Maroon Bells hike in late September?

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Maroon Bells hike in late September?

Postby returningnative » Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:05 am

I am coming home to Colorado for a few days (yes!) and wanted to do a 3-4 day backpacking trip in the high country. I have always avoided Maroon Bells because of the tourists and crowds, but would like to finally hike it, especially late season. I was wondering if next week (late September) is too late for the 4 Pass loop. Snow is forecast for Friday, but supposed to be clear after that. Any thoughts?

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Re: Maroon Bells hike in late September?

Postby pseudoghost » Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:48 am

Just did it this last week. It's been very wet this September, so it seemed more like spring in some places than fall. For example, the trails were very muddy, and creeks were running probably about where they are during the spring runoff. It's doable, but you'll need to be comfortable with cold and snow at this point. It seems that they got at least a few inches of snow down to 10,000 feet yesterday.

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Re: Maroon Bells hike in late September?

Postby nyker » Mon Sep 23, 2013 2:46 pm

Are you looking to climb the Bells or only the Four Pass Loop?

If you're looking to climb the Bells, I'd say you'd probably be best to wait, especially with the new snow which won't make those climbs fun.

If you're doing the loop, the colors were just getting good as I left a couple days ago and am sure will be better now and the next few days, so if you can deal with some mud and maybe wet weather, should be doable.

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Re: Maroon Bells hike in late September?

Postby returningnative » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:15 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys. Not thinking I'd climb - just make the loop, making it a mellow 3-nighter. I have a lower altitude alternate loop I've never done, but this one is tempting. How are the stream crossings? I understand there are a few significant fords, though crossing water is not a biggie. Just wondering about all the rain.

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Re: Maroon Bells hike in late September?

Postby vorticity » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:42 pm

Leaves will be mostly gone, but the loop is certainly doable that time of year. Bring layers and a camera. It is a spectacular trail. Vort

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Re: Maroon Bells hike in late September?

Postby Scott P » Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:26 pm

Leaves will be mostly gone,


I'd have to disagree. The leaves should still be there at least until early October. Usually they peak in late September, rather than disappear by then.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.

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Re: Maroon Bells hike in late September?

Postby SRBurgess » Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:24 am

Just came off the Loop, or at least part of it, on Monday. The aspens are gorgeous, and only just starting to turn. We got caught by the snow (which was not predicted when we set out on Friday morning :wft: ) and had to hike out to Marble since we didn't have time to wait for it to melt and didn't have the gear to push through it over the passes. We were expecting a "dusting" (quote from the ranger station in Aspen), but not almost a foot of heavy, wet stuff like what fell in between Frigid Air and Trail Rider on Sunday night. So unless it has melted really fast, it wouldn't be all that mellow out there. However, Vort is quite right: it's pretty doggone gorgeous, with or without the snow! As always, go with what you can pull off safely.

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