Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

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.

Length 10.3 mi Elevation gain 4,442 ft Route type Out & Back

Dog friendly

Hiking

Horseback riding

Mountain biking

Rock climbing

Running

River

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Scramble

No shade

Description
Waypoints (5)
Contact
Tips
Getting There

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.

Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO

From Leadville, drive 3.5 miles south on US 24 to CO 300. Turn right on CO 300 and drive 0.7 miles and turn left on Lake County 11 which is a newly paved road. Drive south 1.8 miles on Lake County 11 and turn right at the signed intersection for Halfmoon Creek. Continue southwest past the Halfmoon Creek Campground and the Elbert Creek Campground until reaching the trailhead at 6.9 miles. No permits or fees required.

Directions from Leadville: From the traffic light on 6th Street in Leadville travel 3.9 miles south on US Hwy 24. Turn right (west) on State Road 300 toward the Leadville National Fish Hatchery and follow for .75 mile. Take a left (south) onto Lake County Road #11, the paved road signed for Halfmoon Creek. Follow this road for 1.25 miles and take a right (west) onto Forest Road 110 toward the Halfmoon campgrounds and picnic areas. The Elbert Trailhead is just over 5 miles from this junction.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (1345)
Photos (1133)
Recordings (1050)
Completed (2402)
Keghan Crossland
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 13 2020
Hiking

Kicked our butts. Strava gave our total moving time as 5 hours. Summited in about 3.5 hours keeping a decent pace with ample breaks. Bring more water than you think you need. Lots of loose sand and rock on parts of the trail so people slipped out a lot. Felt really accomplished at the end of the day, so highly worth the pain. Parking lot was absolutely packed as was the road for the next .4 mile. So many friendly people on the trail which definitely helped during the tough parts. Only one of the false summits was soul crushing, the others aren’t too bad.

Ryan Runion
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 13 2020
Hiking

Easy trail to follow, many many false summits, difficult decline due to loose rocks but not bad. Summited at sunrise so hiked through the night, gets much colder and windy at the top so wear pants and trekking poles definitely encouraged!

Davorin Piljic
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking

first three miles are generic Colorado forest hike..gets way better after breaking through tree line. great views 360 all around...descent is tougher than way up because loose rocks, steepness..took me about same time up and down... few people on trail started at 4 pm

View Davorin's Recording
Christa Minton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking

Great trail but heavily used, which can sometimes can be a good thing, since this was my first mountain I’ve ever climbed, and often had a lot of trouble on since I prepared my body very little (16 year old mindset of “I can do anything I’m young”) the people on the trail were very encouraging. PLEASE get there early enough and know your pace, I barely made it back to the tree line before the storms. Good trail, easiest of the trails from what I’ve seen.

Cody Pump
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 11 2020
Hiking

Hiked on Sat. 7/11. Very busy. The view at the top was worth it but the parking lot was packed at 5am.

View Cody's Recording
Robbie Bates
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
HikingBugsNo shadeRockyScramble

We got there around 5am and the parking lot was already full and plenty of people streaming in even as we had to park a little ways away. A great hike though with some of the best views you’ll ever get at the top. Take lots of break on the way up as it’s very steep. Beware the false summits. There are three of them and if you ignore this warning you will cry when you get to the top of the first one and realize you still have lots of climbing to go. Then you’ll also cry again at the second one (not saying I cried, but even when I knew about the false summits I still didn’t quite believe it and getting to the first one was very demoralizing). Don’t give up as it’s very worth it! The trail was incredibly crowded on the way up and at the top. Coming down is sketch as it’s pretty steep and there is a lot of loose rock on the trail. This was my first 14er and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a hard hike but very doable if you take your time on the way up. Brings lots and lots of water too. You’ll need it.

View Robbie's Recording
Kevin Repp
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 11 2020
HikingBugsNo shadeRocky
View Kevin's Recording
Grace Whitacre
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 11 2020
HikingGreat!RockyScramble

This was my first 14er and it was definitely tough but doable. Getting to tree line wasn’t a joke, but the getting to the top of the first false summit was the toughest part. The trail was not highly obvious and it was all rock scramble but once you get up that, you’re almost there. There is one more false peak to get up, and it’s significantly longer, but you’re about 25 min from summit after you finish the first false peak. The view from the top is breathtaking. Be very careful going down. The descent to tree line is very slick. Bring warm clothes for the last 1000 feet. Worth it 100%.

