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This was a beautiful hike all around!Not too technical, just steep climbs and rock scrambles towards the summit. Started the hike at JBL and almost reached the summit but had to turn around 200 yd from the top due to impassable sheets of ice. We took Phelps trail down to descend, and I found a red mossy rock near a waterfall to where I proposed to my fiance. (she said yes!) The only reason I took one star away was because Phelps trail needs better blazes in the areas that need it most and less in the more obvious spots. Highly recommended hike!!

I hiked this trail CCW from 11-13 Sept 2018.

Flew into DEN and rented a car - beautiful drive, but budget 4 hours as an absolute minimum. Overnight parking is very limited at the TH, so unless you get there very early in the morning, you'll likely have to take a shuttle from town and pay for parking.

I left the TH at 1.28p on the 11th, and camped near mile 6.2 on this map. Plenty of h20 heading toward buckskin, but it got a little thin on the way down until you reach the meadows. Excellent view on buckskin, but it was quite windy, so I didnt hang out long.

After trail rider pass there is a little water at a pond, nothing else until ~ mile 11.7.

Beautiful waterfall near mile 13.5.

Camped near mile 15. Sites near water are nearly impossible to find. I just took what I could get & camped on a slight angle, then hiked several hundred yards to water.

Frigid Air pass was so beautiful in the early morning light. Hiked 3.5 hours without seeing another person.

Everywhere I read said no water between FA and Maroon passes - thats not true. I passed several great streams to get water. Beautiful basin.

Maroon pass took me about 6 minutes to climb. Literally. All of these passes with exception of Buckskin LOOK a lot taller than they actually are.

Lots of great campsites between MP and the TH. Water between MP and ~mile 21 is sparse.

One of my favorite trails. Have fun! :D

backpacking
15 days ago

Got caught in a blizzard near Hermosa peak and hiked an additional 12 miles, but the views were amazing. Got to see the transition from fall into winter. Amazing!

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.

Go figure .... flight from Denver is delayed by almost 2 hours to go home! Damn the luck
Happy birthday to me

Made this route into a 3 day backpacking trip. I myself am not in peak physical condition, but breaking it up made it doable. Beautiful sights, astonishing really. The trail itself is a little rough, especially with a pack on. Majority of the trail was river/ creek bed with decent boulders. Deffinatly being a good pair of hiking boots and a camera.

Got to Keene Valley off the bus around 5:30 on the first day and hiked up to dear brook lean-to and slept there. Hiked up Marcy on day 2 (made it to the summit around 3:30), then hiked back down to slant Rock lean-to for the night (did this loop "backwards" according to this map). Headed out the next morning. Great solo backpacking trip! The last few miles were really hard with my 30 lb pack but it was worth it!

Fantastic 3-day trip in the Winds! Rather than taking the little jaunt north to Cook Lakes as seen in the AllTrails map, I highly recommend summitting Mount Lester. We camped at Little Seneca Lake on night 1 after hiking from the popular Elkhart TH. Day two we hiked just past Pole Creek Lakes on this loop, and we climbed Mount Lester (12,324 ft) as we came across Lester Pass on the Highline Trail. A fun moderate climb to the top, ascending from the Southwest. A few scrambles, but nothing crazy. Then we hiked back out from Pole Creek Lakes on day three. Beware a couple stream crossing that required wading (never more than knee deep), and the area is quite buggy, so bring spray. Encountered one black bear at camp while sleeping, but no issues other than rolling our bear canister around a bit before moving on. The second half of this loop was pretty lightly trafficked, while Elkhart is quite busy. All in all, a fantastic three day backpacking trip.

This is a difficult but extremely rewarding hike with some of the most amazing scenery and terrains I have experienced. My brother and I did it clockwise in 2.5 days. Big 13 mile day to Fravert Basin to start. Day 2 hike up to trail rider pass was brutal and the most difficult part of the entire loop by far. We camped at Snowmass Lake second night before hitting Buckskin pass and finishing. Next time I will go counterclockwise just to try it but from all I've read and talked with people there is no easy way around the loop. If you are doing a 3 day hike, no matter which way you go around you will likely need to do one long 12+ mile day hitting West Maroon Pass and Frigid Air Pass, and two shorter days. The most amazing thing we saw was the trail runners who do this loop in one day.....perhaps the most impressive feat of fitness I have ever seen.

Have done this loop on previous trips with friends as a 3 day backpacking trip. During the last one I ran into two 60 year old women doing this as a single day hike. I was stunned, but it got me thinking, so I came back on August 9, 2018 and did the loop as a one day hike by myself. I did it clockwise with a light pack of about 10 pounds. It was a little warm and just a few sprinkles at sunset, but otherwise the weather and the trail were perfect. It did take me all day and I was pretty tired at the end, but felt good enough to drive the hour back to Glenwood Springs. I am in awe of the people who can run this loop. I will be 70 on my next birthday.

Beautiful and worth the trek. Avid hikers, but 20lb+ of backpack adds a whole new element to it. Arrived at 730p Friday and Hiked 2 miles in the dark. The next day we hiked 16 miles (ended just before Frigid Pass). Last day we finished the remaining. Plowed through it based on time we had. Would have loved a leisurely 4 day backpack, but if can be done in 2 days. DEFINITELY recommend doing it counter clockwise. My guess is everyone wants to ease into it w a gradual climb on day 1, but it’s worth doing Buckskin pass 1st!Pays off later. Low 40s/high 30s at night. No bugs. Had a 1/2 day of relentless rain. Hand warmers were key! Hammock camped both nights, and even with some rain I was a happy camper! Was not overwhelmed by the amount of people on the trail. Surprised there wasn’t more actually. Very rewarding!! But bed feels good now.

