Mount Massive Trail (via South East)

HARD 29 reviews

Mount Massive Trail (via South East) is a 12.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Twin Lakes, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, camping, and snowshoeing and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

12.9 miles
4619 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash







wild flowers




Leave the parking area and begin hiking up the Colorado Trail (also the Mt. Massive Trail) - Hike for 2 miles and cross South Willow Creek at 10,900'. Continue for another mile and cross Willow Creek at 11,000'. Both of these crossings are fairly easy unless the rocks are submerged or icy. Continue northwest up a hill and then north to reach a trail junction at 11,300'. Leave the Colorado Trail by turning left up the Mt. Massive Trail. Hike about 1/4 mile up a hill, through some small clearings, and reach 11,500' where the terrain flattens out and you can finally see portions of Massive ahead "South Massive" (14,132') is in full view to the west. Continue to a flat area at 11,800' where the next leg of the route is obvious. Grassy Point 12,466' is dead ahead and the trail ascends it on it's right (north) side - Photo #6. Zig zag through willows and begin the ascent around Point 12,466'. The hiking here is still Class 1 but it's the steepest part of the route so far. Reach easier ground near 12,400' where the top of the point is off to your left and most of the remaining route is now in view to the west. With 2 miles remaining, the summit is still a long way off. Your next goal is to reach the saddle between "South Massive" and the summit ridge, but 1,500' of vertical gain remains below the saddle. Continue up the excellent trail as you gradually gain ground and eliminate distance. Near 13,000', gain a small hill for an unobstructed view of the remaining hike to the saddle. Keep hauling to reach the 13,900-foot saddle. Less than 500' of vertical gain remaining, but the terrain now gets more difficult. Turn right at the saddle and follow a small trail up toward the summit ridge. The trail stays right of the ridge crest and is often covered with snow in late spring. Continue on trail segments and over talus to reach the summit ridge above 14,200'. The exact line to the ridge depends on snow conditions and/or route finding along the broken trail. This ascent does not exceed Class 2 hiking but you will have to look for lines around some of the rock formations near the upper ridge. Near the ridge, reach a notch and a signed (hopefully) trail junction. This is where the Southwest Slopes trail comes up from the south. Past the junction, stay right of the ridge crest and weave up through the rocks to reach easier terrain on the ridge crest near 14,300. The summit is not far off, but still is not visible. Gain a large false summit where you can finally see the summit - . Drop to the left (west), continue to a saddle just below the true summit , and follow the faint trail over to the top.

3 days ago

We went on 7/15/17 and started a little later than we hoped around 7am. We went for the shorter distance trail and views on the way up were completely worth it!

6 days ago

We went in early june which was too early due to snow covering most of the trail which probably added 2 hours to the climb as we kept losing the route.

But the Forrest section is very cool, with a few rivers to cross. And then the last hour going up the peak is very steap and pretty hairy at parts. views at the top we're great and enjoyed every second of the climb.

We started at the trailhead at 5am and didn't see one single person, but again this was June 3rd 2014 and was still very snowy

18 days ago

Started day one with Mt. Elbert summit then hit the Mt. Massive trail early afternoon. We camped at 11,500 and enjoyed a quiet, but cold, night under the stars. Early departure for summit at 4am and enjoyed every aspect of the summit hike. The view from the top of Mt. Massive is spectacular, especially at sunrise. A much different experience than Mt. Elbert, challenging but a great hike. Broke camp at a leisurely pace and on the road by Noon.

19 days ago

23 days ago

1 month ago

1 month ago

1 month ago

Tough hike--one of the harder 14ers. Still quite a bit of snow, so pack appropriately! Waist deep in places.

1 month ago

1 month ago

2 months ago

This still reigns as my favorite hike of all time. Such a gorgeous creation of God. The views from the peak are breathe-taking and even the hike up is lush with so many wild flowers and greenery. I wish I could give this six stars. Absolutely would recommend!

3 months ago

gorgeous, difficult ♡

9 months ago

10 months ago

11 months ago

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Beautiful hike! Long approach around the skirts of the mountain through the woods then a straight ascent to the ridge. Amazing views of all the wilderness to the west. I saw mountain goats! So many wildflowers as well. July 18th.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Favorite climb to this point in my climbing career. Really enjoyed this day. The valley is spectacular with lots of streams, trees, boulders and views. The day was magnificent so I stayed on the summit by myself for 45 minutes. Quite an adventure.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

one of my very favorite 14ers, completed 8/31/15. started at 430a and finished at 11a, included 15-30min stop at the summit.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015