Wolf sightings are on the rise in Colorado, with evidence that a pack is roaming a remote area. Several people have claimed to have seen this predator since then, including a wolf-like creature approaching a campsite on several occasions.
Two hikers saw what they believe to be a wolf, a 100-pound “beigey-white canid,” according to the Aspen Times. At the time of the sighting, they were hiking along a trail at Crater Lake, which is a popular route for visitors to Aspen’s iconic Maroon Bells. The animal was only seen for a few moments before disappearing into the woods.
The shuttle stop that drops visitors off at the edge of Maroon Lake to see the Maroon Bells is located further away from Crater Lake. Crater Lake is reachable via a short hike, but the lack of restrooms and a paved access point makes it feel much more remote.
Though another wolf was recently confirmed to be present in North Park, the first confirmed pack of wolves in Colorado in decades was spotted in Moffatt County. A credible sighting was also reported in the Laramie River Valley, though no hard evidence has been found.
A wolf-like creature in Grand County has recently been reported to approach campsites, although the lack of physical evidence indicates that it could have been another canid species. A wolf approaching a campsite would be unusual.Before the recent confirmation of a pack, wolves had been declared extinct in Colorado for decades.
Wolves, despite their lethal potential, generally avoid humans, making them less of a threat to hikers.
Snodgrass Mountain Trail is Switch off Gothic Road and follows Washington Gulch Road for three miles to meet the Washington Gulch Trailhead. The paved road ends at 2.5 miles but continues for another 0.5 miles along the well-maintained dirt road until you see a trailhead sign on the right side of the road. Around 300 feet up the road, north of the trail sign, there is parking on the left side of the road.
Snodgrass Mountain Trail Directions
Follow Gothic Road two miles north of the Crested Butte Mountain Resort base area before it comes to an end at a cattle guard to get to the Gothic Trailhead. On the left side of the road, you’ll find parking and a Snodgrass Trail sign. Use the stile to cross the fence and travel up the Snodgrass Road double track for 0.5 miles (or detour on Teddy’s Trail for beautiful meadows and aspen forest instead of an ugly double track) till you reach another fence crossing and a marked trail junction. Turn left and follow the single track on the Snodgrass Trail (hikers can continue up the rough double track road all the way to the heavily wooded peak of Snodgrass Mountain, but the single-track presents a far more scenic and entertaining option).
The Snodgrass Trail is mostly smooth, rolling single-track, with a few steeper pitches and some mildly technical sections with rocks and roots. Frequent use and excellent signage make it easy to follow the trail. You can start either on the trail for a great out and back hike, or on the east side of Gothic Road, you can easily connect to Lower Meander and all the summer trails of Mt. Crested Butte. While Crested Butte summers generally stay rather mild, the midday sun can be intense, so Snodgrass is an excellent shaded option. The views, the flowers, and the forest are always amazing!
Need to know before your journey
Please respect seasonal trail closures, which are posted at both trailheads. Because this trail passes through private ranch property, Gunnison National Forest land, and land owned and conserved by a partnership between the Crested Butte Land Trust and the Town of Mt. Crested Butte, trail users should be polite and respectful. Mostly during spring and summer, the Snodgrass Trail is very popular with bikers, hikers, and runners, so stay alert and respect trail guidelines.
For seasonal cattle grazing, the park closes in mid-August.
The Snodgrass Trail showcases some of Crested Butte’s most spectacular habitats. Shade-loving flowers and shrubs flourish in thick aspen groves. Views of the surrounding mountains, including Mt. Crested Butte, can be found in open sunny meadows, as well as an abundance of lupine and sunflowers. Bridges extend through the two small water crossings and offer a view of the flowers and plants of the wetlands.
North Maroon Peak Trail Although this mountain is considered one of the toughest 14Ers, many find it totally difficult. It’s fairly simple and short on a clear day. That said, over the years, North Maroon has claimed many lives, including those of many professional climbers. Don’t be too soft on that.
North Maroon Peak Trail Description
Access to the visitor’s site in Maroon Bells is simple, and I’m not going to waste time on that . To get to North Maroon, just take the Maroon Snowmass Trail to Crater Lake, an excellent campsite if you don’t make a day trip. Walk about 0,75 miles from here and look for the turn left to cross the stream. Before coming to a rock glacier (a talus field) of red rock, continue briefly on a trail.
Cross the field of talus, remaining below you and to your left just above a cliff band as you make your way to some cliffs. In this area there may be a few cairns. Walk around the cliff to the south and recover a clear path. Walk about 100 meters and turn right, going up some rock/grass slopes of class 2+ for a gain of 200 ft. Hug some cliff bands to the left at 11,900 ft. and come through a grassy but steep and loose gully.
