Mt Elbert is the highest peak in the 3,000 mile long Rocky Mountains, a mountain chain which stretches from Canada to Mexico. The peak is situated near the small town and lakes of the same name, Twin Lakes. Despite it’s size. the peak is a Class 1 hike, making it a relatively gentle giant (for a 14er). 

The Sawatch Mountain Range is home to fourteen other 14,000′ peaks, such as Huron Peak, La Plata Peak, Missouri Mountain, and Mt Antero.

StatsRoute DescriptionDirectionsNotes
  • Trailhead:       Black Cloud
  • Round trip:      11 miles / 17.7 km
  • Elevation:        9,700′-14,433′ (+4,733′) / 2,957m – 4,399m (+1,443m)

Black Cloud trail is the least traveled but the most beautiful way to summit Mt Elbert. This trail is an alternative route to the more heavily used North and South Mount Elbert Trails for climbing Colorado’s highest peak. This trail passes through spruce-fir and aspen stands, then through rock beds to ruins of mining operations and cabins. Continuing your hike will bring you to timberline, South Elbert,  and eventually Mount Elbert at 14,433 feet in elevation.

  • The trail is longer and steeper than the more popular trails
  • Mount Elbert is named for Samuel Hitt Elbert, the territorial governor of Colorado in 1873

Elevation Map


GPX Track

Video Tour

Trail Pictures