Mount Elbert (Fourteener)

Area Status: Open

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. The U.S. Forest Service has many partners, including Colorado Fourteeners Initiative that help protect and preserve Colorado's 14,000 foot peaks, or "Fourteeners", through active stewardship and public education.

South Elbert Trail #1481 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 #1484 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.


At a Glance

Permit Info: Commercial and organized groups must obtain a permit through the Leadville Ranger District in advance of their trip. 
Usage: Heavy
Busiest Season: June-September
Closest Towns: Leadville, CO
Water: No potable water.
Restroom: None
Information Center: Leadville Ranger District

General Information


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.

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.  


General Notes:
  • Mountain weather is unpredictable and can change quickly. Be prepared with rain gear and extra layers of warm clothing. Always check the weather forecast before heading out.
  • Thunderstorms occur frequently in the afternoons, so plan your trip accordingly. Also, keep in mind thunderstorms build rapidly, so keep an eye on the weather and get below timberline at the first sign of a thunderstorm. Follow these Lightening Safety Tips.
  • Combat altitude sickness by acclimating gradually and staying hydrated. If symptoms (i.e., severe headache, dizziness, or nausea) do occur, immediately descend to a lower elevation.
  • At high altitudes, sunlight is much more intense and the air is much drier. Wear sunscreen and a hat, and drink plenty of fluids. Always carry a map and compass and know how to use them.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Mountain Climbing

Recreation areas with activity Mountain Climbing:

Day Hiking

Recreation areas with activity Day Hiking:


Recreation areas with activity Backpacking:

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 

  Elevation : 
9, 975ft - 14,433ft