Buckskin Pass Trail to Snowmass Lake

HARD 27 reviews
#56 of 231 trails in

Buckskin Pass Trail to Snowmass Lake is a 15.5 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Aspen, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 15.5 miles Elevation Gain: 5,141 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from Aspen: From mid-June through September the Maroon Creek Road is closed from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., you will need to take a shuttle.If you get an early start, drive 1/2 mile west of Aspen on Highway 82 and turn left at onto Maroon Creek Road at the roundabout. Bear right and continue 9-1/2 miles to the Maroon Lake parking area.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
5 months ago

Rigorous trail for sea level dwellers such as myself. We went to Buckskin pass and returned. Trail still has snow but is passable. Snow is well packed. The largest creek fording happens before the trail junction with the willow creek trail. The trail ends at the creek and there’s no sign of the trail continuing on the other side of the creek because the snow covers up the continued trail. Fear not, the trail does continue. Your options are to cross the stream where the trail ends, over liquid water, or walk further upstream where the snow pack covers the water and cross over snow, then walk back downstream to find the trail behind a strip of forest, snow, and debris. Buckskin pass itself is covered in snow and impassable. No big deal, though, a side trail takes you around to the other side of the pass, a detour of about 100 m. Just watch out for the goats there. They don’t seem to be very afraid of humans, but we’re told they have acted erratically in the past.

hiking
muddy
off trail
snow
7 months ago

past crater it's a little snowy. spikes wouldn't hurt. avalanche covers alot of the trail. just pay attention and you'll be fine.

Mon Aug 20 2018

Awesome trip

backpacking
Mon Jul 16 2018

Wildflower heaven!! It was hard but worth every step.

hiking
Sun Jul 01 2018

This is one of my favorite hikes I have ever done. We just went from the Maroon Lake Trailhead to Crater Lake and then up to the top of Buckskin Pass and back. Did not cross the pass and go on to the lake. Started at 6am and had the trail mostly to ourselves. It was steep at times and after about 11,000 feet you lose all tree coverage so it can get hot. The people coming up mid day looked a lot more miserable than we did. I would recommend leaving around sunrise. We also ran out of water by the top (went with 5L for two people). Luckily there were mountain streams everywhere. I used a SteriPen to refill all of our water bladders and we were fine and didn’t get sick. These were some of the best views I’ve seen in the lower 48. My phone clocked it as 14 miles round trip just from Maroon Lake Trailhead to the top of Buckskin Pass. It’s a hard trek but totally worth the views!

hiking
Tue Sep 05 2017

Such a great hike. High altitude elevation gain, alpine lake, alpine drainage. It just goes on and on. We did it as a thru hike which required a car shuttle, one car at the Maroon Snowmass trailhead the night before and then an early drive up to Maroon Lake to beat the bus. We had wildflowers and autumn colors. It's a big day but so spectacular.

Fri Jul 28 2017

That was baller

Fri Jul 14 2017

This trail was very difficult and had spots that were quite steep. However, it was totally worth it for all the beautiful views! We even got up close and personal with some mountain sheep on the top of the pass. We did it just this past weekend and there was still snow covering some of the trail up near the pass.

hiking
Sat Aug 27 2016

Great

Thu Oct 22 2015

Stunning views!

hiking
Wed Mar 11 2015

Camped and hiked for three days until I got snowed out.

hiking
Mon Nov 24 2014

Awesome trip! Hiked the entire four pass loop (26 miles). Not for the faint of heart, but worth the trip.

hiking
Fri Sep 27 2013

Completed this as an out and back day hike from Maroon Lake. The scenery is outstanding and the trail is easy to follow, although strenuous at points. The hike from the split to Crater Lake up through Minnehaha Gulch definitely gets the blood pumping, however once you get through the gulch you hike through a splendid meadow at the base of North Maroon Bell and Sleeping Sexton. The view of Pyramid Peak from here is spectacular! The hike forward is mostly through willows, you'll pass a few cascades before starting up the switchbacks. This stretch is definitely the hardest part, but if you persevere the view from Buckskin Pass is definitely rewarding. You get a wide open view of Snowmass Mountain, Hagerman Peak, and Capitol Peak. I can't wait to come back and tackle the Four Pass Loop!

hiking
Sat Aug 17 2013

Fantastic trail with varied terrain, plenty of wild flowers and animals. The best part is by far the views which are spectacular on both sides. This is not tough coming over Bucks Pass from other trails, but strenuous if you're doing it up and down as a day hike. But worth it! Bring iodine tablets so you can take advantage of the creeks - you'll need plenty of water.

hiking
Thu Dec 15 2011

My wife and I did this as part of the Four Pass Loop ( why that's not listed here I don't know) Be careful, this trail is steep and strenuous crossing the pass, especially with the foot of snow that fell overnight that we were not expecting ( but knew it was coming soon being the first of October in the Rockies!) When we got to the top of Buckskin Pass the snow drifts were waist deep on me (I'm 6'2"). Beware the mountain weather! But this trail goes to the gorgeous Snowmass Lake, which is a must see for anyone! I would definitely do it again!

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
Fri Aug 24 2018

hiking
Mon Aug 13 2018

hiking
Thu Jul 06 2017

Fri Nov 04 2016

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