Mount Massive is the second highest peak in Colorado and is appropriately named, with seven summits over 14,000 feet. Elevation of the highest peak is 14,421 feet. Mount Massive Trailhead is adjacent to Elbert Creek Campground. It is a 6.4 mile, moderate to strenuous hike, with an elevation gain of 4,300 feet. This peak takes an average hiker 4 to 6 hours to the top. Mount Massive is a designated Wilderness Area; so please leave your bikes at the trailhead and follow Leave No Trace 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 or stop by the Leadville District Office.For more information on the routes, please see the Mount Massive information sheets.
There is a North Halfmoon Mount Massive route that is much more strenuous. It is listed in the day hike section below.
At a Glance
||Thousands of people enjoy climbing Colorado’s peaks. To protect natural resources and preserve the experience for others, please visit http://www.lnt.org/programs/principles.php to become familiar with Leave No Trace techniques. Some of the restrictions of this Wilderness are:
- Camping and fires are prohibited within 100 feet of water and trails.
- Groups are limited to 15 people per group with a maximum combination of 25, including pack and saddle animals.
- Dogs are required to be on a leash.
- Bicycles are prohibited.
- Organized groups are required to obtain approval from the Forest Service Office in advance.
- Shortcutting switchbacks are prohibited.
From Leadville, travel 3 miles south on US 24. Take Colorado 300 west 3/4 of a mile to Lake County Road 11. Follow signs to Elbert Creek Campground. Mount Massive Trailhead is 1/10 of a mile west of the campground.