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Mountain Biking: Colorado > Pike and San Isabel National Forests > Leadville Ranger District

Quick Facts

Mt. Elbert

Beginning Elevation: 10,100 Feet (3148.4 Meters)
Difficulty: Most Difficult
Elevation: 10,100 Feet (3148.4 Meters)
Elevation Gain: 4,333 Feet (1350.7 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 14,433 Feet (4499.1 Meters) summit Mt. Elbert
Length: 5 Miles (8.33 Kilometers)
Other Maps: Trails Illustrated 127 Aspen, Independence Pass
Trail Number: 1484
Usage: Very Heavy
USGS Maps: Mt. Massive, Mt. Elbert

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Mount Elbert from Leadville Highway
Copyright: Marshall Hall - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Mount Elbert from Leadville Highway
Mt. Elbert is Colorado's highest peak with an elevation of 14,433 feet. It is named for an influential leader in the state, Samuel Elbert. The trailhead is located on the south side of the Halfmoon Road west of the two campgrounds. This trail is moderate to strenuous hiking with an elevation gain of 4,314 feet. It takes the average hiker 4-6 hours to reach the summit and approximately 2-hour back down. Be aware of changing weather conditions on mountain peaks and be prepared. For those who don't wish to summit the peak, there are many excellent views from various points along the trail.

Samuel H. Elbert (1833-1899) was an outstanding and widely known civic leader in the Territory and State of Colorado. Mt. Elbert, Elbert County, and the town of Elbert, Colorado were all named in his honor. Elbert served as Colorado's Territorial Secretary, Territorial Governor, and State Supreme Court Justice. Active in the formulation of mining legislation and reclamation projects, he promoted concepts of conservation and irrigation which were ahead of his time.

Due to heavy erosion on the North Elbert Trail, the U.S. Forest Service reconstructed a three mile section of this heavily used trail in 1992. Restoration of the old route is estimated to take 50 to 100 years, due to the fragility of the alpine vegetation. Please keep this in mind and help us and these alpine landscapes by staying on the established trails.

Directions from Leadville: From the traffic light on 6th Street in Leadville travel 3.9 miles south on US Hwy 24. Turn right (west) on State Road 300 toward the Leadville National Fish Hatchery and follow for .75 mile. Take a left (south) onto Lake County Road #11, the paved road signed for Halfmoon Creek. Follow this road for 1.25 miles and take a right (west) onto Forest Road 110 toward the Halfmoon campgrounds and picnic areas. The Elbert Trailhead is just over 5 miles from this junction.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: May through September (NOTE: Snow may obstruct the trail during the Summer months.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: Amazing view up top lots of ppl on top
Conditions: sunny below timberline more chilly up top
Water Availability: drank out of a stream of the trail secret spot ie gone and camped twice and brought water bottle
Recommended Clothing: bring a small jacket up top in case of bad wheather also a poncho
Suggested Accessories: a camera 2 get the amazing view

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly

Difficulty: Hard
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Hiked this in the middle of September on a weekday so crowds were at a minimum. I'm a near sea level dweller, so it took me about 4-5 hrs to summit. Get an early start: ~6 am Carry plenty of water: 2L per person will probably not be enough unless you have camel like qualities. If you're in reasonable shape and get a very early start you should be able to summit if the weather holds out for you.

Difficulty: Hard
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: planned roundtrip to summit 07/26/01 altitude 13100ft. turned around by rain, cold.

Difficulty: Hard
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: A difficult, but managable trial, for those with little steep-incline, high-altitude experience. Incredible views!

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking North Mt. Elbert Trail
ICON Horseback Riding North Mt. Elbert Trail
ICON Mountain Climbing Mt. Elbert (north route)

Related Activities
Colorado Trail (Halfmoon to Twin Lakes) - This segment of the Colorado Trail begins in the Halfmoon Drainage and continues for approximately 6 miles to the Lakeview Campground above Twin Lakes.

Elbert Creek Campground - All campsites in the Halfmoon Drainage are first come, first serve. The Elbert Creek Campground has 17 sites available, and an allowance for trailers 16' and smaller.

Emerald Lake Family Picnic Ground - Emerald Lake Family Picnic Ground is located on Halfmoon Road west of Leadville. Visitors to this site will enjoy access to hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, four-wheel driving and fishing.

Halfmoon Campground - All campsites in the Halfmoon Drainage are first come, first serve. Twenty-four sites are available in the Halfmoon East & West Campgrounds with the maximum RV length of sixteen feet.

Halfmoon Road - Halfmoon Road begins on Fish Hatchery Road (#300) and continue to the Champion Mine. The first 7 miles are accessible to 2 WD vehicles.

Mt. Massive - 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.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Leadville Ranger District, U.S. Forest Service, 2015 North Poplar , Leadville, CO, 80461, Phone: 719-486-0749, Fax: 719-486-0928


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