Mount Elbert

Mount Elbert, at 14,433 feet above sea level, is the highest point in Colorado and second highest in the continental United States.  Located in Lake County, Mount Elbert is the highest mountain in the Sawatch Range and the Rocky Mountains.  The mountain is named for Samuel Elbert who was governor of the Territory of Colorado prior to statehood.  There are two routes up to the summit - north and south.  We hiked the North Mount Elbert Trail to the summit.

Directions:

North Trailhead:

GPS: 39.15224,-106.41197

The north trailhead is along Halfmoon Creek Road.  From Leadville, head south on US-24 east for about 3 miles and turn right on CO-300 west.  Go 0.8 miles and turn left on Halfmoon Creek Road (County Road 11).  In 1.3 miles, turn right to stay on CR-11 for another 5 miles.  Trailhead parking is on the right.

Map:

Trails:

North Mount Elbert Trail (#1484):

Distance: 4.5 miles (one way)
Elevation Gain: 4500 feet

North Mount Elbert Trail starts at a parking area on Halfmoon Creek Road.  A spur leads a short ways to Colorado Trail.  Turn left and go about a mile to where North Mount Elbert Trail splits to the right.  The trail climbs above the treeline and follows the northeast ridge to the summit.

Points of Interest:

Mount Elbert:

Mount Elbert is the highest point in Colorado at 14,433 feet.  The summit provides great views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains.  Although it's the highest 14er in Colorado, its a just a trail hike, albeit steep - no technical mountaineering.

Wildlife:

I was surprised to see a variety of wildflowers growing at high elevation near the summit.  Above the treeline, there's no competition for sunlight.  I think these are hairy goldenaster (Heterotheca villosa).


Sticky polemonium (Polemonium viscosum)


Moss campion (Silene acaulis)


Shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa)

Blog Entries:

05-Jul-2018: Mount Elbert