding rivers.
....It pretty much has everything. No joke.

What to know:

1. You need trekking poles, and you need to be comfy with using them IF you've not done an ice crossing before. There is a crossing that people in the years prior to us have had to do, that we had to do, and it is shortly after Trail Rider Pass/while you're heading to Snowmass Lake.

2. If you're coming from the midwest or lowland areas (Indiana, Ohio, etc.) you need to spend as much time as possible day hiking other small trails around the area. anything 12k feet and up to acclimate yourself. The altitude change made me nauseas when I did day hikes before the actual FPL, so I'm glad I got that out of the way and got a feel for it.

3. Know how to setup your gear quickly and correctly! If you haven't been in the mountains before (specifically the west) you need to be aware that in the summer, it is considered "monsoon season" and there are ALWAYS storms after noon. These storms can be light rains or they can be heavy downpours with hail and lightening. Knowing your gear will keep you happy and dry in the tent during the nonsense! :)

3. Don't cross mountain passes during storms. Learn how to read clouds for storms (as best you humanly can).

4. Visit the Ute Mountaineer local outfitter in Aspen for a GOOD map ("Sky Terrain Trail Map" of Crested Butte Maroon Bells) to get an accurate map that includes the loop. Nobody else has an actual map of the loop!!!

5. You're not supposed to... but you can drive up to Snowmass Wilderness and get a campsite to sleep near the elevation of the loop instead of paying for an expensive hotel or motel. The campsites are GORGEOUS.

6. There is water everywhere this time of year on the trail. It's a mountain loop, so.... lol

7. Visit Aspen post hike. There is good food and lots of culture there.



10/10 loop/hike. Can't recommend it enough. Subscribe to my YouTube channel "Uriah Graves" to see a quick video of all this for more info in the next few days.

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