Mt Elbert (14,433′), Sawatch Range

Mt Elbert is the highest peak in the 3,000 mile long Rocky Mountains, a mountain chain which stretches from Canada to Mexico. Mount Elbert is also the second highest peak in the contiguous lower 48 states after 14,505-foot Mount Whitney in California.

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






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