Mt. Elbert (North) Trailhead


Road Difficulty

2WD, easy dirt road 1   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD easy dirt road all the way to the TH

Driving Directions

From U.S. 24 just south of Leadville, turn onto Colorado 300. Drive 0.7 mile, turn left onto County Road 11 and continue another 1.2 miles before turning right onto the Halfmoon Creek road. Reset your trip odometer and follow the Halfmoon Creek dirt road for 5 miles to reach the Mt. Elbert trailhead, on the left. There is a large parking area with restrooms.

Winter Access

Usually closed just a short distance up from where the road changes to dirt - approx. 5 miles below the TH.
Status Updates 
Posted By: Thevirtualsherpa
Info: Packed snow, like if you didnt shovel your driveway for about 5 miles to TH. Middle is not packed down but unless you have a very low car, should be no issue. Got to TH no problem with my legacy w/o snow tires. Next storm of more than 4-5 inches I suspect that conditions will drastically change on the road. Pic as example of driving. Get it while you still can!
Posted By: gregpeak
Info: The last 5 miles to the trailhead is not plowed but it has been driven on a lot and the snow is packed down well. Most vehicles with good tires can easily make it to the trailhead.
Posted By: dixie2
Info: ~5" of soft snow. Made it in a Corolla with chains.
Posted By: mtgoatmike
Info: The trailhead parking lot was completely clear of snow. The road leading up to the trailhead is passable for all vehicles. There are some snow spots (compacted snow) that are slick in the shade.

(this will most likely change with the forecasted snow storm rolling through this weekend)
Posted By: bbs34
Info: Camped just a quarter mile from the trail head. Their were lost of sites open and choose from. Got to the trail head at 5:30 AM. Thought it would not be busy since it was a mid week trip, I was wrong. The lot was almost full. When got back to the the lot was still full and others parked along the road.
Posted By: vondiesel
Info: Road is completely dry. No major ruts or potholes. I made it easily in a small Mazda sedan, so just about any car should be fine. Parking area in good shape. Vault toilets well maintained.
Posted By: Mitsugi
Info: You could pretty much use any vehicle to get to the trailhead. Piece of cake.
Posted By: Toobaboy
Info: Clear and dry. No problem for 2WD
Posted By: hogantheepic
Info: Went to go climb Elbert from the North Trailhead, road out to it wasn’t plowed for probably about ten miles. If you are superhuman or have a snowmobile, getting to the north trailhead is doable, but not at all with a car. This road will be drivable in late May is my guess.
Posted By: Lithobatiks
Info: Snowy/icy most of the dirt part. Accessible to most vehicles up to half a mile from the TH, but be careful. Lots of scars from people getting stuck. The last half mile is very rough. PSA: If you get your vehicle stuck in the middle of the road, PLEASE get yourself unstuck before starting your climb instead of depending on others to help you late in the day.
Posted By: peak576
Info: Road is all good, packed with a few icy spots. No problem with AWD or 4WD.
Posted By: ZNixon
Info: Trailhead parking lot was full by 5:00AM. There are several spots where you can pull off the road and park, however. The road was an easy drive for a stock GMC Terrain. Slightly bumpy, but never questionable. Next time I must arrive sooner for a prime spot!
Posted By: RMease11
Info: Arrived to the TH on a Saturday at 3:15 AM with the lot about 1/4 the way full. TH road was dry and easy to navigate in my 2WD car. When finishing the hike, the lot was packed. Almost got parked in due to so many cars cramming into the TH lot. Would definitely recommend starting early to complete the route and get out before too packed, especially on weekends.
Posted By: connorhodes
Info: Completely dry to the trailhead. Road is very solid and any 2WD vehicle should be able to make it.
Posted By: joe_wojniak
Info: Parking is at the winter parking lot (4/20/2019) - then a 4 mile hike to Elbert Campground TH on road. Plenty of snow on NE Ridge route, snowshoes recommended. The trail is lightly used, breaking trail may be necessary.
Posted By: bond22
Info: Trailhead is closed 4 miles down the road
Posted By: Charlesbusa
Info: Road to trail head is in good shape. Parking lot filled up to about 75%. Still busy, even on a weekday.
Posted By: kmonty7
Info: The road to the trailhead is pristine. My sedan rental car had no trouble making it to TH.
Posted By: matt9094
Info: Easy drive to the parking lot in my 2WD sedan. You drive a few miles on dirt. It is bumpy in sections but never bad enough to scrape my sedan. Parking lot was full when I got there at 6am. Several people were still piling in cars, which I assume made it hard for some cars to get out of the parking lot.
Posted By: Owen Puffenberger
Info: Halfmoon Road is in the best shape I have ever seen it. Hardly any washboard, potholes, or rocks to speak of. Any vehicle should make it with ease.
Posted By: TyPieWhy
Info: 06 Honda Accord made it easily enough... any car with an engine and 4 wheels can get to the TH. The worst part of the drive was Denver to Leadville. Basically I’m replacing my breaks next weekend =(
Posted By: WildWanderer
Info: If your vehicle can handle this, you’re good, because these were the worst (and only) mud puddles I saw...
Posted By: csprang
Info: Drive to North Elbert TH has a few small passable snowbanks and one large mud puddle. Any 4x4 should get there no problem. Small passenger vehicles may still want to wait, but things are melting fast.
Posted By: Bjb9454
Info: Gravel road is impassable for the winter even by 4x4 vehicles for 4 miles before trail head. Must park at parking lot located in grassland 100 yards below the lower tree line. Snow is ~1.5 ft deep on road and has been traveled by snowmobile last week or so.
I was able to hike and stay on top of the crust with plain boots if I stayed in the snow mobile tracks. If I was off to the side, I was post holding.
Allow at least 4 extra hours for the round trip.
Posted By: lastcallben
Info: The road remains in good shape. The paved road is clear and snow free. The good dirt road starts with a few icy spots. About 2 miles before the trailhead, the road becomes mostly snowpacked in the trees, but road clearance is not a problem. There is barely enough snow for snowpack, but it can be icy and slippery. The trailhead parking lot is actually snow free and the bathrooms are open. I drive a pickup truck, but there were cars and vans at the trailhead without difficulty.

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