North Mount Elbert Trail

HARD 209 reviews

North Mount Elbert Trail is a 11 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Leadville, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until September. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
9.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4442 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no shade

An easy non-technical day climb, that is if you are used to the 14,440 ft elevation At 14,440 feet Mt. Elbert is the highest point in the Sawatch Range as well as the state. On this 4,500 foot climb you'll mostly be above treeline so be prepared. You will also be at altitude so make sure you allow yourself plenty of time. Also, make sure to get a VERY early start because thunderstorms always roll in during summer afternoons and it is highly dangerous to be above treeline in an electrial storm.

5 days ago

My first Mountain to hike. Started at 6am and got back to my car 4pm. Beautiful views once above tree line all the way to the top. I took my time enjoying my day alone and was in no rush hung out at the top about an hour. Last August

hiking
1 month ago

Did this hike back mid September last year. straightforward until 1/4 above treeline. got icy and a bit snowy. had to don microspikes. quads were buurrnniinnngg. vast wind gusts at the top, some shelter but not much. simply amazing views! 3L water was enough. trail was well marked.

hiking
2 months ago

They elevation made this hike more difficult, but the view from the top is definitely worth it. I started hiking around 7:50 in the morning and arrived at the summit at about 11:55. I spent about 2 and a half hours at the summit and left to head down at 2:30. I arrived at the trail head at 5:30. It was challenging but i would definitely recommend doing this hike.

hiking
3 months ago

This is a decent trail. There is one rough section just below the first false summit but it’s doable in good weather.

hiking
4 months ago

11/26, failed summit attempt... 1) 5 miles before getting to the trail head was cover by snow, challenging and kind of dangerous (have to speed up to go over hills but couldnt see incoming traffic). 2) started at 730am, but heavy snow on the trail before the tree line, have to switch between snowshoes and crampons several times. 3) struggled too much just to get to the tree line (1130) plus altitude sickness, finally gave up at the first false summit (1230). Thanks for people who posted here. I have gotten good information by reading the reviews.

5 months ago

It was an hard hike but it was one of the greatest experience I had, above tree line views are mind blowing.

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked this on Oct. 5, 2017 with Jay. We slept in his car at the trail head and started at 3 am. It happened to be a full moon that night so we were super luckily with the light from the moon. Through the beginning wooded area it was ice and it seriously required out micro spikes (we passed most people without them and I don’t know how they did it!!), then once we lost the tree line we hiked through about 4-9 inches of snow the whole way. It was incredibly difficult but the sunrise was spectacular. I did not summit as I am a bit terrified of heights and thought the final stretch vertically to the (*false*) summit looked too dangerous for me, Jay really wanted to get to the top so he made it and there were a few other people already there. The way down was sooo much easier as you just kind of tumble through the snow. Jay got a bit of altitude sickness on the way down but felt much better once we hit the tree line. The weather was gorgeous, barely a cloud in the sky. HIGHLY recommend micro spikes and I personally would never do that hike again unless it was in the peak of summer!
Start: 3 am
Summit: ~830 am
Back to car: 1 pm

hiking
6 months ago

It was challenging! But the weather was not too bad, and the view at last make it all worth it ! :) going again in November on Veterans Day weekend, hopefully the trail is open !

6 months ago

I'm not used to the altitude so this hike was hard for me, there was also snow on the trail on the last 1000 feet so it was slippery on many parts. The view at the top was worth it.

hiking
6 months ago

Awesome experience!

7 months ago

This is a tough test. From 10,000ft to 14,400 ft in 5 miles is hard going. The altitude will hit you at about 11 to 12,000 ft. It took me 4 hours to hike to the top. Did feel the altitude but pushed on through it
People along the trail did suffer and turned back
After you leave the tree line it's heavy going
It's for seasoned altitude hikers.
A great accomplishment.
Good luck

7 months ago

Very tough hike. Came from sea level and attempted this beast without acclimatization. Made it to over 13,000 feet but altitude sickness laid me low. Very sick. Was able to make it down. Learned some valuable lessons.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful!! Took my boyfriend Ty and I about 6 hours-started a little after 9 then got to the car by 3, went for a dip in Emerald Lake afterwards! We live in Breck, so we thought this one was pretty easy. Very non-technical, great views and perfect weather.:) The trick is to go on a weekday-saw about 15 people the entire time!

hiking
7 months ago

Even with the 11 miles spacing out the 4500 ft gain, this is a beast of a mountain. I got lucky finding parking - this is a wildly popular trail! The parking lot was full by the time I got there at 5:45am in the morning so I suggest you get to the trail head sooner if you plan to do this on the weekend.

The weather was great today! People were generally in a good spirits throughout the climb and someone even proposed to his girlfriend on the summit! Such a cool memory!

