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

hiking
2 days ago

Says Hard but I don't think its hard. Beautiful trial.

I am in Vail for a 9 week post-surgery checkup for my hip. I had a personal goal to do some hiking while in Vail. This trail was steep but had enough shade and flat surfaces that I was able to complete it! The hardest part, for me, is getting used to the elevation. Make sure to pack plenty of water and healthy snacks. I found a walking stick, which was very helpful. We took alot of breaks and completed the trail in and out in 5 1/2 hours. Great scenery and plenty of friendly, encouraging hikers along the way.

Bunch of knobs on the trail

Awsome !

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.

Amazing views along the way with lots of wildflowers. There are parts that are steep but manageable. There are plenty of places to rest on the way up that are shaded. Enjoy the gorgeous views of the falls at the top!

Pretty neat!

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

Stunning views! The trail is well marked and criss-crosses a creek a few times so my pups could cool off. Beautiful flowers line the trail. We hiked to the falls which has dramatic drops, so keep your dogs and kids close!

hiking
12 days ago

Fantastic trail and scenery, with a wide variety of plants and other wildlife. This is one of my favorite hikes in the area, however it is also one of the most trafficked.

This is a beautiful trail with a variety of views in July...wildflowers, aspen, rocky areas, and the falls...which are extremely low this year. I would rate it as easy to moderate. There are just a few rocky areas...but most of the trail is dirt. The elevation gain pushes this hike into the moderate range...but it’s spread out over two miles. If you leave early enough, you’ll be in the shade almost the entire time.

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.

hiking
17 days ago

Best hike ever

hiking
19 days ago

Nice challenging hike. Being a Midwesterner, the elevation and vert climb was tough in short stretches, but followed by easier sections to keep you from red lining. The falls were nice... but some of the views are blocked by vegetation. There is also a VERY nice public bathroom nearby the school (you’ll find it) in case you need to change or freshen up before heading into Vail Village.

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.

Beautiful and doable!

Beautiful hike. Wild flowers amazing right now. Kids had a great time climbing at the falls.

The views are outstanding. Wildflowers are everywhere. I started the hike before 8:00 a.m. and it was a good choice! As I was coming back down there were several groups hiking up. Pack bug spray if you plan to hike later in the morning/day.

My dad and I hiked this trail in one day (16 hours) from sun up to sun down. We are some novice hikers from IN, but eager for a physical challenge. After a first day of trial and error bringing a tent, and 2 large sleeping bags plus other necessities, we learned we’ll never see this whole trail with such luggage. Rested up the next day and took off at 5am on day #3 with one backpack that my dad carried, coming back to the car at 9:30pm. So worth it!! But quite dangerous if you’re not prepared to fill up on water every chance you get. Felt like I was hit by a truck after finishing, but couldn’t ask for better scenery and more of a challenge! God speed! #worthit

First backpacking trip in CO and it didn’t disappoint! Wildflowers, lakes, wildlife - this trail has it all! Next time I’d plan for 3-4 days for a less rushed pace to enjoy it more. Highly recommend!

Great hike! We followed this trail up, then continued on to Torrey’s. The summit to Gray’s definitely isn’t as steep as Torrey’s, but both offer great views and a fun hike. Defiantly bring lots of water. Conditions are all clear. It’s definitely not an easy hike but we did see families with younger children making their way.

hiking
25 days ago

This trail was really fun although it was super hard! Saw a lot of marmots and some mountain goats. Really beautiful lake and falls as well!

lovely walk, not too strenuous for kids.

easy but nice hike did it in about 2 1/2 hours with a torn meniscus so good hike for anyone

hiking
28 days ago

Beautiful views.

hiking
29 days ago

tons of bugs, 2 miles straight up, waterfall really low. i hike every weekend and found this on the difficult side, not enjoyable

The wildflowers were stunning, especially between West Maroon Pass and Frigid Air Pass. Beautiful views everywhere you look. It’s a popular trail, but not nearly as crowded as I was led to believe. There are plenty of great campsites.

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