ROUTE: East Ridge from South Mount Elbert 4WD TH at 10,520’
LENGTH: 7.2 Miles RT
ELEVATION GAIN: 3,913’
CLASS: Class 1 the whole route
TIME: 4.5 Hours (3 on the ascent, 1.5 on the descent)
My buddy Brandon gave me an invite to stay at a Thursday night at Twin Lakes and then hiking Elbert on Friday, so I had to say yes.
We stayed at this awesome “Double-Wide Mansion” along 82 that housed 12 for about 100 bucks. Definitely worth the money because it was a great place to hangout and there is absolutely no camping available near Twin Lakes.
Our Double-Wide Mansion
We were a little tired and a lot hungover the next morning, so we woke up at 5:30 but didn’t leave until 7. The 4WD road up to the trailhead wasn’t bad at all. A Subaru could easily make it to the final parking spots.
The trail starts on the Colorado Trail through an aspen grove and then turns left onto the Elbert Trail. It was surprisingly steep for the first mile or so through the aspen grove and reminded me a lot of the beginning of Mt. Shavano from the Angel of the Shavano trailhead. There were hundreds of wildflowers along the trail up to timberline.
Once you get above the aspens you can get a great view of South Elbert and Mt. Elbert.
South Elbert on the left, and Mt. Elbert on the right
It was pretty easy hiking the last 2 miles. A little steep, but the gorgeous views provide great motivation.
Hike up with Twin Lakes in the background
View of Massive and other mountains to the North of Elbert
Summit View to the South
Possibly the highest kite flown in Colorado?
Elbert was a great 15th for me
We finally made it and took our Which Wich picture and flew our kites for a bit. There weren’t nearly as many people on the summit as I was expecting. The views from the top were amazing. I could see the Belford, Oxford, Missouri, Huron, and even the Maroon Bells in the distance. Not even half the state being on fire could lessen the summit views.
Clouds were slowly building up the whole day so we decided to go down as fast as we could to make sure we were at timberline before any storm could get us.
Clouds chasing us down
The aspen grove at the beginning and end of the hike
The trail through the aspens is pretty steep
Our awesome summit crew
We finally made it back to the car at about 2 o’clock and celebrated by playing in the stream by the trailhead.
This hike was so much fun and had tons of great views to offer. I’m glad I can say I finally made it to Colorado’s highpoint! Gerry Roach said in his book to enjoy it, and I made sure I did!
I’m really glad we did this alternate route instead of the more popular Northeast Ridge. Great day and I can’t wait to get out and hike some more!
Stay Thirsty My Friends