Mt. Elbert (South) Trailhead


Road Difficulty

Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD paved to the lower (main) TH. 4WD dirt to 10,400' at the upper TH.

Driving Directions

From U.S. 24 south of Leadville, take Colorado 82 west toward Twin Lakes. Drive about 4 miles and turn right onto the 24 road. Drive 1.2 miles up a hill to the main trailhead parking area (paved) on the left. This is the lower trailhead and 2WD vehicles should park here. Continue 50 feet past the lower TH and turn left on Forest Service road 125.1B (4WD). From here it's 1.8 miles to the upper trailhead. Walk or drive up the 4WD road to reach the start of the trail.

Along the 4WD road there are many pull-offs and some camping spots. Near 0.5 mile there's a rough patch on the road but most 4WD vehicles should be able to get past it. Near 1.5 miles there's a very rough patch that will stop most vehicles. If you can't drive past this point, there's parking down the road a bit. Continue to the end of the road to find parking throughout the trees and the start of the trail.

Winter Access

Closed at the start of the 4WD road.
Status Updates 
Posted By: pvnisher
Info: Made it up fine in a mod. Cherokee. Saw a few Liberty’s all the way up, though. No snow whatsoever.
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Clear to the upper (4WD) trailhead. A few muddy spots, but nothing major. This is a 4WD road and has some rocky sections. Good-clearance 4WD recommended.
Posted By: mtnmike
Info: as of 3.10, 2WD parking is clear & dry. 4WD trail is melting down fast and was accessible to vehicles for about 1/2 mile in.
Posted By: jeffkoski
Info: Free and clear. Made it to the 4WD parking in a stock 4runner with no problems. I would not take a small SUV on the 4WD section.
Posted By: sisyphus
Info: 6-22-05: The 4WD road to the trailhead is completely snow-free. This road seemed a little rougher than a few years ago, but I was fine with a Ford Explorer. There is one fairly deep water crossing with a steep exit that might stop a smaller vehicle, but a good mid-size SUV should be fine.
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: The South Mt. Elbert trailhead (125.1B road) requires 4WD in summer. In winter the road is closed and there is 2WD parking near the start.

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