Travel along the trail to the south and walk along the cliffs. Get 600 ft. out of the gully. When you get out at the top of the cliff, angle to the left. Take a good trail and walk 3-5 minutes to the second gully (12,600 ft). From here on, the route is harder and requires good weather.
The second gully is steeper and rockier, with loose rocks easily crashing down at high speeds (wear a helmet). Follow an unclear trail up the rock band gully at a height of 12900 ft. The red cliffs are solid, but they are loosely covered. To hit the NE ridge, scramble up to 13,200 feet on class 3 terrain.
Prior to hitting a small area of talus at 13,600, scramble class 2+/3 terrain on the ridge crest. The essence of the climb is the cliff bands just above this. A tiny chimney in class 4, 10-12 ft in height, makes some fun moves possible. Continue to break out of the chimney and grade 3 at 13,700 ft. This is a perfect place to rest and enjoy the views, although it is very close to the summit itself.
Once past this point, there is a short class 3 scrambling over a few rock bands, and then the ridge is mostly a class 2+, 300 ft up again. To your south is South Maroon, to your east is the Pyramid, and to the northwest is Capitol Peak and Snowmass Mountain.
You’re never going to hate mountain goats as much as you’re on this path. As you go up steep, loose paths, they kick rocks at you mistakenly. Porcupines are infamous for chewing on brake lines on the lots at Maroon Lake. It is highly recommended that your car be wrapped with chicken wire when staying overnight. Mothballs are a reasonable alternative, but your interior may never smell the same even if you leave them on the floor under your car.
Castle Peak is high summit is a comparatively easy target and a pretty short trip by heading close to the highpoint of Donner Pass. However, don’t be misguided by the first mile – the top section is steeper and rockery.
On the way
When to visit
Need to know
On the way
Park north on the highway at the Castle Valley Road parking area from exit 176 on the freeway. Start your walk on the Castle Valley Road and pass the Hole In the Ground Trail to the left as you climb the gradual dirt road. The path climbs higher up to cross the PCT: Highway 80 on Castle Pass, Highway 49.
Start right up the western ridge of Castle Peak and transition to Castle Peak Trail from the busy intersection. Trees are dwindling, and both this peak and the entire area have great views. You get to the final summit with 360° views from a steep and rocky scramble. You can see Mount Diablo in the bay area, the snow-covered Lessen Peak to the north, and all of the mountains that surround Lake Tahoe in clear days.
If you have enjoyed the views at the top, head back down the way you came to the parking area and return to your car.
When to visit
At any time of year, Castle Peak can be climbed. It’s a nice destination for snowshoes. Look out for ice on rocky areas in mid-winter. The region is normally free of snow between June and October. Snow is long held on the east face, but in the early season the western face loses even more.
Need to know to Castle Peak Trail
By using the PCT: Highway 80 to Highway 49 (near Sierra City) trail and bypassing Castle Valley Lane, you can make this hike longer and prettier.
Alternatively, you can drive a portion of Castle Valley Road if you have a high-clearance car, and shorten this hike a bit.
Conundrum Hot Springs Peak is an amazing day trip or a pleasant backpack for hikers and this is a must-do for any Coloradan. This walk passes through beautiful aspen groves and ends in one of the most unnatural water bodies you can ever see. You can see a huge hot spring with large views of the valley backward.
On the way
Need to know before visit
On the way to Conundrum Hot Springs Peak
Head to the south for the direct trail from the car park. For the first 7 miles, Conundrum Creek Trail #1981 remains uphill. Although the path is stunning, it’s nothing more than other local Aspen areas. Take the way up to the hot spring!
Conundrum Hot Springs is one of the most popular springs in Colorado and it is a must for all those who enjoy the warm water. The mountain and wildflowers’ field views are magnificent, particularly in late summer. The warm 95-degree waters are not to mention friendly and enjoyable. This path has high traffic because it offers a reasonably quick walk through forest and wilderness with crossings with bridged rivers.
When you’ve had your soaking fill, go back to or back to your campsite or vehicle. You will feel cooler than you were a few hours before and able to take on the entire world.
Need to know before visit
The car park always fills up on an autumn weekend specially. Come early and try if you can to stop on weekends! Do NOT park along Conundrum Creek Road if the parking lot is filled. You will get towed.
For people seeking a mellow experience, nights at the hot springs can get rowdy and potentially nerve-wracking. Although the stars are impressive to see from the springs, some people consider the springs as better ways of having fun.
