Scenic USA - Colorado

Four Passes Wilderness Loop

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Four Passes Wilderness Loop, Purity Basin - Maroon Bells Scenic Area, Colorado

Photos by Jack Brauer
Jack Brauer Mountain Photography

   When it comes to grand mountain scenery, surely Colorado ranks right at the top. Wrapped in one scenic byway after another, Columbine - Snowmass-Maroon Bells Wilderness, Colorado the Colorado Rockies are often enjoyed over these alpine routes. Earning high praise from a variety of sources, the Elk Mountains are among some the most stunning mountain landscapes in the state. One of the most classic mountain scenes in Colorado, the Maroon Bells, well represents the spectacular peaks of Elk Mountains. Itís an easy drive to the Maroon Bells Scenic Area (summer driving restrictions in place), but a true experience of the grandeur here wonít come easy. An ambitious journey into the Snowmass-Maroon Bells Wilderness enters Colorado's extreme alpine terrain. Indian Paintbrush - Snowmass-Maroon Bells Wilderness, Colorado Called the Four Passes Wilderness Loop, the weeklong hike covers some of the most splendid Rocky Mountain scenery thatís never quite replicated in a photograph.
   Listed as a 26 mile trek, this backcountry trip begins at Maroon Lake and quickly climbs toward Maroon Pass. A steep descent from the pass takes in some of the most gorgeous alpine meadow landscapes on the hike, a sight brightened with early summer wildflowers in every direction. Noted as having a poorly defined trail, the route passes the North Fork of the Crystal River, a seldom seen backside of the Maroon Bells and three more 12,000 foot high mountain passes which gives the loop trail its name. Although these wilderness photos speak volumes, nothing compares to a first-hand Rocky Mountain experience, filled with overwhelming beauty and self discovery.

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