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Four Pass Loop is a 27.1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Aspen, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, fishing, and backpacking and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 27.1 mi Elevation gain 7,870 ft Route type Loop
Dogs on leash Backpacking Camping Fishing Hiking Forest Lake River Views Waterfall Wild flowers Wildlife Over grown Rocky Scramble Snow Fee
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Getting There

Shuttle service is $15.95 per person and parking all day is $30. This classic 29.1 mile backpacking circuit around the spectacular Maroon Bells climbs four 12,000-ft. passes (West Maroon - 12,500 ft.; Frigid Air - 12,415 ft.; Trail Rider - 12,420 ft.; Buckskin - 12,500 ft.) and travels through some of the finest scenery in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness.

Aspen Ranger Station (970.925.3445)

Park at Highlands for $25 total and take the shuttle for $8. The road is closed to private vehicles from 8a-5p daily (need to get overnight permit and enter outside these times in order to drive to trailhead yourself).

Drive 1/2 mile west of Aspen on Highway 82 to the Roundabout . Go around the Roundabout and turn right onto Maroon Creek Road. Drive 9-1/2 miles on Maroon Creek Road to the overnight parking lot just below Maroon Lake. This is located on the left side of the road. Access to this lot after 8:30 AM requires a stop at the Forest Service Entrance Station on Maroon Creek Road for an overnight pass. If the lot is full you may drive 1/4 mile down the road to the West Maroon Portal parking lot.

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Reviews (604)
Photos (2775)
Recordings (433)
Completed (1337)
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tok kim
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Dana Gullett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 21, 2020
Hiking

My SO and I backpacked this from 10/17-10/20. This is by far one of the hardest hikes I’ve ever done and it was absolutely worth every minute of it. Give yourself plenty of time to acclimate to the altitude if you can. It hit me harder than my partner. He took some of my pack weight and I took it super slow and made it through. Prepare for all different kinds of temps, those winds will get you. This trail tested me physically, mentally, and even spiritually. If you’re looking for something or even yourself, you might just find it here.

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tom walsh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 18, 2020
HikingGreat!
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Russell Livesay
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 9, 2020
CampingGreat!

Hiked from noon on 10/3-10/7. Weather was perfect but cold at night. Hiked about 5 miles on 10/3 to below West Maroon pass. Day 2 was west maroon pass and frigid air. Frigid air was steep and more difficult than expected with a 40lb pack (probably about 6-8lbs too heavy). Camped just above kings falls on day 2. Beautiful campsite next to the river. Day three into Favert Basin and up trail rider pass. Another long day with serious elevation. The ascent was tough for sure but the downhill at times was worse and hard on the knees and feet. Poles were a necessity. Camped at snow mass lake and while beautiful was a bit crowded. Day 4 we took it easy and relaxed near the snow mass river, camped in a meadow by the river. Finished the trip on day 5 up and over buckskin pass. Nice gradual trail all the way up. Was a trip of lifetime but not for a novice. Some serious altitude and long days hiking. Be prepared for amazing views and beauty but brutal uphill and downhill hiking that will test your will. Trail was great entire way except for brief period through rock skree and hardly marked trail on way down to snow mass lake from trail rider pass. Overall 10/10 hike and memories!

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Corrie Crane
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 7, 2020
RunningGreat!

Trail ran, counter clockwise, in 1 day...so incredibly beautiful! 6:15am start with headlamps, 5:15pm finish...great day out on the trails, Fall colors were gorgeous!... Stunning views all around, bucket list accomplishment! Will plan on clockwise next time, backpacking to enjoy camping in the wilderness. Highly recommend, but only if you are up for the 8k vertical challenge :)

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Imran Marri
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 4, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

It is an asskicker of a trek, it was for me any way but so beautiful and totally worth it. I hiked it counter clockwise, camping at Snowmass Lake night 1 then a couple of miles past West Marron Pass on night 2. Left an easy day 3 to hike out. The views were tremendous the whole time. My favorite might’ve been looking back at Snowmass Lake as I approached Trail Rider Pass, so if you’re going clockwise I think you’ll be in for a treat. The trail is very well marked. A bit steep and loose in a couple of spots, particularly going down from Frigid Air Pass (counter clockwise), but mostly a very nice and well maintained trail. Going up Frigid Air was definitely the crux for me, just felt like I was going up forever. That was pass two for the day and West Maroon was number three but easier than Frigid for sure. Amazing place.

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Charmie Smith
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BackpackingGreat!

Phenomenally beautiful , well marked trails . The elevation kicked my butt , but it’s a trip I’ll never forget . Especially loved camping on the soft pine forest near Snowmass lake

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Kevin Schoonover
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Lucas Ebert
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BackpackingGreat!

Rugged - Brutal- Beautiful. Amazing views from start to finish. Super tough passes (especially buckskin). I highly recommend doing this loop counter clockwise. Clockwise would have been twice as hard. Scenic high point was definitely Snowmass Lake. This was a hard one, but worth it. Enjoy!

