Mount Elbert is Colorado's highest peak and the second highest peak in the lower 48 states with an elevation of 14,433 feet. There are two main routes to the summit, which are the South Mt. Elbert Trail and the North (Main) Mt. Elbert Trail, both being well trodden class one trails. These relatively easy paths to the summit are busy in the summer, attracting all types of hikers and climbers.
South Elbert Trail is 5.8 miles long and can be accessed from Shore Pretty Overlook above Twin Lakes on County Road 24. Four-wheel drive vehicles can travel an additional 1.8 miles on Forest Service Road 125.B. South Mt. Elbert Trail forks off the Colorado Trail, which continues to Halfmoon Creek. It is the "easiest" route to Mt. Elbert, but remember, the elevation gain is still 4,800 feet.
North (Main) Elbert Trail is 4.3 miles long and is located off the Halfmoon Road (FSR 110) southwest of Leadville. The trailhead is just past Elbert Creek Campground. With an elevation gain of 4,400 feet, this trail can be quite strenuous, but definitely rewarding.
Information and directions for this fourteener can be downloaded from the Mt. Elbert information sheets.
At a Glance
||Commercial and organized groups must obtain a permit through the Leadville Ranger District Office in advance of their trip. Call 1-719-486-0749 for more information.
||Friday preceding Memorial Day - Tuesday after Labor Day
||For more information, go to www.14ers.org
South (Main) Elbert Trail - From Leadville, travel 15 miles south on US 24 to State Hwy 82. Travel west 3.75 miles to Lake County Road 24 and turn right. Go north 1.5 miles to Shore Pretty Overlook. Four-wheel-drive vehicles can travel an additional 1.8 miles on FSR 125.B.
From the end of FSR 125.B, follow the Colorado Trail, crossing a small stream and passing a small pond on your right. Turn left onto the South Elbert Trail. Follow this trail as it climbs a well-defined ridge to the summit.
North Elbert Trail - From Leadville, travel 3 miles south on US Hwy 24. Take Colorado 300 west 3/4 of a mile to Lake County Road 11. Follow signs to Elbert Creek Campground. The trailhead is just west on the south side of the road.
From the trailhead, follow the Colorado Trail south, then veer right at the junction of the Colorado Trail and Mt. Elbert Trail. Follow the trail to the summit for breathtaking views.