Summary: At the trailhead there are two trails. Both can be used to ascend Mt. Elbert, but the one leading North from the parking area is by far the easier trail. Follow it along a marshy low land North until you come to the marked intersection where you will turn left (west) and begin your ascent. The trail starts through some heavy woods along a stream as it climbs. As you near timberline it passes through several high meadows. After passing treeline the rest of the hike will be visible ahead of you. Unfortunately it is farther than it looks. Take your time and just keep hiking and you'll get there. The view from the top is astounding, but during the summer on weekends you will have to share this view with quite a few people.
Trailhead: From the Colorado 82 and Highway 24 intersection near twin lakes head west on Colorado 82 towards Independence Pass for 4 miles. On the right side of the road will be a paved road marked for the Lake View Campground. Follow this road for 1.3 miles (past the Lake View Campground) to where an unmarked 4X4 road heads west. The access road you are on will turn back East at this point, so if you are headed east you missed the turn. Follow this road to it's termination at the trailhead. This road is 1.7 miles long, and gets a little rough in spots. Persons with passenger cars should park back at the paved road and hike in. (Lat:39.10392 Lon:-106.39454)
Trail Guides for Mount Elbert:
by Gerry Roach (Fulcrum Publishing)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: Leadville Ranger District (719) 486-0749
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Joshua Friesema, who has posted 97 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Kim on 8/4/2010
Elbert is beautiful in September when the aspen are turning color. La Plata, another fairly easy Fourteener, is only a few miles west on the road to Independence Pass. With a low-clearance vehicle, I hiked from a parking spot at the campground area. Hike west along the all-wheel-drive road, then north through beaver ponds, wetlands, and aspen groves on the Colorado Trail until a trail heads west up a gulch into spruce groves and tundra above. Elbert has a false summit. I remember getting ready to drop my backpack, then deciding to climb a couple hundred more feet. Suddenly, I reached stepped onto a ridge above steep cliffs with an amazing view west to miles of summits.
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Keys: Colorado Hiking, Colorado Trails, Colorado Hikes, Lake County Hiking, Lake County Trails, Lake County Hikes