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Sam Getlan
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Hiking
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Sam Getlan
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Sam Getlan
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Hiking
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Lisa Elle
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 29, 2020
Hiking

One of the most gorgeous trails I've ever hiked. Take water. Take a camera. And take a copy of "The Little Prince" because you never know who you might find along the path that has been putting off reading the penultimate chapter. Don't let them get away with it. Maybe even bum a Clif bar off of them in the milieu.

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Mitch Harrison
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Backpacking

great trail, absolutely stunning views

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Daniel Muelhaupt
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Hiking
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Krissy Young
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BackpackingGreat!

anyone willing to give a ride to the trail head, early morning of 27th or 28th of sept... will pay. I do have a berne doodle with me. text Krissy 515-201-0679

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Tash Even
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 26, 2020
Hiking

Totally awesome- did the whole trail and took an extra day to camp at snow mass lake and then summit snow mass mountain.

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Stephanie Ingraham
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Michelle Deal
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 21, 2020
HikingGreat!

Did 9/18-9/20 counter clockwise I recommend doing counter clockwise so that your hardest day is when you’re the freshest and the rest of the days are a bit easier. We completed buckskin pass first day and camped at snow mass lake the first night which was beautiful! The second day we did trail rider which wasn’t too hard but had a lengthy descent and camped around the tree line before frigid air pass. The third day we did frigid air and west maroon and had plenty of time to make it back to shuttle at maroon lake. Beautiful hike, lots of water until frigid air pass and west maroon pass (no water in between these passes).

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Andrew Parrish
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Backpacking
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Mike Ruehlmann
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BackpackingGreat!

IF ANYONE HAPPENS TO FIND A DOG LEASH MADE FROM BLUE CLIMBING ROPE AND A BLACK DIAMOND CARABINER, PLEASE CONTACT 7733693831, THANKS! The trail was in excellent condition. Only one section was difficult for my dog which we had to carry him across. These were some of the best views I have ever witnessed in my life. We hiked counter-clockwise and did not regret our decision. The last day was our easiest day hiking out from Snowmass Lake to the trailhead. We finished the loop in 3 days, 2 nights, completing it in 48 hours. 10/10 would recommend this route for backpacking.

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Noah Nothanks
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Peter Tiley
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BackpackingFeeGreat!

Planned on taking 3 days to do this but ended up finishing it in 2 (9/19 - 9/20), logging 30.5 miles and 8,069 ft gain with a wrong turn factored in. No snow fields, and aspens were a beautiful golden yellow. Make sure to plan out your campsites ahead of time... I would also highly recommend taking 3 or more days to complete this challenging but stunning route. Please respect the wilderness; pack out your trash and properly take care of your crap

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Joshua Stokes
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HikingBridge outMuddyScramble

It is a great hike, but I’ll warn those from out of state (or WFH new to the state) this is wilderness....we spotted (4) bear - including a boar at our campsite (10ft away staring at us) at Snowmass Lake ~ 9pm. After a minute of yelling, hitting him with a log did the trick. (We reserved the bear spray for a charge) He had stalked our campsite as we were cooking a late dinner, and my girlfriend spotted him as she was walking back alone to our site. I warned one gentleman earlier of the bear we spotted just 1mi in to our trip, and he said no worries I have bear spray which was inaccessible on his backpack. That boar was probably 400-500 lbs. They’re everywhere, but most tourists are oblivious.

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Nitin Prasad
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 19, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

This trail was recommended to me by a friend. Did a 3 night 4 days counterclockwise loop starting Sept 15. No snow fields to cross. Very little mud. Wanted to see why everyone went-gaga-over this trail, and I now understand why. Feast for the soul all the way through! The heavy use is evident from all kinds of trash left behind by folks. If you can’t carry it back, don’t take it! Leave no trace!

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Dave Wright
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 18, 2020
BackpackingGreat!

Did this in 3 nights, 4 days. Trail is very clear and obvious all the way through. Clockwise and camped before west Marroon pass, basin in between frigid air and trail rider, and last night at snow mass. All camps were great and had plenty of spots to choose from. Snow mass was my favorite, wake up early to watch the sun rise (pics are amazing). Going clockwise, trail rider pass on day 3 was definitely our toughest day/pass but also had the best views from the top! Beautiful varied landscapes throughout this loop and lots of streams for water. Saw tons of deer at camp in the morning and evenings. For a Wisconsin native, this altitude really tested my endurance and mental toughness. But huge sense of accomplishment when finished. Definitely a trip to remember, Colorado at its finest.

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Isaiah Fitch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 16, 2020
Hiking

If ANYBODY finds a set of Hyundai keys, please call or text me at 9372484333... My wife and I did this for our first backpacking trip going clockwise. We got off trail a bit and suffered some minor injuries that caused us to camp right below Maroon Bell pass. We went back the next day because we only had three days to try to finish the loop and our injuries definitely would’ve caused us to stay longer. It was so beautiful and plan to conquer this the next time we’re in Colorado. We definitely learned a lot from this trip.

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