This is a high altitude climb - make sure you've acclimated properly and know pressure breathing if you're coming from sea level.

On a personal note, I ended up leaving my backpack in the parking lot near the thicket directly to the right of the entryway as you are coming in. If anyone has found it, please contact me at katarn2000@hotmail.com (normally I don't like putting personal in a review but it's worth a shot).

hiking
7 months ago

Very difficult hike. Plan for it to take a while... I started around 8:30, reached the summit by about 12:30-1, then was back down off the mountain before 3:30. 2-3 false summits. Be sure to get there early for parking! And definitely definitely definitely make sure you have proper shoes!

hiking
7 months ago

Not for the faint of heart- this peak is tough and the highest in the Rockies. Get an early start!

hiking
7 months ago

No way to sugarcoat this hike, for your average hiker it is hard. Not technically hard but save for a short distance in the trees you are either ascending or descending. however it is a spectacular hike. Once you break tree line you are treated to some awesome views and they continue to inspire all the way to the top. Encountered the rocks at about 13100', then the 3 false summits. As other have said get there early. we hit the trail at 5:50am, the lot was 3/4 full and experienced thunderstorms around 1:30pm. One last note, my wife and I are experienced hikers but have never hiked altitude like this, we brought oxygen canisters along just to be safe using them periodically throughout the hike and had no issues.

7 months ago

Only rated a 4/5 because it was very difficult and heavily trafficked. Great day tho.

hiking
7 months ago

I'm not from Colorado but hiked Mt. Elbert with my boyfriend a couple days ago. Starting early really is the way to go. I wish I had had poles because while a lot of reviews on this app say it's only really steep at the top, it was basically steep the entire way. But it really is beautiful and worth the hike. Going down is harder than coming up, so be prepared for that. I drank 3.5 liters of water.

8 months ago

Steep and scree up top but worth the trek. BRING WATER. I can't believe how many people going up asking about water when I descended. I had 3 liters and it wasn't enough

hiking
8 months ago

Was a little concerned going into hike because of age and living at low elevation (56-yr old from AZ), but turned out well. Hiked with poles on 8/12 with great weather. Started at 5:40 AM (parking lot already full) and summited by 10:15 with 3 others in group. Beautiful views. Must have been at least 75 people on top and many others on trail. Spent about 50 min on top. Took me 3:45 down because old man's quads were toasted! Worth the effort and time. As others say, dress in layers. Had to shed layers mid-way, but later added them as we got on upper part of trail with wind and cooler temps.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike on a fantastic day! A lot of people on the trail. Started at 5 AM and was back by 1 PM. Spent about one hour on the top with spectacular views.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike. Go prepared as I was forced to treeline (with about 15 others) on first try due to thundershowers, then had to shelter in rocks much further above treeline on second try after waiting for weather to clear with sleet and high winds. Finally made summit around 10:15 with high winds and sub freezing wind chills. All said, a fantastic day on an incredible mountain.

8 months ago

Great hike. Got stuck in two rain storms before leaving the tree line though. Strongly suggest get to parking lot prior to 7am. Took us 5 hours to climb because of rain delay and 2.5 hours to come down. Beautiful but challenging hike

hiking
8 months ago

Long day. Started at around 5:30 am, reached the Summit around 10:15. Left the Summit about 10:45, back to the car about 2:30. Bad knees means moving pretty slowly going down hill.

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

Pops summited his first 14er at 56 after riding a scout from DE > CO in two days. #altitudesickness

hiking
8 months ago

This was my first attempt (Aug. 5, 2017) to hike a 14er and I did it! I'm from San Diego (sea level elevation) but trained and prepared my best leading up to this hike. Flew in, hiked overnight Friday with a friend and tackled it starting at 5:45. This is a very busy trail. Maybe waning summer vacation time/weekend day?

All precautions you read in the reviews of this trail, take to heart. You should have plenty of water as well as electrolytes and/or food. You should dress in layers. The wind was blowing so hard, it felt like 30 degrees if it wasn't. In August. Very steep inclines, so wear good shoes and consider hiking poles. At about 13,000' I started feeling the effects; shortness of breath, slight tunnel vision, slight headache. I got sick at 14,000, but finished strong and made it to the summit right before 11 am. So happy I did. The views and sense of accomplishment carry you back down the treacherous decline. Very loose rocks until you reach the tree line again. Decline took about two and a half hours. Total of just under 10 miles round trip. If you're heading to lunch/dinner after, Q4U was an awesome barbecue place in Frisco. Try it! And try this hike but be prepared.

hiking
8 months ago

So worth the hike to the top of the mountain! Make sure to bring hiking sticks to save your legs.

8 months ago

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