You may disperse camp from Silver Dollar Pond throughout the valley
West Maroon Pass gives hikers a hike surrounded by thick fields of stunning wildflowers If you have the luck to visit maroon bells in good timing. This famous pedestrian highway from Crested Butte to Aspen will also reward you in every direction with spectacular views from the summit.
On the way
Tips for hikers
Directions to West Maroon Pass
Take Gothic Road (Route 135) 14 miles to the north, across the Schofield Pass from Crested Butte. A big parking lot is located shortly after the pass and the trailhead is on the right.
On the way
This trail is also starting from the same popular trail as Aspen. The trail begins to wind along the Crystal River forest. Besides the end of the forest, there is a rotting cabin. After passing that cabin the trail forks. Taking right from the fork, hikers can join the wonderful wildflowers.
The nearest junction is less than 2 miles away and difficult to find. Search for a short wooden sign below the brush and take the right path to the West Maroon Pass. Continue up the valley to the next signed crossing to the Frigid Air Pass. The West Maroon Pass is ahead directly
The path becomes steeper from here as you get closer to the pass. The last quarter mile is especially challenging, but the effort deserves the reward. Enjoy spectacular views in all directions from the summit. Look back down on your development and at the Maroon Bells on the other side. The pass is small on either side with magnificent rock pinnacles. Take a long break and then head back down the way you arrived.
Tips for hikers
Do not pick, cut or walk on wildflowers or other plants, please. Removing wildflowers from the wild can have a negative effect on pollinators and other animals that rely on the species for food and cover and affect the long-term survival of the flowers in that region.
Don’t leave any marks. In an alpine climate, garbage and human waste will take years to decompose. Pack it in, and with all the garbage, pack it out. Try using the restroom in lower levels and dig a cat hole 6-8 centimeters deep for human waste.
It is a good idea to bring some additional stuff in your pack for longer walks. Ensure that you have additional food and water, rainwater, maps or GPS, sunscreen, and torchlight if your hike lapses.
Mountain weather can change very rapidly. It is normal during the summer months to have thunderstorms form in the high country during the afternoon. Before you go, check the weather forecast. Keep an eye on the clouds to see when you should turn around.
Rustler Gulch trail aren’t many hikes you’ll find here that can compete with the incredible variety and abundance of wildflowers. This is one of the unusual experiences that take place in a short summer window (late July, early August). This valley also takes you to several waterfalls and mountain views, in addition to the vibrant colours and fragrances.
On the way
Driving Directions for Rustler Gulch trail
From the town of Crested Butte: For 4.3 miles, take Gothic Road (135) north past Mt. Crested Butte. Bear right past the parking lot of the Snodgrass Trailhead and descend for a further 6.5 miles past the town of Gothic into the East River Valley before you enter the signed Rustler Gulch lane.
Turn right and travel 0.2 miles on this rough road to the East River (check the depth). Cross the river and park on the right side, or continue driving for another mile to the TH sign on a steep narrow path. Parking for 5 to 6 SUVs is limited. Cars are able to get to the East River (although the road is rough the last 0.2 miles). To cross the river, a high clearance SUV is needed. And drive up the steep read for TH sign.
On the way
You will be surrounded by tall wildflower meadows from the start. Look for stunning views of the Gothic Mountains behind you. Just after 3/4 miles in, there is a stream crossing, which can make your shoes or boots wet. Search for a hundred yards downstream for a drier option and find a large tree crossing over. Find another crossing of a stream about 3/4 of a mile downstream. As it ascends some rocky trail towards the spiky red rocks ahead, the route dries out ahead.
As it bends into the gulch and parallels the stream below, follow the trail. Take in the views of the dangerous peak at the end of the valley at 13,000 ft. Continue to climb and note that the species of wildflowers change with altitude.
Some old mining equipment that is now reclaimed by nature will pass near the turnaround. At 3.5 miles, the waterfalls you meet are a perfect point for taking some pictures and going back down. Beyond the waterfalls, the trail continues for a short period of time. If you’re feeling adventurous, head up to the valley below for greater views.
Do not pick, cut or walk on flowers or other plants, please. Removal of the wildflowers can have adverse effects on pollinators and other animal species, and affect the long-term survival of flowers in this area.
Pyramid Peak trail hike begins at the scenic Maroon Lake, before turning up a steep trail, this hike ambles through the forest below the majestic Maroon Bells. After some switchbacks, under the rocky wall of the Pyramid’s north face, it pops out into a large boulder area. After a steep climb to the headwall, it begins to be enjoyable. While scrambling to the top of the final 1,000 vertical feet, hikers can enjoy spectacular views of the Maroon Bells, Capitol Hill, and Snowmass Mountain.
