Favorite Colorado Passes
Elevation: 12,462 feet
Location: T11S R86W
Topo: Maroon Bells
National Forest: White River
Buckskin Pass is accessible by foot on forest service trail #1975 in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area. It divides the waters of Snowmass Creek to the west and Minnehaha Gulch to the east.
In 1915 no trail existed over the pass, but backcountry explorers used this crossing to go from Snowmass Lake to Upper Maroon Lake by horseback. Because one horse, a buckskin, refused to take the last steep pitch on the pass, Percy Hagerman named the pass "Buckskin" and decided to recommend that the forest service build a trail over it.
In 1922, Len Shoemaker claimed to name the pass for a buck deer he saw nearby. He later surveyed a route over the pass and in 1923 and 1924 built the trail.
Look for the views in all directions from the pass summit. Often, mountain sheep can be seen in the rocky areas on either side of the top. The pass gives a great view of Snowmass Lake down on the west side.
This is a popular hiking area because it is on a well-defined (and very well used) trail in an easily accessed part of the wilderness area and can be combined with several other passes for a multi-day trip.
For more information on the Buckskin Pass, see the Maroon Lake to Snowmass Lake hike description at White River National Forest - Maroon Lake and Vicinity Hiking Trails.
© Article copyright Pruett Publishing.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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