Explore the most popular nature trips trails near Leadville with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

The hike up to the lake is beautiful, there is a variety of terrain and the change of surroundings which keeps it interesting. It goes from an all forested area to more open spaces with better views of the mountains. There are a few creeks to pass over so wear shoes you don't mind getting wet. The pebbles on the trail can be slippery in some places too so be careful when coming down.

One of the easy 14ers. Great view from top

backpacking
2 days ago

Great “1st Backpacking” trail. Elevation profile is a little deceiving as you do most of the climb just before the lake. Around the lake you will find several “developed” camp spots with fire rings and logs to sit on. Absolutely gorgeous. Rained all morning so plan appropriately. Most people know it rains in Colorado in the afternoons but at this altitude and locale it can rain all day in late summer/fall.

Trail is an old Jeep road so it’s wide most of the way and easily passable with a pack. Lots of people frequent this trail but it’s a great hike with a gorgeous payoff to reward your hard work. Camping around the lake is recommended!

hiking
3 days ago

This a beautiful trail and I wish I'd had more time to enjoy it. The views are INCREDIBLE. A few people were out but not crowded. I would have liked to have seen more wildlife but that's my only complaint. Definitely recommend!

hiking
3 days ago

This was my first 14er and I did it on 8/17 with my husband. Weather was perfect for us and we made sure to leave the summit by 11:00 to be safe in case of afternoon thunderstorms. We are reasonably fit middle aged people and this was very difficult for us but we finished it! The altitude was hard for my husband but I don't think it bothered me much. My heart and lungs were pounding from all the climbing (it gets hard above the tree line) so I couldn't tell if it was my fitness level or the altitude! We weren't prepared for all the rocks you have to maneuver. It was great to reach the summit and I'm glad I didn't know at the time how hard the descent would be. I recommend the hike but definitely know that it is difficult for those without experience. I recommend 2-3 liters of water. We each brought 3L and used all ours, probably because it took us quite a bit of time.

This hike certainly lives up to all the reviews I read before taking it on today (8/18/18). Elbert is a beast! I had read about the first false summit and thought I was mentally prepared since it wouldn’t be a surprise for me. Not the case. It is a Soul Crusher which I have officially named it. Our day started early at 3:45 AM. Plenty of parking at that time and you can easily reach the tree line to watch the sunrise. As we approached Soul Crusher the skies above Mt Elbert opened up with snow, hail, sleet and +30 mph winds for at least a couple of hours. Thankfully there was no lightning and my crazy stubborn self marched on. I summited by 9:30 (I am super slow-mo) amidst the blizzard conditions. The view atop the peak was non-existent but nonetheless the beast was conquered! Today would’ve been the perfect day to start ascending around 10:00 AM because the sun came out and the skies cleared as soon as the storm blew through. Who knew? Remember, this is the Colorado Rocky Mountains....be prepared for anything!

I did this hike on August 15 and the climate was absolutely wonderful. The reviews helped me make the decision to go on this hike and I really recommend taking a jacket for the cold and to travel light. It helped me a lot to drink Emergen-C before and after the hike to hydrate my body. I recommend doing that. It was my first 14ner and it was excellent!

Gorgeous hike. Lots of good wildflowers. Not too hard and lots of short flats to break up the steep uphills. Very lightly trafficked. Nice if you want to stay away from the crowds. Would recommend. Parking lot was pretty small so maybe get an early start.

Flew in from Vegas just to complete this Mountian. Me and my fiance have done many high elevation hikes, Boundary Peak (Nevada high point), Mt. Whitney, Charleston Peak, and many many more. I have never got elevation sickness. On Saturday we attempted this summit from black cloud trail and 3 miles in, I was throwing up, light headed, etc. Had to come back down to camp to sleep and hydrate. I was very upset as we had to head back to Vegas the following day. I said: I am not going home without doing Summiting this. The following morning we had woke at 330 am and hit the trail at 425-430 am. We made it to the summit at 7:45 am, took quick picks of the hazy horizon (smoke) and departed after 10 min on the summit (had a flight to catch). We were the second group to the summit that day. We made it back to the trail head at 10:12 am. Ran the last 500 yards to get to the trailhead before 10:15 for a great accomplishment. We brought a bottle of the oxygen that they sell everywhere you go, and it WORKS. You get your breath back immediately. Get an early start, wear warm clothing. The hike is really easy the first 1.5 miles. At the top of the tree line we had an average pack of 2.6 MPH, which slowed down after the tree line. That's when the climbing starts. We had a blast! The hike is a challenge, when you're in a hurry. The 3 false summits suck. Bring trekking poles and start early. When we were heading back down and made it back to the tree line, there was soooooo much traffic. Too many people underestimate this hike and start around 8 am. Get to the trailhead at 4 am and give yourself time. Happytrails.

trail running
6 days ago

What a beautiful trail! Portions of the trail open up to the sandy, sometimes rocky shoreline and other sections are quite secluded thanks to the trees. There are some pleasant hills and a few more rocky down/uphill spots that were really fun! Would have rated higher if there weren’t so many campsites along the trail, but that’s definitely a plus if you’re looking to camp by the lake!

