Electric Pass hike

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Electric Pass hike

Distance: 9.1mi
Elevation: 3,652ft
Time: 6-8h

Difficulty Rating:

User Ratings:
9.3 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty

This is hike has the most elevation gain on this list. The trail up to the over 13000ft. Electric Pass is definitely not for the faint hearted, or the week lunged. The stunning panoramic views from the top are - without a doubt - worth the burning legs and exhausted lungs. Sometimes the views look better when you work for them.

Electric Pass hike Map

Getting there

Head west from Aspen along Colorado 82. When you reach the first traffic circle take the third exit to Castle Creek Rd. Follow this road for 12.0mi, until you see signs for the Cathedral Lake Trail. The sign is very small so, set your odometer at the traffic circle. Turn right and go until the parking lot.

I’ve done this 8 people have done this
I want to do this 25 want to do this route


When to do

Late June through September

Backcountry Campsites

Yes, at Crater Lake



Family friendly


Route Signage


Crowd Levels


Route Type

Out and back

Electric Pass
Elevation Graph

Route Description for Electric Pass hike

Beginning along the Cathedral Lake Trail, you’ll initially head southwest and start gaining elevation. Soon you will find yourself above the roaring Pine Creek as you veer to the west and continue climbing.

Luckily, you will soon be out of the foliage, and you’ll be granted incredible views across the valley, looking up the flanks of Malemute Peak. You will also be able to see the edge of Cathedral Lake as you look up the valley. As you ascend the views will improve.

Veering right (more to the north), you will soon reach a junction where you will keep to the right towards Electric Pass. Soon, after a handful of switchbacks, you will enter an absolutely gorgeous hanging valley. To your left the aptly name Cathedral Peak and its incredible massif will fill your view, and to your right the grassy Leahy Peak.

You will slowly climb up the gently ascending valley before veering to the east and proceeding to climb along a lengthy switchback. You will finally switchback again and start heading to the northwest.

After a few much smaller switchbacks you will finally gain the scraggly Electric Pass. Those last few switchbacks can definitely be a challenge, simply due to the thin air at this elevation. Take extreme care here to not put yourself in any danger. If you feel nauseated or dizzy, begin descending immediately. Getting to a lower elevation is the only way to alleviate the dangers of altitude sickness.

From the pass you will be awarded stunning views. Looking back you will have one of the best views of Cathedral Peak, and Cathedral Lake at its base. To your left Leahy Peak will seem quaint. Looking north you will be able to make out South Hayden and Hayden Peak. After you’ve had your fill of the thin air, return the way you came.

Insider Hints

  • As the name would suggest, lightning is very common on Electric Pass. Take care and complete this hike early in the day. Be sure to be off the pass by the early afternoon.

  • The elevation of this hike can make it more challenging for those who live at lower elevations. This can be extremely dangerous, so consider doing other hikes in the area first before attempting to hike at this altitude right away.


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RamblerJoe 2 months ago

electric pass hike was a good hike. I really enjoyed it.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
7h 00m Time Taken
kevC 2 months ago

The Electric pass was one of the best challenges yet. I could not walk straight for a day. But the hike was really worth it.

10.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
8h 00m Time Taken
Mikey 3 months ago

electric pass, similar to the buckskin trail, was great. very strenuous. i'd say this one was harder for me as it really has a part where you have to go up quite a bit in a short while. had to make a few stops to get my breath back, and same with going down after.

9.0 Overall Rating
Technical Difficulty
Physical Difficulty
7h 00m Time Taken

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