Colorado 14ers: Mount Elbert

This 11.6-mile route wanders through a lovely forest, climbs wind-swept slopes and ends with top-of-the-world vistas on Colorado's tallest peak.
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This 11.6-mile route wanders through a lovely forest, climbs wind-swept slopes and ends with top-of-the-world vistas on Colorado's tallest peak.

-Mapped by Timm Paxson

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 9.3

Waypoints

ELB001

Location: 39.0995330810547, -106.367256164551

From the South Mt. Elbert trailhead, head W on 4WD road for 1.8 mi. to upper 4WD parking area

ELB002

Location: 39.1042213439941, -106.394500732422

From the upper 4WD parking area, follow the Colorado Trail to the N; cross creek on foot bridge

ELB003

Location: 39.1060180664062, -106.394973754883

Stay L @ Y; continue N

ELB004

Location: 39.1094207763672, -106.393898010254

Turn L @ T; leave the Colorado Trail and follow the Mt. Elbert Trail to the W; trail weaves through sun-dappled aspen forest

ELB005

Location: 39.1094207763672, -106.400199890137

Wind to the NW through conifer forests dotted with meadows

ELB006

Location: 39.1177406311035, -106.413200378418

Climb past treeline on dirt trail winding up grassy slopes; continue NW ascent to Elbert's E ridge

ELB007

Location: 39.1207084655762, -106.41919708252

Summit the crest of the E ridge; follow trail to the W

ELB008

Location: 39.1211395263672, -106.423698425293

Continue ridge climb; boulder-spotted trail curves to the SW

ELB009

Location: 39.1191101074219, -106.431602478027

Continue SW; follow the cairns

ELB010

Location: 39.1179084777832, -106.437599182129

Talus-covered trail drops to the SW, then cuts W

ELB011

Location: 39.1158027648926, -106.443817138672

Trail juts to the N toward the summit; prepare for switchback climb up Elbert's SE slopes

ELB012

Location: 39.1176910400391, -106.44539642334

Mt. Elbert (14,433 ft.): Collect views from the tallest peak in the U.S. Rocky Mountains; Mt. Massive rises above San Isabel National Forest to the N; Twin Lake Reservoir stretches out to the SE. Retrace route