This was an amazing hike and the view was incredible! It helped to have the weather cooperate for 100 percent of the day.
I was hiking with a group of 12, ages from 14 to 58, and physical fitness levels ranging from sedentary to extremely fit. The fit people didn’t have a problem completing the hike, 2 sedentary people made it past tree level but ended up turning around, and a few people (me included) who hadn’t been very active in the months previous but had some physical fitness before, made it up but it took a long time and it was hard to say the least. It was definitely worth the effort! The elation of everyone at the top was thrilling to be a part of and it maxed out all my happy endorphins.
I was pretty sore for many days after the hike but so glad I was able to complete it.

hiking
7 days ago

Tough hike in general, but easy for 14ers. No hike is easy when with so little oxygen though, so don't underestimate it. The climb is relentless, and due to loose gravel and steep grade you'll want good hiking boots for the way down. Saw several people slip and fall, and 2 out of 3 of us in my group with good hiking boots took spills going downhill as well. Very rewarding for such a short distance. Go on an early weekday to avoid the crowds. And summit before noon to avoid electrical storms!!!

A great easy hike around a lake that is over looked by Mt Massive and Elbert. Beautiful views around the lake, a nice acclimation hike.

Wonderful hike! We started in the dark at 5:03am, and summited right at 9 am. We were down and in our car just before noon. So, approximately 7 hrs round trip at a slow and steady pace.

Oh, also...
Those false summits are soul crushing by the second one. I knew going into the hike that there were 3-4. I was still disheartened, but ultimately pushed through that mental barrier.

Completed this hike on Sunday the 12th. It was one of the most strenuous hikes I have done but it paid off at the top. Got to the trail head at about 5:15am and the outer ring of the lot was already full. Found a spot off the "road" and was on the trail around 5:30am. The first 1.5-2 miles is a steady incline which isnt too bad. At the 2-2.5 mile mark, the incline sets in. The worst of all is at about 3.5-4.5 miles in which is the steepest part. About 1k feet per mile in gain. I reached the summit around 8:30am after 3 or 4 false summits(great resting points). Incredible views of Twin Lakes, Mt Massive, and the entire Collegiate Peaks range. There were times it was a bit windy but once the sun came up, the win was very refreshing and welcomed.

Start as early as you are comfortable. The lot will get full quick on the weekends so be mindful of parking. Speaking of, I saw a few cars boxed in that could not leave. Not sure if they were part of a group but I had just enough room to get my vehicle out of the area it was in due to double and triple parking. Please do not do this as the last thing you want to do when youre done with this is wait for someone else to complete it and get back to their car.

Camped for free along the road leading up to the trailhead. Got my car to the parking lot at 5:30am and set off at 6. I wore leggings, a long sleeve, trail runners, and a dollar jacket I got from a goodwill. Took a 2L camelback and that was plenty. There are some parts above the tree line that are steep with lots of loose rocks, I took quite a few short breaks. So worth the effort once at the top!! Made it down by 11:00am. I do wish I would have brought gloves with me. Also, don’t carry a bunch of stuff you don’t need. The hike was easier because I carried light.

Amazing and rewarding hike completed 08/12 with the wife. Steep most of the way especially after treeline, about 3 false summits but easy stretch to summit. Great weather.

It’s a nice trail, but it is not easy. Non-athletes will struggle . This is a moderate trail, not easy.

Awesome hike today. I am kind of a rookie in hiking 14er (my 4th). My friend and I started 7:00 and we had a parking spot in the parking area. Hiking through the tree line was fairly moderate. Took a 20 mins at tree line. From tree line to nearly 14000 ft is steep and gravelly. There are couple false summits, however the summit stretch is very easy and rewarding. We summited a little before 11:00am. Enjoyed our top view for 45min. Going down was not easy, but took us shy 2 hour to get back to the trailhead (back in the car a little before 2:00 pm). Total hike 6 hours.
My recommendation:
1. One step at time (from a rookie prospective) and avoid sitting down, but try to slow pace yourself.
2. I recommend ibuprofen before/during hike. I am NOT a doctor nor a nurse but it helps me with altitude sickness. Please consult your doctor.
3. Good hiking shoes will be beneficial going down. It can get windy, so a windbreaker jacket will be great to carry.

Nice work out with obviously great views from the top. Very popular trail, even on weekdays. Tons of great dispersed camping options on the way to the trailhead!

Strenuous hike- especially for those who aren’t used to the altitude, but highly worth it. Amazing views as soon as you leave the tree line. beautiful wildlife and vegetation throughout entire hike. Get an early start and remember that it is just as much mental as it is physical!

I hiked this trail with two friends and our dogs a couple weeks ago. We camped in the surrounding area so we could start early and I'm glad we did. We took many breaks on the way up as the elevation gain and climb in general was pretty tough. This hike was by far the hardest I've ever done but so worth it. I highly recommend poles for the journey down.

