Crested Butte is so far away in the winter as one must drive around via Gunnison. In summer the drive over Kebler Pass is much shorter but still takes me about 2.5 hours from Basalt. So it is so great to be able to just hike over and the scenery is so beautiful.
This time I went with a friend via East Maroon Pass coming back over West Maroon Pass the next day. Neither of us had hiked East Maroon before and we were a bit unprepared for how much longer it takes. Also it is not nearly as well sign posted as West Maroon and we were definitely in danger of going the wrong way at least three times. Luckily we chose the right way each time and arrived at the shuttle pick up location only 10 minutes late! It took us 8 hours and 40 minutes from the trailhead to the shuttle…. Dolly’s Mountain Shuttle service was great and even brought a very welcome beer along with sodas! Although much longer this route was not nearly as steep. It was interesting to me to note the connection with the Triangle Pass and Conundrum Valley trails. Now I want to hike over via Conundrum but that would definitely require an overnight camp and I would not be able to bring my dog as dogs are not allowed in the upper Conundrum Valley.
Being a little tired from the hike over we took about 5.5 hours to return over West Maroon. There were sooooo many more people along this trail, we were just amazed at how many people we encountered as we had hardly seen anyone hiking East Maroon. We had perfect weather both days – so lucky!