There are five routes that lead to the summit of Colorado's highest mountain. The standard route, via the Northeast Ridge, begins from the North Mt. Elbert Trailhead just outside of Leadville. To reach the trailhead from U.S. 24, turn west onto Colorado 300 and cross the railroad tracks. Drive roughly 0.7 miles and turn left onto Lake County Road 11 towards Halfmoon Creek. After driving 1.2 miles turn right towards the Halfmoon Creek Campground and drive another 5 miles on the dirt road (2WD with washboard and potholes) to the North Mt. Elbert Trailhead. The large parking area on the left side of the road also has restrooms on the premises.
The 14,440-foot mountain is named for Samuel Elbert who served as a territorial governor of Colorado in 1873-1874, and as Colorado State Supreme Court Justice for 12 years. As part of the Hayden Geological Survey, Henry W. Stuckle made the first documented ascent of Mt. Elbert in 1874. Since then the peak has been purportedly climbed by mule, horse, ATV, and even by jeep!
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