Yesterday was a perfect day with no wind at summit. Started in dark at 5:30 and summited at 9:30. Almost entirely uphill and very steep at times. First false summit is hard, but after second you see the summit. Poles highly recommended, and road is quite rugged in spots.

Nice lake but nothing spectacular--consider it an average Colorado hike. We actually did this hike on July 21 from a different TH, which you can get to by taking the FR107 (high-clearance 4WD road) north of Lake County Rd 9. My review is for that TH. By going from that TH, it cut the total distance of the hike in half to about 3 miles RT with about 400 feet elevation gain--this was the perfect distance for our 3-year old. But going this way, you do have to hike uphill on the way back, which is not ideal for young children. The trail goes by the Continental Divide Trail and you hike mostly on the Colorado Trail. We had to climb through a few rock fields and over some boulders to get around to part of the lake, but nothing unmanageable or scary. We saw chipmunks, squirrels, wildflowers, and only a handful of people, most of which came up from the Timberline Lake TH. Mosquitoes were around a little bit throughout the trail and were the worst at the TH. With our leisurely pace and lunch break at the lake, it took us about 3 1/2 hours total. The TH isn't too far from the Leadville Fish Hatchery, so that was a big after-hike hit with our boys.

hiking
11 days ago

This was my 2nd 14’er (Bierstadt was the other) and the first for my son and sister who was visiting from sea level. We hit the trailhead at 9:00am on the first Sunday in August. There were quite a few others hiking, but most on their way down.

It took us a bit under 2.5 hours to summit with a number of pauses. The ridge was super windy, but it was quiet at the top with great views of Leadville, Turquoise lake in the distance as well as the surrounding mountains despite the fire haze. Hiking poles helped as there is plenty of loose rock and ankle twisters to hike across on the way up.

There are a lot of cool abandoned mines and mining equipment to look at right near the trailhead. That can make the bumpy drive worth taking even if you don’t complete the full summit.

It sprinkled a little on our hike and was cold near the top so we were happy to be prepared with rain and warmth layers. I saw a number of hikers who weren’t as prepared.

I agree it’s a great first 14er due to the short distance of the hike, but don’t let that fool you, it’s still a climb at altitude and my legs were complaining afterwards!

Started later than I planned (7:30am) and the parking lot was full as already stated. One thing I’d disagree with would be the post-treeline portion was definitely not easier than the forested parts. Started off at 44° with long johns and a Patagonia, after the tree line switched to a dry fit and just pants, coming down at 11:30am switched to shorts and a t shirt. No wind weirdly or rain but lots of pre-noon smoke haze from California. A grueling hike but definitely worth it. Poles all the way if you have them!

hiking
14 days ago

Beautiful hike!! Not too hard and goes through several types of terrain.

hiking
14 days ago

Has at least half a dozen falls peak till you reach the summit and the view on the other side of the peak is just worth it.

Tips
1. Start early (Started at 3.30am from Denver, reached at 5.50am at parking lot and it was almost full.)
2. Carry lots of fluids (2-3L)
3. Get above the tree line quickly - Action is above treeline
4. Section before the first false summit is the toughest (ascent & descent) - It gets relatively better after that.
5. Be prepared for altitude sickness about ~12,000 ft - carry medication for that if necessary
6. An Advil/Brufen can help (no recommendation here, but it helped me)
7. Keep your backpack weight down (Every ounce counts)
8. Keep an eye out for bad weather (Weather is so unpredictable above the treeline - although, you could get lucky even in the later afternoon and it can be much nicer at times). Layer up. No matter what, its gonna be very windy up there.
9. Maintaining slow and steady progress will be crucial.
10. This is a psychological challenge as much as a physical one.
11. Suggested items: Sunscreen, sunglasses, hiking boots, hiking poles, energy bars

Endurance is the key

hiking
15 days ago

My first 14er

Arrived at 8am on Saturday. Parking lot was full and tons of cars were lined on the street. We had a 4x4 pickup and found a spot driving up on the shoulder. This was only a 5 minute walk to the trailhead.

Started at 8:15 am and the weather was ideal mostly clear and sunny. Most hikers had ascended much earlier so there were few people going up at this time. You start climbing almost immediately so be prepared for very early inclines. Below the tree line offers many areas to relieve yourself in private.

Above the tree line you continue to encounter steep climbs but over 95% of the time you can simply just walk up. Given our late start many hikers were coming down at this time.

Nearing the top you have 3 steep climbs. The first provides a nice staging area to recover before your ascent to the false summit. After the false summit your adrenaline will carry you up to the summit where you can take your obligatory pictures.

Going down is rough on your quads and toes and choosing a correct path without slipping on the gravel can be a challenge. Many hikers were spotted with bloody knees and shins and this was a relatively clear and dry day.

Overall it took us a little less than 7 hours to go up and down. My group has climbed several of the "easy" 14ers and this was the hardest one secondary to the steep climbs. The payoff however is worth it as the views are incredible and you can say you climbed the tallest mountain in Colorado.

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