Description About the trail
Hikers keep this thing in mind!
Drive toward Lake Crescent on US 101 west of Port Angeles, or north and east of Forks. Turn northeast into Camp David Jr. at the very western end of Lake Crescent. Highway (just west of milepost 221).
Continue straight on North Shore Road for 3.1 miles, following the signs. The first half is asphalt, and the second half of crushed rock is graded. Look for a yellow pedestrian crossing signal at 3.1 miles. Perse, there is no parking area, only dedicated handicapped parking on the right shoulder and space on adjacent shoulders for a few cars. There are no services for trailheads. There’s no parking pass required.
Description About the Pyramid Peak trail
Travel west on route 82 from Aspen. You will enter a traffic circle immediately upon leaving town. Up Maroon Creek Lane, follow the sign for the Maroon Bells. Pass and pay for the welcome center ($10 for a single day pass for a car; subject to change). In one of the lots, proceed up the road and park. This area is full of visitors and is well signed, but few people actually climb the Bells or Pyramid. There are lots for the day, lots for the night, and lots for sleeping in your vehicle. Take a pick.
Rolling along the Maroon Snowmass Trail from the upper lots, leaving Maroon Lake and gaining a small amount of elevation along a mellow and often rocky trail. Turn left after around 1.5 miles, just below the upper lake, towards Pyramid Peak (Crater Lake). Before the going gets steep, trail continue through a flat zone. Walk up steep switchbacks until you reach a boulder field below 12,000 ft, known as “the amphitheatre” by hikers.
The real hike begins from here. In the boulder area, there are several cairns, and the CFI has done a good job of constructing the trail. Continue up the rocks and to the left to find a ravine to the east of the magnificent north face of the Pyramid.
Next thousand fetes after that is rough . This gully is so steep that even the fittest hikers would possibly have to pause every few minutes for a breather. In about 0.2 miles, you’ll get 1,000 ft, topping out on a hill.
Things are much more enjoyable from here. Turn right and climb over many gendarmes, or just walk to the right through them. Once the grades gets steep again, your aim is to look for cairns to the left of the mountain. Travel carefully through loose rocks . The you reach to a spot referred to as the “leap of faith.” in a few minutes. It’s not a leap – just a big step between rocks. Cross several narrow ledges immediately, sticking to the rocks to your right to prevent exposure to your left. This region is brief and underwhelming. Do not be terrified!
Turn right up a short red gully from here and follow Cairns to the “green gully.” There is an unmistakable green hue to the rock here, and it can’t be missed. Scramble up solid rock for around 300 feet in this gully until you find cairns below the summit. Continue running to hit a false summit in fun class 3-4. Close here, there are some fun class 5 moves that provide the more experienced climbers with a fun challenge. It’s a 1-2 minute walk up to the true peak once you’re on the false summit. Stop and enjoy the views… the way back down is a long way!
Hikers keep this thing in mind!
Although only 8 miles long, you have to be a good hiker because a high level of fitness and skill is needed for this hike. The trail up to the ridge of 13,000 ft is absurdly steep, and one of the loosest and most technical regular routes up any Colorado 14er is the final 1,000 ft. Bring a helmet and get yourself comfortable for a long day.
The best hikers should expect a round trip of 6 hours, with 10 hours being a fair time for the less ambitious.
Capitol Peak Trail In the Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America, Capitol Peak is a high and prominent mountain summit. It is the 52nd highest peak in North America. The 14,137-foot (4,309 m) fourteener is located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness of White River National Forest, 8.7 miles (14.0 km) east by south (bearing 104°) of the city of Redstone in Pitkin County, Colorado, United States.
Capitol Peak Trail Description
Capitol Peak is located near Snowmass Village, Colorado, a 15.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail that involves a lake and is only recommended for very experienced travelers. The trail is best used from July to September and is mostly used for hiking, rock climbing, and backpacking. You can take your dogs in this trial, too.
Hikers should travel 5.7 miles before arriving at the Capitol Peak campsite from the parking lot. Another 1.9 miles climbed to K2 and the summit. K2 is a summit mostly mistaken by hikers as the summit of Capitol Peak
On a specified location, there is basic camping near the trailhead. No fee is required, but there are some rules and regulations.
You will enter Daly Pass at the head of the trail, at an altitude of 9,400 feet, after several switchbacks for half a mile. On Capitol Hill, the first point of interest is Daly Pass. The saddle-shaped ridge of this pass is reaching12,480 feet. After the pass, there is no easier hike until the summit.
