Mt Massive East Slopes Standard

Mount Massive Wilderness Area, Colorado

Elevation Gain3,486ft
Trailhead Elevation14,247ft
Elevation Min/Max11087/14419ft
Elevation Start/End14247/14273ft

Mt Massive East Slopes Standard

Mt. Massive East Slopes (Standard) is a hiking trail in Lake County, Colorado. It is within Mount Massive Wilderness Area. It is 3.6 miles long and begins at 14,247 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 7.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,486 feet. The trail ends near Mount Massive (elevation 14,386 feet). There is also an information guidepost near the end of the trail. This trail connects with the following: Mt. Massive Southwest Slopes.

Mt. Massive East Slopes (Standard) Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Colorado's Incredible Backcountry Trails (Rincon Publishing)
David Day
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"As you may already know, Mount Massive is the second highest peak in the Colorado Rockies. At one time it was thought to be the highest peak, but a later survey determined that the nearby Mount Elbert was slightly higher. Mount Massive, however, will always reign supreme in one respect. As its name suggests, the sheer volume of the mountain is far larger than any other fourteener in Colorado. The huge massif contains some 300 acres of land above the 14,000-foot level, including two other nearby peaks, South Massive and North Massive that rise to 14,132 feet and 14,340 feet respectively. The other two peaks are not officially classified as stand-alone fourteeners, however, because the connecting saddles between them and the main summit are not quite 300 feet lower in elevation, as tradition demands."
100 Classic Hikes in Colorado (The Mountaineers Books)
Scott S. Warren
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"Although Mount Massive is Colorado’s second highest summit, with an elevation of 14,421 feet, it is readily accessible to hikers, thanks to a 7-mile hiking route that climbs all the way to the summit. Like its neighbor, 14,433-foot Mount Elbert, the summit of Mount Massive provides some of the most impressive vistas to be found anywhere in the Lower Forty-eight states. The hikes up both peaks begin at adjacent trailheads on Halfmoon Creek Road."

Mt. Massive East Slopes (Standard) Trip Reports

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Mount Massive is a very popular trail, usually made into a long day hike. We thought we left early, hitting the trailhead at 4:15 (summit before noon to avoid thunderstorms!) but we weren't even the first group on the trail! The first half of the hike is fairly easy, but once you make the turn up to Mt Massive from the Colorado Trail, it becomes a consistent moderate grade. We made the summit by 9am, so in just under 5 hours. The trail was very well marked, but it's easy to get confused about which peak is actually the summit. I think we were on the right one, but we never found the register... oh well. Cool views of Leadville the whole way, and of course spectacular mountain range views from the top.
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My wife and I hiked up the back side of Mt. Massive. The enitre route is basically an easy scamble, but well worth it. The hike is very steep only taking a few miles, and there are many rocks and scree fields to climb over. Was a beautifully sunny day, until shortly after we go to the top. We walked back down the front of the mountain -which is well advised, given the rockiness of the route and incoming rain. Be advised though that the hike back to the half moon lakes parking area is a bit more than a mile or two.
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Well, what can I say, not only is it fairly long, but its streious. Our hike consisted of 2 days. The first day was about 4 miles to the camp site. Below the site is a fork-Massive and Colordao Trails. The view is great! the summit attempt was probably the hardest stage, its long, rugid, and violitale in weather.

Words to the wise (unlike my self):
1.) Pack warm
2.) Pack well
3.) Pack Light
4.) Don't screw up on the decent (On the decent, I made the error of chossing the left, vs. the right at the fork. I winded up lost for 2 hours, and managed to pick up ride from some area campers-Hows that for luck)

Its a great trail!

Mt. Massive East Slopes (Standard) Photos

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Trail Information

Mount Massive Wilderness Area
Nearby City
Mount Massive Wilderness Area
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Leadville District, San Isabel National Forest
Local Contacts
USGS Mount Massive, Independence Pass
Local Maps

Trail Log