Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop – Near Aspen Colorado

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With views like this, impromptu singing of “the hills are alive…” happened a lot on this adventure. 

Destination: Four Pass Loop, Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness

Distance: 28 miles round-trip

Time on the trail: 4 days, 3 nights

Date: July 3-6

Trip Itinerary:

Pre-hike: Flew in late on July 1st and spent the night in Denver. Drove into Aspen the next day and talked to helpful people at Ute Mountaineer who had updates on trail conditions. We arrived that evening at our roomy digs at The Crestwood (pretty close to the trail head and not as pricey as accommodation options in Aspen) and started our hike on the morning of July 3rd.

Day 1: Maroon Lake to about a mile before West Maroon Pass (~6.5 miles)

Day 2: A mile climb to West Maroon Pass, 1.3 miles past Frigid Air Pass (~5.5 miles)

Day 3: Hike to Trail Rider Pass to Snowmass Lake (~7 miles)

Day 4: Snowmass Lake, climb Buckskin Pass, end at Maroon Lake (~8 miles)

Post-hike: Drove to Aspen for an amazing burger and truffle fries (and cold beer) at the White House Tavern.  Then drove about 18 miles north to Basalt and loved our stay at the Basalt Mountain Inn, oh and don’t miss a visit to the Xin Yu Massage next door.

Ahhh, made it to the top of Frigid Air Pass. (L-R) Our new friend Aaron Stich, Kelly, Bettina, Maria, Suzanne, Judy.

Trip Map:

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Maps and Guides: 
USDA guide and map. National Geographic Trails Illustrated Topographic Map And we bought a map when we got to Aspen at the Ute Mountaineer store and received some tips from the helpful staff.

Food Notes: A new favorite snack from Suzanne was cheese flavored Halfpops. They’re delicious and the saltiness was a nice contrast to all the sweet energy bars. Also the cheddar-flavored Moon Cheese was, well, out of this world! Handily available at REI. Another convenient place we found a good selection of food for our trip was Target. A delicious dinner of Bettina’s was dried pea soup from the Wheatsville Food Co-OP to which she adds smoked, spicy chorizo.

Gear Highlights: This was the first year that Suzanne used her REI Joule sleeping bag. She reports “I was warm and toasty every night and the one night it rained, I hadn’t done a great job pitching my tent/rainfly and I was very happy to have the waterproof fabric around my feet which to keep them dry. I also appreciated that it’s much lighter than my old bag.