West Slope, 9 Miles
4500 Elevation Gain
Starting at 9,720 ft
On Saturday, August 1 we drove (and 4×4) from Snowmass to the West side of the mountain to the town of Crystal Colorado to check out the famous and beautiful Crystal Mills. From there, we Jeeped to the trailhead and found a place to camp in a beautiful meadow near an incredible waterfall.
We woke up around 5:30 AM and started hiking around 6:30 AM. The weather was a little iffy, cloudy and overcast, calling for rain later in the day. The sheer volume of flowers and different types on the hike was absolutely breathtaking.
We hiked up the waterfall to Geneva Lake which is around 11,000 ft.
We made it to the face of the mountain and had a decision to make. This is where the difficult Class 3 hiking begins. It was around 9:30 AM and we heard from another hiker that they were calling for rain/thunderstorms around 11 AM. Probably not the best decision, but we decided to press on making a hard push to the top of the mountain. The sky remained fairly clear/non-threatening so after a difficult, sometimes treacherous climb, we reached the top of the mountain around 11 AM.
We only spent a few minutes at the top and started back down the steep mountain side. We made it back down off the face, stopped at the creek and filled up with water before the more gradual trail back to the Jeep. We made it back just in time as a lightning storm was moving in.
Snowmass Mountain was one of the most beautiful hikes I have done to date!