Crested Butte Trails: West Maroon – Frigid Air Pass

In Hiking guide, Trail by Kryptonite Creative


Along with Rustler Gulch, we recommend adding the Frigid Air Pass loop or 3 Pass loop to your bucket list (there are so many to choose from). Along with epic wildflower blooms throughout the summer, this hike takes you up above tree line for some truly spectacular panoramas. From Frigid Air Pass, the south face of South Maroon Peak towers over Fravert Basin and you can even see Mt. Crested Butte in the opposite direction.

Planning your trip? Purple Mountain Bed & Breakfast has great deals and is located downtown.

Update 7/24/19: Just one or two steep snow patches remain (a few other larger, mellow slope ones too) on the trail. We still recommend crampons or microspikes for safety. The rest of the trail on the CB side is in great shape with flowers popping up. Click Here for trail report.
You will have to hike a few extra miles from/to the West Maroon Trailhead. The snow plug and avy debris below Emerald Lake remain. There are a couple of wide stream/snowbridge crossings on the Aspen side as well. 

 Frigid Air Pass Loop3 Pass Loop w/West Maroon
Highlights:Wildflowers, Mountain VistasWildflowers, Mountain Vistas
Difficulty:StrenuousStrenuous
RT Length:9.3 miles 10.8 miles
Approx. Time:5 hours6 hours
Elevation Gain:2,722 feet3,214 feet
Max Elevation:12,400 feet12,490 feet
Trailhead Elevation:10,432 feet10,432 feet
Travel Time to TH:45 minutes45 minutes

Click photos to view multi-season gallery


Trail Map & Profile

SUV recommended: From the Town of Crested Butte, take Gothic Road (Route 135) north 14 miles over Schofield Pass. Shortly after the pass there is a large parking lot and the trailhead is on the right side.  Map (continue past the marker on the map on rte 317 toward the trailhead/parking lot)


Route

Start off with the route description from the West Maroon Pass hike. Follow the directions up the valley [1] and to the right at the small signed Hasley Basin junction [2]. At the next signed junction for Frigid Air Pass [3], take a left continue on the mellow ascent back in the opposite direction (or hike up West Maroon Pass first for the 3 Pass Loop). The next sign post indicates where the turnoff is for Frigid Air Pass [6]. Take a right turn and head up toward the ridge line. This is where the trail gets much steeper as you reach the maximum elevation for this hike. Near the top you’ll be able to see Mt. Crested Butte off to the southeast, poking above the ridge on the opposite side of the valley [11].

Now get ready to be awestruck! As you crest the ridge, Fravert Basin appears suddenly and South Maroon Peak is looming directly ahead [12]. This is a great place to take a breather and relax with a meal. Standing on this pass, you can see much of the remaining route, with Hasley Pass off in the distance [9].

Trace your steps back down to the signed post, and take a right toward the next saddle. Hike up and over into Hasley Basin [14] with grand views of Snowmass Mountain on the other side of the valley [15]. If you’re lucky, you may see (and hear!) a flock of sheep.

The trail starts to fade out here. Your goal is to get around the second large hill and back up to the second saddle, which is Hasley Pass [9]. A large talus slope cascades down the northwest side of the second hill. Hike across the slide and the trail reappears strongly about .3 miles below the Pass. Be sure to follow it up and feel free to take another breather. See your progress as you look back from the pass [16]. From here it’s all downhill through tall wildflower meadows on a solid trail. There are great views of West Maroon Pass down the valley. Both passes can be hiked individually, but we prefer to loop them. You can also start with hiking West Maroon Pass (highly recommended) to make this a grand 3 Pass Loop.


Image

Weather in the mountains can change very fast. During the summer months it is common to have thunderstorms developing during the afternoon in the high country. Check the weather forecast before you go. Keep your eyes on the clouds and know when to turn back

Image

For longer hikes its a good idea to carry a few extra things in your pack. Make sure to bring extra food and water, rain gear, a map or gps, sun protection, and a flashlight in case your hike goes late. More information on what to pack can be found here.

Image

  • Try and use restrooms at lower elevations or practice LNT "when nature calls" (more info here)
  • Trash and human waste can take years to decompose in an alpine environment, so be prepared to pack it out 
Image

Please don’t pick, cut, or walk on wildflowers or other plants. Removing wildflowers from the wild can adversely affect pollinators and other animals that depend on that species for food and cover and affect the flowers long-term survival in that location.


Click photos to view multi-season gallery


Trail Map & Profile




Image

Enjoying this trail? Help support the people who maintain it. Donate to the Crested Butte Conservation Corps.

Featured Lodging


Purple Mountain B&B
  • B&B Lodging
  • Free Parking
  • Outdoor Hot Tub

Check Availability

After a restful sleep in one of five comfortable bedrooms, wake to the smell of fresh-brewed Camp 4 Coffee and the aroma of the morning’s home-cooked breakfast. Innkeeper and chef Chris Haver will serve up your delicious meal while offering tips on the best trail or activity of the day. There’s even a daily craft beer tasting in the living room.