At 14,421 feet, Mount Massive is the second highest peak in Colorado at just 12 feet behind its southern neighbor, Mt. Elbert. Its name comes from its elongated shape: it has five summits, all above 14,000 feet, and a summit ridge over 3 miles long, resulting in more area above 14,000 feet than any other mountains in the 48 contiguous states, narrowly edging out Mt. Rainier. It is located in the Sawatch Range as it cut through the Mount Massive Wilderness. This peak takes an average hiker 4 to 6 hours to the top. Mount Massive area is a designated Wilderness Area. Please leave your bikes at the trailhead and follow wilderness ethics.
From the trailhead, hike north for 3 miles along the Colorado Trail to the junction at 11,250 feet. Mount Massive trail climbs steeply west to timberline, then continues west through willows and rolling tundra into the cirque between the main summit of Massive and 14,132 foot South Massive. Follow the trail to the prominent saddle and the ridge north to the summit.
On the descent, return all the way to the prominent saddle and descend the established route. Shortcutting this section of trail is causing heavy erosion. For additional information go to: http://wilderness.net
For more information on this fourteener, click on the Mount Massive information sheet.
At a Glance
||Wilderness Registration is Required Year-round:
One member of each party will be required to register at the trailhead and carry a copy of the registration with them during their visit.
There is no fee for the permit and there will be no limit on permits per trailhead.
Local wilderness users who have multiple visits each week can either register at the trailhead or pick up a monthly permit at their local Forest Service Office.
The permit will require information on the dates the trip starts and ends; the point of entry, destination and exit; the party leader’s name/organization and ZIP code, and the number of people, stock and dogs. There are also boxes to indicate use by outfitters, educational groups and clubs, if appropriate.
Registrants also will be asked to list expected destinations/camp locations, and the number of nights they expect to spend at each one.
||The back of your permit will list regulations pertaining to the wilderness, such as group size limits, dog restraint requirements, where camping is and isn’t allowed, and the fact that motorized and mechanized equipment is prohibited. In addition, the permit will urge visitors to practice the “Leave No Trace” wilderness ethic.
From Leadville, travel 3 miles west on US Highway 24. Take Colorado 300 west 3/4 of a mile to Lake County 11. Follow signs to Elbert Creek Campground. The trailhead is just east of this campground. Hike north for 3 miles to the trail junction at 11,250 feet.