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

Plans Map
VIEW FULL MAP

Haven't done it yet but curious how far in the Hertlein campsite is?

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

Covered this on two separate days (7/4/18- parking lot on Rt 183 to just past Eagle Nest Lookout trail and 8/5/18 from Sand Spring trail (Tom Lowe), Shartlesville to Port Clinton). First stretch of trail (from 183) is mostly narrow, curvy with moderate rocks which make it nicely scenic and interesting, but gets a lot rockier past the shelter. The Eagles Nest Lookout was decent view but wouldn't bother with the 2-mile out and back trail again to get there. On 2nd hike had taken side trail past the shelter since AllTrails map shows a camera icon at the tip but not sure what was supposed to be there (thought maybe a lookout somewhere, but nothing could find). Remaining hike was up to Port Clinton but looped on a side trail near bottom of the hill to take the Leg Destroyer back up for return hike which was...um, yep, darn steep. Was middle of the day when I got to this point and got never ending spider webs to the face so be warned those two trails do not seem to get much traffic (Leg Destroyer and connecting side trail).

Bunch of knobs on the trail

backpacking
7 days ago

This being my first really backpacking trip, the views really only came at the end most of the trail was wet and uneven. A lot of yo and downs, the north end of the trail is where you want to be. Some amazing views at the north of the trail, but tons of water sources throughout a lot of little spots to rest, watch of for the 7 min. Itch also a lot of snails and toads i

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.

We did this loop as a day hike (very doable if you get going early, move at a good pace etc). It took us a little over 8 hours.....a quick lunch stop, a few photo stops and a stop to purify water. For the most part, the All Trails map was great and got us from start to finish. However, the trail gets sketchy in spots and the topo map would have been really helpful so I could have seen where we should be in relation to lakes, creeks etc (and saved us some time). Be prepared for the climb as you leave lake solitude and hike down into misty moon. Beautiful scenery!!

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

We hiked starting at 501 and camped at the reservoir. Rocks are everywhere on this trail, I thought I was going to break my ankle.

Great trail! I left Grand Lake Lodge @ 5:50am & made it to Big Meadow in a little over 1.5hrs...stopped several times on the way up. Spotted 2 big bull moose about 15min south of Paintbrush campsite & several mule dear on the way up the trail. Thought the trail was light and no traffic early in the morning. Back to the lodge in time for breakfast with the fam.

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!

For a rookie, it was easy to follow the trail with a map, very well marked. Some challenging uphill terrain, but plenty of opportunities to rest. Stopped at Tom Jones coming from Tuxedo train station.

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
19 days ago

Loved this trail. It’s definitely a “rough trail”. Would do it over again!!

backpacking
20 days ago

AMAZING!!

backpacking
23 days ago

Hiked this over 2 days in early July. We parked at the Chimney Top rd parking lot and stayed to the right on the fork for day one. We camped near Gray's Arch and hiked out the other side of the loop the next day. This hike was incredible! Lots of switchbacks on day one that were certainly rough, but it lead to a great variety of stunning overlooks and neat creek crossings in the bottoms. The arch was inspiring, and thankfully day 2 was a bit shorter and flatter. Definitely be prepared to climb lots of hills, scramble over a few rocks, and cross a few streams by hopping between rocks.

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.

Pretty good trail, not too difficult. Make sure to have good boots, the terrain is pretty rocky. Also watch out for rattlesnakes.

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!

1 month ago

Beautiful trail with lots of great vistas at the top. Completed the 30.5 in 44 hours, 2 nights, going north bound. The terrain changes up a lot, from flat, incline, decline, rocky, stream crossings and just about everything in between so it is a great trail to get a bit of everything. There are lots of camping sites on the first half from the southern terminous but on the second half we spotted a lot less and didn't see any in the last 6 miles but we were moving quickly because it was raining so we could have missed something. Also the second half is the most senic if you are going north bound. There was plenty a water along the way. We saw 8 people NoBo on the second day and a group of 3 guys and a dog head SoBo along the trail.
All in all this would be a great trail to take your time. I would have love to do this trail in 3 days instead of rushing through but we had a time limit.

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.

hiking
1 month ago

amazing hike, a bit longer than described, nearly 3miles of boulder hoping to reach summit. views from summit were unbeatable.

1 month ago

Great trail. Not too difficult until you get to the base on the mountain and then it gets a little more challenging. Bugs were terrible in July. Bring bugs spray and nets.

We only walked about 6 miles on the trail due to it getting late. Despite the trail not being heavily traveled it is very well marked and easy to see.

backpacking
1 month ago

Started the trip by parking at the Rock Bridge picnic area with a 3 day pass. Got a late start and ended up camping on the creek about a half mile south of the wildcat the first night. The trail is rough a majority of the time with white diamonds blazing the entirety of the trail. It’s very humid on this trail due to the rainforest like vegetation. There are a lot of wet crossings and rocky obstructions which makes it fun to navigate. If you are filtering water be sure to fill up when you can because access to the creek at times is sparse. . Have fun!!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful conditions in Cloud Peak wilderness on 6 July 2018.
Since I had the dog with me, we avoided all snow since we were postholing at 6am.
Allow ample time to allow route finding since the ridge is mostly unmarked (I might have missed some cairns by switchbacking round snow) and to get off the long, boulder ridge because storms roll in early.
Go get it!

Load More