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Mount Massive Trail (via South East) is a 14 mile heavily 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, rock climbing, camping, and snowshoeing and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 14.0 mi Elevation gain 4,553 ft Route type Out & Back

Dogs on leash

Camping

Hiking

Rock climbing

Snowshoeing

Forest

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Scramble

Snow

Description
Waypoints (0)
Getting There

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.

From U.S. 24 just south of Leadville, turn onto Colorado 300 and cross the railroad tracks. Drive 0.7 mile and turn left onto County Road 11 toward the Halfmoon Creek. After another 1.2 miles, turn right on the dirt road to Halfmoon Creek. Drive on the good dirt road (except for the usual washboard and potholes) for 5.3 miles to the Mt. Massive parking area on the right.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (281)
Photos (348)
Recordings (190)
Completed (608)
Tom S.
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Hiking
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A Mc
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 6, 2020
Hiking
View A's Recording
Ryan McFadden
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 4, 2020
HikingGreat!

Did this hike the day after getting to the summit of Elbert. Hike is long but well graded, plan on a decently long day (7ish hours). The ridge adds a bit more to the experience, especially for hikers not familiar with 14ers. Anyone can do with an early enough start and plenty of breaks.

Andrew Parsons
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 2, 2020
Hiking

Best 14er out of the ten I’ve done so far !

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Shaun S
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 1, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

We did the 14 mile hike instead of the 7 mile hike. It is called massive for a reason. It was a clear day and we made it up to the summit in 4 hours. This is not a first time 14r. The saddle is one of the harder parts of the trail. The rock scrambling on the ridge to the summit was fun.

Jamie Princo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
HikingGreat!
View Jamie's Recording
Kiley Ob
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 30, 2020
Hiking

Hiked on a Tuesday and didn't see another soul on top. Think I saw one guy moving around up there from another trail before I summited. Only passed a handful of groups on the trail coming down otherwise -- surprising considering this one is pretty popular. Left the th a little after 4:30 and summited in just under 4 hours including a 10 minute break. Back down in just shy of 7. I'm conditioned and do this a lot. I'd plan for it to take longer than that (I did). Made it back to the car before noon and avoided the storms. The summit was breathtaking -- if you catch it at the right point in the morning, you are standing in a cloud and watching clouds spill over and cascade down the adjacent mountains. That was something else. A couple close encounters with mountain goats really completed the scene. Clocked around 15mi on my apple watch and I'd say the trail is really more like 14.5-15mi in total. On the longer side, but that means the elevation gain is much more gradual. Plus, the terrain is very forgiving. First 4ish miles are on the Colorado Trail, winding through forest on supple ground. Then above treeline the ground is still gentler than other places at that elevation -- lots of high alpine meadow and not a lot of shifty ground or big rocks (until the very last push, which is always rocky because it's a mountaintop). Not a bad option if you are interested in trying a 14er.

Jason Sydejko
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 29, 2020
HikingScramble

Really liked this trail. You’ll definitely feel the 14 miles. The elevation really starts to pick up after mile 4 or so. Before that though enjoy the woods! Wonderful views. Definitely rival Elbert.

Jordan Bancroft
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HikingBugsGreat!RockyScramble

What a beautiful and LONG trail! Epic views (until we got to the top, extremely foggy) Definitely don't recommend this as a first 14er - but I will say this is probably the funnest route to the top of Mt Massive. But sure to come prepared with layers and at least 3 liters a water. Bit of a scramble at the top and easy to mistaken a few points as the summit. Keep an eye on the tracker! Fun day :)

View Jordan's Recording
Jeremy Barney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 23, 2020
Hiking

Did Mount Elbert a couple days before hiking Mount Massive. On paper, they have roughly the same elevation gain but this is over more miles, so it did not feel as difficult. Started early, 4:30am, and main parking lot was already half full. Got to the top when the clouds were spilling over the peaks, so it was cold but awesome to witness. Views are mesmerizing and I spent a half hour at the top just looking in all directions.

