Distance: 3.4 - 9.2 miles (round trip)
Maroon-Snowmass Wilderness, White River National Forest, near Aspen in Central Colorado
This popular trail climbs to a 12,462-ft. pass with breathtaking panoramic views of the 14,000-ft. peaks towering above the heart of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Visual delights along the trail include two stunning alpine lakes and pretty meadows sprinkled with wildflowers.
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- Distance: 3.4 miles (round trip) to Crater Lake
9.2 miles (round trip) to Buckskin Pass
- Elevation: 9,580-ft. at Trailhead
10,076-ft. at Crater Lake
12,462-ft. at Buckskin Pass
- Elevation Gain: 496-ft. to Crater Lake
2,882-ft. to Buckskin Pass
- Difficulty: strenuous
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Aspen / Central Colorado
Why Hike Buckskin Pass
If I only had time for one hike in the Aspen area I’d choose Buckskin Pass. The hike features spectacular views of the Maroon Bell and Pyramid Peak, wanders by two beautiful lakes, traverses gorgeous alpine meadows and ends at a dramatic pass.
From the pass stunning views extend west to a sea of granite pinnacles. Hagerman Peak and Snowmass Mountain (14,092-ft.) tower above Snowmass Lake. Rugged Capitol Peak (14,130-ft.) and Mount Daly rise to the northwest of Snowmass Mountain. Pyramid Peak (14,018-ft.) and a jagged ridgeline of 13,000-ft. peaks dominate the skyline to the east while the Sleeping Sexton and Maroon Bells rise above the ridge to the south.
Be forewarned you will not be alone on this popular hike. My advice is to get an early start so you can enjoy a degree of solitude at the pass, have plenty of time to soak in the scenery and then descend before the onset of afternoon thunderstorm, a common occurrence in the Rockies.
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Trail Detail/Full Description / Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map
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