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Mt Elbert



We will meet at the trailhead by 7:30am(NOT at The Golden Burro) , by 7:45am we will start driving in high clearance vehicles to a smaller parking area near the true trailhead- See directions to Mt Elbert below.

Call or Text Bryce at[masked] if problems or delays getting there but likely no signal at Trailhead.


A)From Denver to Leadville:

From Denver take I-70 west to exit 195, Merge onto CO-91 S toward Scenic Byway/Copper Mtn/Leadville.

B) From Leadville to Mt Elbert:

Take US Hwy 24 South out of Leadville

Once it starts heading true South go about 10 miles to Colorado Hwy 82.

Take Colorado Hwy 82 West and go about 4 miles to Lake County Rd 24 Junction on the North side of Colorado Hwy 82.

There should be a sign at this Junction for Mt Elbert Trail.

Go about 1 mile on Lake County Rd 24 to the Lakeview Campgrounds. The Trailhead is at the Northwest end of the campground. This is called the South Mt Elbert Trailhead.

There is Parking Lot there that can accommodate about 20 vehicles.


Starting elevation: 10,440 '
Ending Elevation: 14,440 '
Elevation Change: + 4,000' net elevation gain
Difficulty: Moderate plus to strenuous depending on your fitness level
Total hiking time: Approximately 5.5 to 6 hours
Round Trip Length (from upper trailhead): Approximately 7.6 miles

Mt Elbert is the highest of all 14ers in Colorado (14,440 Ft), and second highest peak in the contiguous United States, but likely one of the easiest 14ers to hike from a technical perspective. It's a gentle giant...kind of like the whale shark...and I saw one of those face to face! Heck I even saw some guy Mtn Bike up & down it once...not the shark.

At 7:45 we will take High Clearance vehicles (hopefully some of us have these) about 2 miles further into to a smaller Parking area much closer to the true Trailhead. This road can only be driven with vehicles that have approximately 1 foot of clearance or more.

The official Colorado Trail runs very close to this parking area. We will hike along for the Colorado Trail in a Northward direction until we see a sign for Mt Elbert with an Arrow pointing more or less Westward. We take this all the way to the top!

We may split into 2 parties at the top. Those that want to return the way we came, and those that want to walk the saddle over to 'South Mt Elbert' (but please, do not do this on your own!). From South Mt Elbert we would more or less bushwack it down to a dirt/gravel road that runs through a private hunting park. As long as we stay on the road, we should not get shot! You might want to wear some bright colors just to play it safe. I've hiked along this road a handful of times and so far I have no crossfire wounds to prove it. The road takes us back to where we started. It's a big loop.


The Golden Burro
710 Harrison Ave
Leadville, CO 80461
We will meet at the Golden Burro in Leadville starting at approximately between 3 and 3:30pm. Bryce will call ahead with a head count for the restaurant prior to leaving from the trail head. If you do not plan on going to the restaurant, please let Bryce know.



2) Bring extra water, as high elevations dehydrate the body at a faster rate.

3) Arrive early to secure parking, avoid crowds and afternoon thunderstorms. Be mindful of changing weather patterns and leave the summit well before storms develop. Expect cooler temperatures, strong sun and wind in the open tundra. Carry versatile layers with sun, wind and rain protection.

4) Hiking poles are highly recommended to assist with steep grades and uneven terrain.

5) Please remember that mountain hiking, especially high altitude hiking is going to mean that we will end up spreading out according to our pace and fitness levels. If you do split off ahead from the group, please wait at the summit for most of the members to arrive. If you feel that you will be in the tail end of the hike, we will provide a walkie-talkie to one host to communicate with the advance group (cell phones will not be of much use).

6) IF you run a carpool, or participate in a carpool, please coordinate with each other as to your individual pace!

7). Bring a change of shoes for the restaurant. I suggest some sort of flip-flops. Your feet will thank you!

8) Have fun!!

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  • jacqueline

    everyone was great :) thanks bryce!

    July 29, 2012

  • Bryce

    If people want to follow me to the 1st Trailhead Parking area from Leadville then I will be meeting folks at the Golden Burro at 6:50am and then leaving to the Trailhead at 6:55am. Just FYI on that in case you were a little concerned about finding the 1st Trailhead.

    July 28, 2012

  • jacqueline

    i have room for 1 or 2 more people. i live off of c470 and kipling.

    July 26, 2012

  • Bryce

    But then again if you can reach the Summit to make a call then likely you won't need to call me. :-)

    July 26, 2012

  • Bryce

    Everybody making it, you can try to reach me at[masked] if you have problems or delays getting there; however, I'm not very confident I will pickup a signal at the Trailhead. I know you can get a signal at the Summit since it is 'line of sight' back to Leadville.

    July 26, 2012

  • Greg

    I am interested in car pooling. From the Wooly Mammoth PNR or anywhere near I-70. My car does not have high clearance.

    July 24, 2012

  • Naomi

    Anyone interested in carpooling? I am coming from 104th/Tower and can meet/pick up anyone along the way. I have a 4x4 as well that can help for the high clearance if need be.

    July 24, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I have just seen the other scenic closer easier hike posted, so I'll scoot to that one as it fits my schedule (ie, Im tooooo lazy) better :) have fun all!

    July 24, 2012

  • Bryce

    Hi Jacqueline,
    Yes -- all non-foaming canines are welcome as far as I can recall up there. And Thank you fo rthe Xterra offer. We may definitely require it for hauling some of us up to the very last mile or 2.

    1 · July 24, 2012

  • Bryce

    A sad but classic example of dangerously throwing American language idioms at the innocent: 'you're really getting my goat!'...poor fella.

    July 24, 2012

  • jacqueline

    bryce-can a bring a very well-behaved dog? and i have an xterra so we could use it to do the higher clearance.

    July 24, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Given that we saw a goat on Mt Quandary, this may be something to keep in mind. :)

    1 · July 23, 2012

  • Bryce

    I would have to agree with Rob. The Golden Burro SHOULD be a Colorado Historic Landmark. How many places offer Cinnamon shakes?

    July 22, 2012

  • Bryce

    This is about 2.5 - 3.5 hour drive from Golden depending on how many Speed Limits you exceed along the way. Thus to be at the Trail Head by 7:30 am, you may need to leave from Golden by 4:00am!!!

    July 22, 2012

  • Rob

    At the very least, it is a historic landmark for Bryce :)

    July 20, 2012

  • Bryce

    I don't think is officially a Colorado Historic landmark, but someday it might be.

    July 20, 2012

  • Bryce

    FYI all. The Golden Burro is very famous in Colorado. The 3rd Oldest (staying in business continually) restaurant in Colorado. However, they have no house Beer on Tap. All the beer they sale is only in Bottles. I thought I better point this out. It's considered a Colorado Historic landmark so that's the main reason I picked this place.

    July 20, 2012

  • Bryce

    Hi Joan --- I did read the link you provided, and that does appear to be the Route we are taking.

    July 20, 2012

  • Joan

    Bryce, would this be the route we'd be taking with the 4,100 ft. elevation gain, 8 miles?

    July 19, 2012

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