Jonathan Hodge
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HikingGreat!Rocky
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Jon Knotts
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 15, 2020
Hiking

Hiked 7/14 absolutely amazing day. This is obviously a longer 14er in terms of miles, but the grade is so gentle compared to others it flows easily. The views along the way are amazing, but once you reach the saddle it’s head turning in all directions cause everything is beautiful. The ridge walk from the saddle to the summit is very enjoyable. It’s challenging at times, but I found it to be more exciting than struggle reaching the summit. Great trip.

Kelley Kaiser
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 13, 2020
Hiking

Hike 7.11. Absolute gorgeous day. The trail is in perfect condition - no snow, no mud, really solid. WAY less crowded than people doing elbert next door. That being said, the elbert people took over both massive lots, so get there early to get a spot. We parked on the road and got there at 6:30. It’s a long hike, but pretty mellow incline the whole way. Recommend bringing more water than you normally drink, or a water filter (3 creeks at the beginning of the hike) since it was really hot and you’re exposed 3/4 of the time. My dog hiked it just fine too but again, water is key and there’s not a lot of shade 3/4 of the hike. Absolutely loved it - good views of Leadville and then mountains behind ya

JD M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2020
Hiking

Gorgeous ascent from the SE TH along the Colorado trail. Beautiful hike.

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Neal Horrom
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 10, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Astonishing, indescribable views from the Massive summit on a beautiful day! I packed in and camped about 1/4 mile past where the Mt Massive trail turns off from the Colorado Trail. I got started, from my camp at 4:00 AM! The last 1,000 feet of elevation gain up to the ridge line was challenging and painful! However, it rewarded me with a glimpse of the view that awaited me at the summit. Wow! This is the best view from a 14er I have experienced so far (done 12)! It’s probably a lot like the view from Elbert which I missed when we got snowed in on the summit last year! There are good water source along the way if you have a filter. The trail is well marked. It felt longer than 7 miles but it’s not! Enjoy!

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Mallory Petersen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2020
BugsGreat!RockyScramble

Started around 4am (took the last spot in the lot), summited in 4.5hrs. The first three miles aren't bad at all but it gets progressively harder from there. The wildflowers are blooming beautifully right now. The creek crossings were easy with lower water. There weren't too many people on the trail unlike other 14ers. I'd say it was one of the loveliest ones I've done so far with wonderful views and a scenic trail. The forest looks like a fairytale land to boot. recommend

Jen Obrien
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2020
Hiking

Beautiful trail. Great plant life and lots of creek crossings. Well marked, easy to follow. We saw lots of marmots and pikas above 12k. Fun scrambling up to summit

Simon Guérard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 5, 2020
Hiking

Great one - fairly easy and not technical. Great view! Can be done as a loop with the southwest approach which is a little more steep but nicer view on the way down. The road to the southwest approach isn't as great so was glad to have started from the southeast approach. Not as crowded as Elbert.

Kayla Meiklejohn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 4, 2020
Hiking

Super scenic trail with lots of shade for the first 3 miles. Not very many people, but parking at the TH is limited. Bring layers for when you get above tree line. Sunrise was jaw dropping and worth the early start. We started at 3:15am and turned around at 7:15am with about 1 mi to go to the summit. I was hoping to summit in 4.5 hours or less due to time constraints, but I think it would take us at least 5 or so hours. Overall, it is a long hike, but still highly recommend.

Ismael Ochoa
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 2, 2020
HikingRocky

Very scenic trail. Started at the southwest trailhead around 4:30 AM reached the summit at 10AM. Crossovers can reach the Southwest trailhead watch for oncoming traffic as the road narrows greatly. Not many people compared to the east trail mount massive trailhead. Great weather with no overcast. My 7th fourteener this season & this is far the most scenic with many snow covered mountains surrounding mount massive. Definitely will be coming back to this trail. Bring layers for a chill morning and shorts for the down hike as it gets quite warm!

Wolfgang Stiller
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 30, 2020
Hiking

Summer conditions now on the trail but there are some really nice glissades that can be done just below the summit ridge. (Be sure you have self-arrest training before attempting these). The road to the TH is fine for a normal car and there was a grader working on smoothing the road (there were still lots of small pot holes on the ungraded section but these are more of an annoyance than a real problem.

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