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Mount Elbert Trailhead

Twin Lakes, CO 81251, USA
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Mount Elbert Twin Lakes Colorado United States

Mount Elbert

The highest peak in the Rocky Mountains (and east of the Continental Divide) is also the second-highest peak in the lower 48 after Mount Whitney in California. The easiest way up is via the 5.5-mile South Elbert Trail, which climbs 4,600 feet from the Shore Pretty Overlook above Twin Lakes in the Arkansas Valley. The first 1.8 miles of the trail is along a 4x4 road and can be driven if your vehicle is capable. From there you’re nearly at tree line, and the trail gains the eastern ridge to the summit. This hike takes most of the day—but the Forest Service advises getting off the summit by noon to avoid thunderstorms—so get an early start (predawn) and pack a lunch, water, and appropriate gear.