I did this as a all day hike, great experience but very strenuous and I loved it!!! Great Trail along the river, very muddy, I did the hike and came back to parking lot via the south trail and cut across the river. 13-14hr hike and my recording said 18 miles I believe, I started at 4am and summited Marcy around 11-11:30pm. Great Views. No water on trail but I did see signs for bathrooms.

backpacking
2 months 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.

backpacking
2 months ago

I love this hike and have done it multiple times now as a three day trip: hike into JBL and sleep over, Marcy loop the next day, and hike out from JBL the third day and it’s a perfect trip in my opinion. Love Mt. Marcy and JBL!

definitely go counter clockwise.
took me and my friend 3 days 3 nights.
6 miles the first day, 7 miles the next and 12 miles & the last two passes the last day back to over flow parking lot.

Amazing trip. Went clockwise. Planned for 4 days, but did it in 3, mainly because we didn't want to stop in the valley between Frigid Air and Trailrider because there were so many flies and mosquitoes, so we pushed on and made that a 13 hour day. I think from the 4-day people we met, we were probably in a better place mentally than they were, so I was thankful to be out in 3. Just loved it tho. Can't think of a much better way to spend 3 days.

Amazing wildflowers and mountain views! Fantastic trip that was well worth the climbs to the top of each pass. Those are no joke for a flatlander like myself coming straight from Missouri!!

Did the trip in 3 short days and 2 nights. If you’re fit and willing 1 night is possible with an early start.

Plenty of water so never carried more then 1.5L between stops.

No sign of bears or much wildlife other then the marmots, birds, and ground squirrels. Saw a couple of deer run by camp one night but nothing else.

Trail is very easy to follow except around popular camping areas like Snowmass lake. Lots of side trails and crisscrossing so it took a bit to get back on the main loop. Not dangerous, just a little frustrating even with a GPS and topo map.

We stayed near Snowmass Lake at the group/campfire sites the first night going counter clockwise. Sites at the lake would have been better and avoided a long descent and climb back up to the main trail.

Second night was on the approach to Frigid Air pass just above the waterfall. Camping between Frigid Air and West Maroon pass would be possible but not ideal unless you really want to split the miles more evenly.

Bear canisters are required and they checked when we got there so be prepared.

The weather was mostly typical for Colorado summers. Cool nights, warm if the suns out and afternoon thunderstorms. We did have hail the first evening for about 20-30 minutes straight. Completely covered the ground!

A must do hike all in all!

We hiked in from the Garden using the North Side Trail to Grace Camp on the first day and slept in the cabin near Johns Brook Lodge. The next morning we hiked the Phelps trail to the summit of Marcy for my sister's 60th birthday and then descended via the Hopkins trail back to Grace Camp where we got some well-deserved rest before hiking out on the disappearing South Side trail back to the Garden. Beautiful hike/camp experience. First 46er for me as well. My boots completely disintegrated (25-year old Vasques with dried out glue), so I hiked out in Chaco sandals, adding to the adventure. (Hike date was 9/12/2012)

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing views will deff be back!!

An extraordinary, beautiful, world-class hike with every feature. Recommend 2 nights, 3 days to enjoy fully.

This is a jaw-droppingly beautiful route, couldn't stop smiling. Definitely make the trek out to Island Lakes! Deep in this 23-mile tour de force of breathtaking views, it's a gem among jewels.

Did this trail starting from Skinny fish trailhead walked the lost lakes and crossed the causeway finishing at Trappers Lake. Beautiful walk, took us two and a half days to complete, bug spray is a must! The trails are very easy to navigate if your experienced, we bought a map from Wyatt’s sporting goods that I just stuck in my back pocket. There are moose wandering around, we saw an adolescent bedding down for a storm early in our journey. So do be wary. Overall I loved this hike.

Beautiful hike up to wall lake

One of my favorite places I’ve ever hiked. It’s difficult, but worth the views.

backpacking
5 months ago

An excellent destination for those seeking solitude. We found few traces of human visitors in the basin and experienced fantastic fishing.

10/10. Loved every step of this trail. I suggest counter clockwise. The climb up trail raider from clockwise direction looked miserable. Glad I was going down!

I love this trail. Amazing views for the entire trip. Tons of water crossings in the spring. None of them are too crazy. Was out for 3 days and I saw 1 other person. Great solitude and amazing scenery. And the fishing is good.

Second time on this loop in September with friends. Campsites were crowded around Snowmass Lake. Pics from the trip: https://www.flickr.com/photos/geoffreydgraham/albums/72157688773204146

First backpacking trip this past September and fell in love! Elevation was no joke but a little bit of training beforehand and you’ll be alright. Views are amazing!

My girlfriend and I completed this trail in 4 days in early July, 2017. It was her first backpacking experience. Much of the trail was still covered with snow pack, we used crampons on a couple traverses and used ice axes to glissade down from two of the passes. We were hoping to summit Snowmass Mountain, but decided it was too much for a first time backpacker. The only bugs we encountered were immediately surrounding Snowmass lake. We saw no traces of bear. There were not many people on the trail when we were there, probably due to the amount of snow pack. Water was abundant and we never carried more than 2 quarts each. A few of the creeks were tough to cross without getting our feet wet, so I would recommend bringing sandals for the trip. The trip could easily be done in 3 full days, but add a fourth if you make a Snowmass Mountain summit attempt.

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