Shane Silvey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 10 2020
Hiking

The trail is easy to follow and well maintained. They were actually doing trail maintenance when I was descending. I don’t know how it got the name ‘Gentle Giant’ but I would not say that’s a good name for it. There are some very steep sections. It was tough but beautiful. Ascending-4h 10m and descending-2h 25m

Daiva Jarasius
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 08 2020
Great!

6.7.20 - Started at 5:15, there were a few other people who started at the same time. The hike was definitely a challenge for being "an easy fourteener". I knew about the false summits and thought I was ready for them but they come as a total surprise. Keep pushing though, the view up top is stunning. When I was up top there were maybe 8-10 other people, and ran into more on my way down. Not super crowded though which was very nice. Just be sure to start early.

Claude Paquin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jul 07 2020
Hiking

a classic hike. started at 5am and summited at 8:30. pretty steep despite the length. keep in mind you still have quite a bit of elevation gain left when you reach 13k. I crossed a lot of people when I started my descent, so it pays off to start early and summit before the crowds.

View Claude's Recording
BK_ photozz I.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 06 2020
Great!

Hiked on 07/03. started at 6:30am and finished around 5pm. That is at a slow pace and lots of breaks. if you aren't from Colorado or somewhere with the higher altitudes, the altitude is a big factor and it gets pretty tough. We used Boost Oxygen cans and it helped a lot! Also be mentally prepared for false summits. Every now and then some clouds came in above tree line and it rained a little bit but diddnt last long. Overall a great hike and the views are worth it! Check out usa_highpointers on Instagram for photos of Mt. Elbert!

Sander Kopseng
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 06 2020
Hiking

Did it today good experience! Start early as everyone knows. I started at 5:45am and took it slow. Summit is best part. Met many panicked 70-90 percent up worried about late day weather.

Ricky George
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 05 2020
Hiking

nice trail all the way up. prefect perfect place to watch sunrise. get there early, parking lot fills quick

Robyn Van zile
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 05 2020
Hiking

Three false summits. Three. Not what I wanted to see after 3 days of 14ering but momma I made it. Trail is straight up summer conditioners, got up and down before weather. Views at top were incredible

View Robyn's Recording
Haven Mattingly
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jul 03 2020
HikingRocky

The trail is easy to follow all the way to the top! Bring gloves and warmer clothes as it’s cold at the top! I started at 2:30 am, summit at 6. 3 hours up, 3 hours down. Let me stress this one is easy in the sense that the trail is easy to follow, and you don’t feel like you’ll fall off an edge, however it’s very steep majority of the way. My body feels like I ran a marathon this morning. The views are worth it, but it was a tough one. The false summits nearly made me cry even if reach one and see how far to the next. Be prepared for this one :)

Amanda LaPres
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

Got to the trailhead at 5:20am on Friday 7/3 and had to make my own parking spot. It was SUPER crowded, but I attribute that to the Friday before a holiday weekend. 5:30am start, the pup and I hit treeline around 7:15, and reached the summit at 9:30. Glad I was prepared and I highly recommend always bringing layers, however I found myself taking off my fleece pretty quick and never used my rain shell. Long sleeve base layer was sufficient for 70% of it. This was my first time using poles, and they were a game changer for the descent. Trail is obvious the whole way. 2 false summits. Incredible views & experience! ~4 hrs up, ~2.5 down

View Amanda's Recording
May Louise
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

Most challenging 14er I’ve hiked! It’s a long day, so go prepared. There are 3-4 false summits so don’t get your hopes up until you see the large cairn! I probably wouldn’t hike this a second time just because it’s so long. But the views are worth it!

View May's Recording
Heather Hilton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Beautiful!!! This was my first 14er. Glad I had hiking poles because it was steep in spots. Also glad I brought a beanie, gloves, & good jacket for the chilly temps.

Shashank Singh
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 02 2020
HikingRocky
Kim Michelle
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 02 2020
HikingRocky

My first 14er! Took me 3.5 hours to summit. The last 1500 feet of elevation gain are pretty tough and the false summits are discouraging. No ice on trail so leave the spikes at home! Got cold and windy so bring layers, gloves and a hat. Amazing views at the summit :) we had a fighter jet fly 50 feet above our heads at the summit!!!

Will Stratton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 02 2020
HikingRocky

What a perfect day for this hike! Pulled into the trailhead lot at 0430. The lot had 15 cars in it. Windy and cold as expected at the top but jaw dropping views.

Showing results 1 - 22 of 1345