The splendid panoramas of jagged summits would be reason enough to hike the West Maroon Pass trail. But the seas of rainbow-coloured wildflowers that carpet these valleys in July and August mean hikers risk sensory overload. Nowhere else in Colorado will you find such vibrant concentrations of high-alpine blooms, which is why the nearby town of Crested Butte is known as the state's wildflower capital. The route starts at Schofield Pass, 14 miles north-west of town, and follows the east fork of the Crystal river through meadows of waist-high columbine, larkspur and lupin. After 4.5 miles and 2,090 feet of climbing, hikers reach West Maroon Pass and its 360-degree vistas of Pyramid Peak, the Maroon Bells, and snow-capped mountains in all directions.
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