Four Pass Loop - West Maroon to Buckskin


Views of wildlife on the Four Pass Loop trail

ALERT: Bear canisters are required for all backpackers in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. 

The famous Four Pass Loop backpacking route within Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness is an international treasure. This 26 mile (42 km) circuit climbs over four mountain passes higher than 12,000ft, past clear alpine lakes and among the rugged Elk Range peaks. Thousands of people every summer make the journey to see these sights. 

Make sure to plan ahead and know before you go! Early summer snowmelt makes the river crossing perilous and deep snow persists on the passes until late in the summer. Sudden thunderstorms can catch travelers exposed far from the cover of tree-line in mid-summer and snow fall returns to the high country early. 

Please observe all recommendations and regulations to help the US Forest Service protect this unique experience and wild landscape for all.

View a downloadable trail guide: Four Pass Loop Trail Guide (PDF)

View select campsite location & restrictions (PDF) 

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Call Aspen Ranger Station (970) 925 3445 or check current NOAA Weather conditions. Note: The Four Pass Loop is often snow-bound from October through June.
Fees No fee is required to backpack in the Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness or hike the Four Pass Loop. Many people access the Loop from the Maroon Lake trailhead at Maroon Lake within Maroon Bells Scenic Area, a recreation fee area.  
Permit Info: All overnight visitors to the Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness must self-register at the trailhead kiosks.  Each party is required to possess a copy of the registration tag at all times. The purpose of required registration is to educate visitors about Wilderness ethics and gather visitor use information so we can better manage the area.
Usage: Heavy
Closest Towns: Aspen, Colorado
Water: Treat & filter all water sources. Protect water quality with proper waste disposal.
Restroom: Consider packing out human waste. Dispose & bury human waste 100+ feet from water, trails, & camps.
Information Center: Aspen Ranger District

General Information


The Maroon Lake trailhead is located 6 1/2 miles southwest of Aspen, Colorado, on Maroon Creek Road. From Highway 82 take the Maroon Creek Road exit at the roundabout on the West edge of town. Follow Maroon Creek Road to the Maroon Bells Welcome Station.  Day users and overflow backpackers be asked to park at Aspen Highlands and take a bus to the trailhead. Backpackers parking at the Maroon Lake trailhead, please only park in the designated overnight lot.

From mid-June through September, day use traffic is restricted on Maroon Creek Road between 8:00 a.m.—5:00 p.m. See Maroon Bells Scenic Area for more information about access to the Scenic Area.

General Notes:

Please use Leave No Trace ethics. Review the video Wilderness in Peril:

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Camping & Cabins

Show detail SHOW


Hide detail HIDE

River and Stream Fishing

Fishing is permitted in all streams and lakes within the Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness subject to the regulations of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.


Show detail SHOW


Show detail SHOW
Areas & Activities


  Area/Length : 
28 miles round-trip

  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
9,580' - 12,500'


picture of different recreation quicksheets

Recreation Quicksheets