It is understood that K2 is often confused as the Capitol Peak summit by hikers. Many hikers go around the right side, where it is most open, but when one goes around, death rates are much bigger.
The edge of the knife (pictured above) is known for its 150-foot distance, with drops of 2,000 feet on both sides. Daredevils can walk through it in a timely way, but like straddling a horse, other hikers can scooch across it. The trail with most fatalities is Capitol Peak Trail.
Four Pass Loop Trail All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go
Overview of the Four Pass Loop Trail
On the way
Tips for hikers
Overview of the Four Pass Loop Trail
The Four Pass Loop is one of Aspen’s best hikes and a perfect backpacking trip to Colorado, passing high alpine passes, valleys filled with wildflowers and dark blue lakes, more than 7,000 feet, and more than 26 miles. It checks the soul and, at the same time, feeds it. The loop moves around and crosses four passes through the famous Maroon Bells peaks: West Maroon (12,500 ft.), Frigid Air (12,415 ft.), Trail Rider (12,420 ft.), Buckskin (12,500 ft.). It’s normally done clockwise for a three to four-day backpacking journey, but can be done in the opposite direction. The loop is also completed in one day by adventurous trail runners.
The trail begins at Lake Maroon and the entrance into the Forest Area of Maroon Bells-Snowmass. Parking procedures have changed from previous years and reservations for shuttles to Maroon Lake, and overnight parking is now needed. For vehicles up to 20 feet, you can reserve a parking spot for $10. As the place fills up fast, be sure to make your reservations in advance.
On the way
The hike begins on the Maroon Lake path on 9,580 feet. Crater Lake is the first 1.8 miles you have to reach through giant groves of aspen. This can be crowded because some of the surrounding sides and numerous trails like Buckskin pass are accessible from this part of the wilderness zone.
However, the crowd is decreasing once you pass Crater Lake. The long climb up to West Maroon Creek is breath-taking. Before reaching into the high alpine tundra above the tree-line, the trail continues along the creek. West Maroon Pass is famous, particularly from mid-July to August, for some of the most breath-taking and colourful wildflowers in the region. This area has several campsites. The last mile is a series of challenging switchbacks to the first pass, but the view at the top is the reward.
It descends rapidly from here, and the trail connects with Frigid Air Pass within 1 mile. Take the right side (other hikers will continue to Crested Butte by staying on the main trail). It is around 1 mile high, and Frigid Air can be seen high above, reached by a series of challenging switchbacks.
Frigid Air, Fravert Basin can be seen below from the second pass. The trail descends and reaches a spruce forest heading towards the Crystal River North Fork through an alpine plain. There are several campsites along the river; remember to camp at least 100 feet from the water. After another 1.5 miles, the trail starts a series of steep switchbacks adjacent to the stream and a magnificent waterfall with high moisture.
Just after a small clearing, the trail branches out for another mile. Here the road turns right. When it branches, turn right for 0.75 miles then turn again. Take the right junction towards Trail Rider Pass. Of course, the road goes up here also! Follow the path and watch where it turns left onto Lake Geneva. Ascend and go up to the third pass, trail rider. From here you can see Lake Snowmass.
Here, a break taking descent take hikers to Snowmass lake. By getting on the Maroon-Snowmass Trail and going towards Buckskin Pass, you can continue on the loop or camp at the multiple campsites in here. The trail reaches the last pass, Buckskin, after crossing Snowmass Creek. There’s some camping about halfway up here, and remember that there’s nothing in the Minnehaha Gulch area until the other side of the Buckskin Pass. For the last views of around 12,000 feet, hit the top of Buckskin Pass, where the Maroon Bells share the ridge and can be seen across the Pyramid Peak valley. And then, it’s all downhill from here, as they say.
Tips for hikers
Dogs are allowed but must be leashed
To avoid from the afternoon thunderstorms plan your trip early
Don’t leave any trashes
Just leave nothing behind. The high alpine eco-system is fragile, and it is already being over utilized. Remove all garbage and bury human waste 6-8 centimetres deep and more than 100 feet away from your trail.
Be careful from Bears
In this area, bear activities are expected. A bear-proof container must be worn, and all food, drink and cooking utensils must be included in the container at night.
Crossing the Streams
During runoff cycles, stream pathways can be harmful. Please take waterproof shoes to cross the stream and ensure that your pack is unbuckled.
Be prepared for any weather condition
Remember to pack your things properly and be prepared for any weather condition.
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