North Mount Elbert Trail

hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(1062)
Mount Massive Wilderness

North Mount Elbert Trail is a 10.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Twin Lakes, Colorado that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 10.3 miles Elevation Gain: 4,442 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

rock climbing

running

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

no shade

At 14,440 feet Mount Elbert is the highest point in the Sawatch Range as well as the state. On this 4,500 foot climb you'll be above the treeline so be prepared. You will also be at a high altitude so make sure you allow yourself plenty of time. Also, make sure to get a VERY early start because thunderstorms roll in during summer afternoons and it is highly dangerous to be above the treeline in a storm.

hiking
off trail
rocky
snow
1 hour ago

Beautiful 14er to complete. Definitely a mental challenge with those darn false summits:) large snow drifts at the timberline are slowly melting but keep an eye for the trail when trying to go around. Big potholes through the soft snow. Definitely able to complete without spikes.

hiking
muddy
scramble
snow
3 days ago

Good hike for people looking for a challenging class 2. Post-holing most of the decent. Would recommend spikes or an axe to self arrest if needed

hiking
off trail
rocky
scramble
snow
6 days ago

5/23/2020 I would recommend this trail to experienced hikers. The beginning of the hike it is easy to get off trail due to the snow. Once you get past the forest the trail is easy to follow. There are many false summits during this hike which is discouraging, but beautiful and worth the hike once you get to the top. The first false summit is a bit challenging to get up due to lose rocks, stay close to the rocks near the snow and you’ll be alright. When going down it is rough on your knees and hips. I would not recommend this hike if you have bad hips or knees. Once you get down the rocky area and hit the forest it is almost impossible to find the trail again because of the snow. I highly recommend you follow the all trails map so you have reference to where you are compared to the trail. Make sure someone’s phone is charged!! Almost everyone’s phone died because the hike took us so long, but thankfully we found the trail with 20% battery left. The hike also was much longer than expected due to getting lost in the forest area. It was about 13miles for us. Overall great hike and beautiful view. If it’s your first 14er and you are not super active and are a bit worried about it I’d choose a different one just due to the length of the hike and difficulty. Either way, Good Luck!! It is worth it!

7 days ago

As previously mentioned, there is some snow right before treeline that will require some trail finding. other than that, it's definitely do-able without crampons, snowshoes or microspikes. There are some snow fields above treeline, just stay to the right. Beautiful hike

hiking
snow
9 days ago

Snow conditions from 11-12k made it difficult with current conditions and hard to navigate. But after that it was a straight shot. Absolute beautiful views from the top make it totally worth it!

hiking
10 days ago

This trail was tough, as was expected. But what made me rate it a 3 was the loose rock on most of the trail. It was hard to keep your footing and people’s dogs running on the path kept sliding. On the way down, the attention to keeping your footing is difficult due to steep inclines and the loose shale. Very very hard on the knees due to this. Up was easier than down. However, the views are beautiful and the climb is satisfying, just not the ideal trail conditions for something that is already difficult.

Great hike with beautiful view, of course. Fairly deep snow below treeline. Snowshoes or skins would help but definitely aren’t needed. After treeline (12k elevation) the trail is clear. Enjoy!

hiking
icy
muddy
off trail
snow
13 days ago

First 14er! Too much snow, knee and hip deep post holing even with snowshoes. Lost the trail several times. Sooo many false summits! Still reached the top, but boy did it hurt

hiking
muddy
snow
14 days ago

Trail has a lot of melting snow right now. Also, the section just prior to the tree line requires snow shoes or lots of post holing

hiking
rocky
15 days ago

I hiked this trail July 26, 2019. It was without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I am from Texas and was not acclimated to altitude, was wearing ultra boosts (not a good choice) and ran out of water. Near the top it is rocky and you have to climb. Going down is very hard too because it is loose dirt and I slid a lot. Again, I wore very old beat up running shoes so that didn’t help. I recommend using poles or something because my knees hurt really bad coming down. But, it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It was very hard but so so worth it. I HIGHLY recommend doing this hike. Make sure to bring more water than you think you will need. I ran out a few miles from the top but I didn’t want to turn around and got very dehydrated. The view at the top is amazing. I hope I can hike it again but be more prepared next time.

hiking
snow
21 days ago

snow
2 months ago

March 3, 2020 4 of us snowshoed 4.5 miles to TH and then 4.5 up to summit in 9 hours. 7 hours back down. 18 mile round trip. Deep snow half of the way but low avalanche risk, no worries. 50 mph wind at top. Super fun and challenging for low altitude folks from Minnesota.

hiking
2 months ago

We did this hike on June 28, 2019. Amazing adventure nabbing my 1st 14er. State high point as well. Trail was in great shape after getting turned back 6 days prior due to weather.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
snow
3 months ago

Hiked 10/19/19. Somewhat cold and windy once above treeline at 12,000’. Had to keep moving as stopping to rest / eat chilled our hands too much! Climb from 13,300 to 13,900 false summit is toughest part. Had some altitude issues (Am reasonably fit but live at sea level) that another day or two of acclimation would have solved. Made it to the top, bloody nose and all. Going down a struggle due to altitude - felt like a drunk trying to walk a straight line. Ultimately no harm, just a 10 hour RT, certainly longer than expected. Hiking in warmer weather would have helped as that would have encouraged more food and water breaks.

hiking
3 months ago

I did this hike in May of 2018 with a friend. We were in no way in hiking shape or from any kind of area that has high altitude and we made it! It was tough, but the reward at the summit was spectacular! I think this was a great choice for someone to do a 14er that is a beginner. There is one spot by the treeline that had snow still which we lost the trail briefly and there is a STEEP part after the treeline that is a real a** kicker. This is the part where they talk about false summits and we witnessed a few people turn around there which is a real shame because after you are past that it is a breeze to the actual summit and it is unreal! There's also a spot by the treeline we got side tracked hanging with the gray jays which are definitely not shy!

hiking
4 months ago

Good 14er to start out on, and the highest one!

Showing results 1 - 16 of 1062