Four Pass Loop

HARD 73 reviews

Four Pass Loop is a 26 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Aspen, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
26.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
7709 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

lake

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

Absolutely amazing multi-day trail. Counterclockwise direction is recommended but not required. This hike is not for the novice. Very punishing, but infinitely more rewarding.

backpacking
1 month ago

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.

backpacking
1 month ago

Most epic backpacking trip I have ever done. Simply outstanding!

backpacking
1 month ago

Best hike of my life so far! Stunning. Very difficult. Very worth It!
We did it in 4 days and 3 nights.
We took too much food. There were plenty of spots to fill up water so I started carrying no more than 1.5 to 2 liters of water any given time.

2 months ago

Loved this hike. I'm coming back with more friends.

hiking
2 months ago

2 months ago

backpacking
2 months ago

Did the Four Pass Loop counter-clockwise over four days as a birthday present to myself. Pretty stunning way to celebrate 25 years. Hiked in 1.5 miles to Crater Lake the first night to get a jumpstart on the next day. Plenty of water along the trail (I carried 2L) - no bugs - gets cold at night so bring a 15º bag and pad with good r value. Favorite campsites were a grassy knoll below King Falls in Fravert Basin and the beaver pond 1 mile past Snowmass Lake. SM Lake is beautiful, and also very crowded (but that can provide some humor - I woke up to someone's dog pooping in my campsite). The Elks are teetering on the brink of winter - it snowed lightly every night, adding dramatic striations to the peaks. Even though it was the weekend I didn't find the trail to be overcrowded and was vaguely inspired to try running it sometime in the distant future.

backpacking
2 months ago

2 months ago

The counter-clockwise trip on the 4 Pass Loop is fantastic. We did it in 3 days camping at Snowmass Lake the first night, and Crystal Falls the second night. 8 miles on the first and second days left about 12 miles and two passes on the final day. That sounds like a lot, and it is. But the final two passes aren't nearly as difficult on the third day leaving from Crystal Falls for a couple of reasons. First, you are lighter. After eating two days of food and figuring out that we don't need to start each day with a ton of water (there is plenty of water on this hike), we were much lighter. Also, Crystal Falls is at roughly 11,000' so the climb up Frigid Air Pass was only 1,500 feet or so. And in between Frigid Air and West Maroon Pass you only descend to 11,500ish feet so again, West Maroon Pass is not that bad of a 1,500 foot climb. The long gradual descent back down to Crater Lake makes the final 5 miles go by quickly. This was one of my all-time favorite hikes. There are stunning scenes at every glance. And if you go mid-week, the trails are relatively empty.

hiking
2 months ago

backpacking
2 months ago

3 months ago

Absolutely incredible. Did it as a 3 day/2 night loop. Came from sea level (Boston), acclimated for 4 days in Denver and doing day hikes at 8-12k in Boulder and RMNP and the elevation on this hike DESTROYED me. I am in pretty excellent physical shape, but this hike was absolutely brutal. Didn't suffer from elevation sickness per se (no headaches or nausea or vomiting), but the ascents up the to the passes are so steep, I was sucking wind the entire time. If I had to do it again or did it with less masochistic people, I would take 4 days/3 nights and do 1 pass a day. Also for the photographers, i think the lighting is generally better if you do the hike in a CCW loop - beginning with the buckskin pass.

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

This trail is one for your bucket list. There is so much stunning beauty in the scenery, I should have taken 7 or 8 days to enjoy it instead of 4. I was on the trail late one day (6:15pm) and saw the biggest black bear I've ever seen outside of a zoo. Fortunately, it was more afraid of me than I of him, and he bolted before I could get a pic.

hiking
3 months ago

backpacking
3 months ago

backpacking
3 months ago

Stunning,
We hiked this 8/19-21st CW as a 3 day/2 night loop.

Difficulty: on the Moderate side of Hard
Day 1 - Aspen to Fravert Basin: 12 miles, 4K vert. This was the longest of our days but was such an incredible day. We started hiking around 06:45 (upper lot was 3/4 full at that time) and got to camp by 14:00.
Water: Plenty of places to filter water before W Maroon Pass, there are a couple of streams between WM and Frigid Air Pass.
Camping: Don't take the first few camp spots in Favert, hike .5 mile further and there are killer spots near the falls! Temps were mid 30's at night brr.
Day 2- Fravert to SM lake: 8 miles, 2400' vert. Trail rider pass is steep AF, what are switchbacks again? There is a false summit before popping over TR pass so keep that in mind. BUT holy crap, snowmass lake is stunning from the top!
Water: There is plenty of water along this pass so don't freak out.
Camping: cross the river and there are secluded spots by the falls (site 24). Temps were low 40's and felt comfy.
Day 3 - SM Lake to Trailhead: 9 miles 1800' vert. Ahhh switchbacks, this was one of the most mellow climbs of the loop and our favorite. We got a chance to see the solar eclipse on the top of buckskin. What a memorable experience! This was a bitter sweet day, we wished there was another few days to continue on the loop. The miles flew by!

A little on us: We hike 15 miles comfortably and live at altitude so this loop was not too challenging. A typical day hike includes 4-5k of vert @ 12-13K. Now this would be a different story if you live at sea level or come from the flatlands. Of note-- Take altitude serious I have had numerous friends come from sea-level and attempt this with near deadly outcomes (no joke one buddy spent 2 weeks in the ICU with HAPE / HACE). These mountains do not care about you and will beat you up if you are not acclimated! With that being said if you are in shape this trip is a must and STUNNING!

backpacking
3 months ago

Sound of music views..... beautiful!!!!

hiking
3 months ago

3 months ago

It was an adventure of my lifetime!! Truly mind-blowing! We started going towards West Maroon Pass first, and I think it was the easier route because of elevation gains/loses. It took us 4 solid days which we thoroughly enjoyed! We saw 3 bears before West Maroon Pass, another was creeping at our campsite after Frigid Air Pass. We didn't feel any danger of them, though. The trail was clear, except the stick of a sign to go RIGHT to Frigid Air Pass. We missed it (some people were standing in front of the stick sign--which is a dumb idea for others passing back, duh). We caught some trout at Snowmass Lake that I'm thankful for...mountain house gets old fast haha! Plenty of water sources along the trail, even in August! The last day was incredibly challenging and rewarding, so be physically prepared. I'm so glad I had plenty of Advil. Also, trekking poles are super helpful for balance on the step and narrow switchbacks, but they also take the weight off your knees. I packed light--highly recommend you do too! Be physically fit! Also, it was FREEZING at night for me... make sure you've got a great sleeping bag 20' comfort level was comfortable for me--I get chilled easy.