Mount Elbert via Mt. Elbert Northeast Ridge

17 reviews #38 hike out of 291 in
4.5 mi
Distance
1 hrs 36 min
Time
terrain
4,327 ft
Elev Gain

Overview

This is a difficult one way trail to Mount Elbert in San Isabel National Forest. Mount Elbert is the highest peak in Colorado at 14,426'.

This trail goes by Emerald Lake.

Getting Started

If the parking lot at the base of the trail is full, you can continue up the road to a second lot. There are also a number of pull-offs before and after the trailhead.

It is recommended to start this hike as early as possible to be safe in case an afternoon storm rolls in.

Taking Children

This is a difficult hike, and children, especially those not acclimated to the elevation may struggle. 4/10



    Rate this Hike

    user_profile
    1 month ago
    Started at about 5:30am and got the last spot in the parking lot on a beautiful Sunday morning. Definitely between 5.2-5.5 miles each way, not 4.5. A few dispiriting false peaks along the way, but stay strong! Very loose track in spots, not a technical climb, but also not easy. My first fourteener, and great way to celebrate my 40th birthday!
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 month, 2 weeks ago
    Longer than 4.58. My GPS mapped it at 5.48 one way, so much longer of a round trip than expected, and yes, when hiking a 14’er each mile counts.!!!! The 2 false summits were brutal... Take lots of water and be prepared for one heck of a hike/accomplishment!!
    ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    3 months, 2 weeks ago
    My first 14er at age 15... Harder than I thought, but great overall. The trail is steep and loose in spots, but overall not bad. The highest point in the Rockies is definitely worth it if you know what you're getting into. Mainly be prepared for it to get steep. When you think you're done, think again about false summits, and if it feels steep in the woods, brace yourself for the upper ridge. Despite not hearing any of that, I still had a great experience coming from Florida to hike this!
    ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year ago
    Hike MT. Elbert on 8/13 after flying in from Seattle the night before. First couple miles were chill and ran / hiked them. The last three were more of a hike and the scramble can be avoided by staying right - there’s a path. Lots of people but easy to get around. Worth the views! 3 hours up, 1.5 hour down. Lots of places to camp and bathrooms were clean! Beware - my partner got sick form the dramatic altitude change. Leadville is very high up consider the altitude difference even if you’re just driving out to the trailhead.
    ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year ago
    Great hike with very rewarding views of the surrounding mountains once on top. We started out from the trailhead at 5am and reached the top by 8:30am. It's a fairly steady incline the entire time outside of one flat section within the first 1.5miles under the treeline. Getting above the treeline (about 2.8 miles in) before sunrise was worth it if you can get an early start. There is what appears to be one split in the trail, just as you hit the steepest section (around 13,400ft). Stay to the right on the way up! To the left looks like a trail and many hikers were making that mistake only to have to turn around or scramble across the rock field to the correct trail.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year, 1 month ago
    This was an incredible experience for our first 14er. This was anything but the “easy” fourtneener as I’ve heard Elbert described time and again. Non-technical, agreed, but easy? No. Arrived at the parking lot at 5:10am and it was already full (it was Saturday) but we were able to grab one of the first pull-off spots just past the TH parking lot entrance. Hiked for the first hour under headlamp and were struck by the winds in the trees at such a low elevation and so early in the morning. Little did we know what we’d be facing once we got above the tree line. We broke the tree line and were met with sustained winds of 50+ mph, quartering right at us. Gusts every 60-90 seconds must have approached 100+ mph, as we witnessed dozens of people literally get blown over. I had to use my left trekking pole off to my side as a support brace to keep me upright. Many times had to drop to my knees in a tuck to avoid getting rolled. This made for an epic summit bid, as the winds only picked up the higher we got. We stayed at the summit just long enough to snap a handful of pics, as the wind chill must’ve been in the single digits. The descent was equally challenging, as the winds were now at our backs and blowing us down the mountain. Knees took an absolute pounding given the extra “braking” required. Best cold beer I’ve ever had in my life in the parking lot. This was one of the coolest hiking experiences I’ve ever had, being constantly reminded how powerful Mother Nature can be and how big these mountains are.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year, 1 month ago
    It is a difficult hike, but worth every bit of exertion.
    ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year, 2 months ago
    Great 14er. Hard.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile stars
    1 year, 11 months ago
    My wife and I hiked Mt. Elbert on July 10th, 2018. Not being from the area, we got an early start at 5:20 AM after camping just down the road. The trail was clear and even in the dawn light headlamps were not needed. After breaking through the treeline, we started to slow as the altitude got to us. The trail is not as well marked in two locations where scrambling is necessary, so it was helpful to have the GPS. Once on the ridge, the trail levels out a little for the final approach to the summit. Overall, it was a great experience, and one of the best hikes I have ever completed.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 month, 4 weeks ago

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    2 months, 3 weeks ago

    user_profile
    3 months, 1 week ago
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    user_profile
    9 months, 3 weeks ago
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    1 year ago
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Public Tracks

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dannyrehn 3 years, 3 months ago
Mt. Elbert
Hiked up Mt. Elbert via the NE ridge. Took a long time because we got elevation sickness after coming from sea level. Also ended up getting badly sunburned, but the view at the top was worth it.
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Chris Ballance 4 years, 2 months ago
Mt Elbert northeast ridge summit trail
This was a great climb with perfect weather. My recommendation is that if you're hiking alone and meet an ER Doctor who has a similar pace, invite them to join your climbing party :)
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billypilgrim 1 year, 3 months ago
North Mt. Elbert Trail
Helman smells bad
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