Mt. Massive

East Slopes - Standard

Stoke Meter


13.2 Miles

Highest Elevation


Lowest Elevation



4,600 ft.


Class 2


Mt. Massive dominates the Leadville skyline. This mountain wilderness boasts a variety of terrain, including alpine tundra, boulderfields, rocky ridges, wild rivers, and more. You’ll feel small looking back on the town of Leadville from the top and feel like you are out there.
Brandon Yonke, Kaitlyn Yonke

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Trail Directions

This standard route up Mt. Massive utilizes the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). You can park at the first Mt. Massive parking lot on Halfmoon Road, which is also the easiest lot for 2WDs to access. This lot is very close to the Mt. Elbert lot if overflow parking is needed.

Begin by following the well-marked CDT from the parking lot. You’ll be in a beautiful mature coniferous forest with aspen sprinkled about. Near mile 2.25 is the South Willow Creek, and near mile 2.75 is Willow Creek. These streams flow well in the early season, but can be dried out in the late summer and in the fall.

Shortly after the Willow Creek you’ll fork left onto the Mt. Massive Trail. Within a half mile the forest will thin out and you’ll reach treeline near mile 4 at 11,700ft. There are still three more miles above treeline until the summit, and three back, so keep an eye on the skies for any ominous clouds. Thunderstorms are very common in the summer months.

The trail parallels a much higher ridge for the next mile and a half and near mile 5 you’ll reach the fork where the other route up Mt. Massive, Halfmoon Lakes, intersects. Keep right and follow the defined trail up some easy boulders and across a wide ridge. Keep an eye out for a sign for the summit. Also near this sign is a precipitous couloir with an unofficial and unmarked trail. Do not mistake this couloir for the trail on your way down.

Gaze upon Leadville from the second highest peak in Colorado. Congrats on the summit! Return back the way you came.
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Training Plans for This Adventure

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