Daisy Pass lies on the eastern Raggeds-Wilderness border. The ridge on which it exists separates Baxter and Democrat Basins. It can be reached from the Oh-Be-Joyful or Poverty Gulch drainages. Most commonly people hike from the Poverty Gulch Road.
Copyright: Amy Pyle-Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Daisy Pass is located between Democrat and Baxter Basins west of Crested Butte, Colorado
To reach the Poverty Gulch Trailhead area drive west on the Slate River Road to the abandoned mining town of Pittsburgh. Poverty Gulch Road, Forest Service Road 734.2A, leads northwest from Pittsburgh. Turn left on to Poverty Gulch Road. To continue into Poverty Gulch you must cross the Slate River. Anytime of the year this is possible with a four-wheel drive. (I've crossed the river at this point in my Volkswagen Golf late in the summer season.) It's a narrow crossing and most people park shortly after it. If your hiking in the early summer and only have access to a passenger car park the car before the river crossing and follow the road through the gulch.
The trail doesn't begin until high in Baxter Basin. This is the same route so far, as that to reach the Augusta Mine. Continue following the road through a flat area as you head into Poverty Gulch. There are ridges on either side of the gulch that reach 11,000 feet.
The road splits before gaining much elevation. (Usually there is a snowfield that hides the fork until well into the summer. Baxter Basin Road (Forest Road 552) leads to the left and Baxter Basin. Poverty Gulch Road leads to the right and the Augusta Mine. Follow the left fork, which is easily distinguished from years of mining use, as it winds into Baxter Basin. Within the next one and a half miles Baxter Basin Road climbs 1,200 feet. This is easy hiking or horseback riding on a rough road.
At approximately 10,800 feet the trail begins, leading southward toward Daisy Pass. It leaves from the left side of the road. This is where the hiking gets steep. Within a mile the trail gains 800 feet climbing to Daisy Pass (11,600 feet).
From Daisy Pass, trail 404 continues southward into Democrat Basin. After descending into the basin the trail forks, with the Oh-Be-Joyful Trail, 835 leading to the west. Oh-Be-Joyful Trail leads (to the right) over Oh-Be-Joyful Pass into Swan Basin. Daisy Pass Trail continues southward as the left side of the fork along the head of the basin. It skirts the base of the Ruby Range as it leads toward Blue Lake. From Daisy Pass to the beginning of the short spur to Blue Lake is approximately two and a quarter miles.
After crossing the few streams that form the headwaters of Oh-Be-Joyful Creek the trail begins to ascend toward Blue Lake. At approximately 10,760 feet the spur for Blue Lake leaves the trail to the right and 404 turns eastward. Following the curve of the basin the trail leads to an unnamed pass southwest of Garfield Peak, which will be immediately in front of you. It's a steep ascent of a quarter mile to this pass, but the views of Democrat Basin, Purple Peak, Aftly Peak and Blue Lake are incredible.
Once across this pass the trail descends into Peeler Basin. Garfield and Peeler Peaks form the high points on the ridge to the north. Scarp Ridge, with several points above 12,000 feet, forms the south side of the basin. Take notice to the U-shape of this beautiful valley; it was carved by a glacier during the most recent ice age.
Traveling east toward the mouth of the basin the trail loses its steepness and begins to follow a small stream. This stream feeds Peeler Lakes and eventually joins Oh-Be-Joyful Creek. Approximately one half mile east of Peeler Lakes the trail forks again. The right fork crosses the stream. This is Daisy Pass Trail and it connects with Gunsight Pass within a mile and a half. The left fork leads over a steep ridge and back to the Oh-Be-Joyful Trail just west of the wilderness boundary.
Directions from Oh-Be-Joyful: Travel one mile north on Gothic Road and three miles west on Slate River Road. Then drive two miles east on Oh-Be-Joyful Road (four wheel drive only) to the wilderness boundary.
Directions from Poverty Gulch: Travel one mile north on Gothic Road. Turn on to Slate River Road and travel six miles northwest to Pittsburg. Then travel one mile east on Poverty Gulch Road (four-wheel drive) to Baxter Basin.
Directions from Gunsight Pass: Travel north on Highway 135 from Crested Butte to Slate River Road. Turn westward on to Slate River Road and drive three and a half miles to Gunsight Pass Road. Trail 404 ends five miles from Slate River Road on Gunsight Pass Road.