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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Mount Massive - Standard Route, CO

no permit
96 8 0
Guide 8 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List CO > South Central
4.8 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 13.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 10,071 feet
Elevation Gain 4,354 feet
Accumulated Gain 4,602 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 6-8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 36.31
Interest Perennial Creek & Peak
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
22  2017-07-21 LindaAnn
25  2017-07-17
Mount Massive via Halfmoon Lakes
7  2016-07-10 DallinW
7  2016-07-10 friendofThunderg
17  2014-07-16 azdesertfather
4  2013-06-22 hhwolf14
14  2012-08-27 BobP
Author imike
author avatar Guides 253
Routes 0
Photos 6,930
Trips 2,467 map ( 21,513 miles )
Age 69 Male Gender
Location Cloudcroft, NM
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Jun, Sep → Early
Seasons   Late Summer to Early Autumn
Sun  5:52am - 6:05pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Named place Nearby
3rd Highest Peak!
by imike

Likely In-Season!
Mt. Massive, oriented immediately north of Colorado's highest peak, Mt. Elbert, offers either a great alternative or nice complimentary hike to that state high pointer adventure. The main route shares the trailhead with Mt. Elbert's north route approach.

The Mt. Massive Wilderness area requires a non-fee permit, available at the trailhead. The standard trailhead is easily accessible by regular car a short drive out of Leadville.

This Peak is the 3rd Highest peak in the lower 48 states and a very popular weekend and holiday destination. This standard route provides a steady challenge. Be prepared for the typical issues relating to high elevations, and expect the summertime late afternoon thunbdershowers. Early starts are always a great idea for hikes of this nature.

The top ridge on this massive mountain includes a number of points over 14,000', false summits. You can score multiple 14'rs all in a single hike!

Of the two hikes, Mt, Massive provides the nicer views than Mt. Elbert, with Mt. Elbert being a goodly portion of the dramatic vistas from Mt. Massive. While it is hard to pass up the opportunity to score the state's highest peak, the trek up Mt. Massive, especially from the upper trailhead, is a nicer outing. If you are in great shape, consider the hike using the upper trail from Halfmoon Lakes... very steep, much shorter, and all nice.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2010-09-06 imike
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Mount Massive - Standard Route
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    THIS was an adventure. After you hear this story, you'll know why I am so thrilled to have bagged this one!

    Started just before 5:30am. The first portion of Massive reminded me a lot of the top of the Huachucas, with all of the coverage of green plans like flowers and corn lilies. Didn't see anyone until I came out of the treeline at 11,700ft. An older man who had started earlier than me was hiking it on his own, and he told me he was going to the top. I passed him, and said I'd see him on top.

    Things seemed to be going fairly well, for a while. By the time I reached 12,000 feet though I knew we might be in for some weather. Storm clouds (at 7am) were already really forming. By the time I hit 12,800 I was in a little trouble. Sleet quickly started up, slamming me in the face with winds so hard that I had a hard time keeping balance (keep in mind, I don't have a lot of body mass!). The thundercloud was building over Massive, and I saw one other group who as about a quarter mile ahead of me (a group of about 8 or so) start coming back down the mountain toward me. They were convinced a summit wasn't possible today.

    Totally discouraged, I turned around and started jogging down. I passed the old man, who said "giving up on it?" I said "yeah, it's too dangerous to risk it." He bid me well, but kept going up. I defended 400 feet (nearly a half mile) and noticed that things were clearing up, and I decided to give it another shot. "It's not even 8am yet! Maybe it's still possible." I reached the old man again, and his words were priceless: "So, you planning on hiking this two or three times, are ya?" We talked about the weather, and noted that we only had heard one really distant clap of thunder. The group of 8 come by us and warn us as they go by, but he and I look at each other and keep heading up. I'm booking it, telling myself this is my one and only shot at this today and I've gotta give this my best shot. Storm clouds are everywhere, but they are blowing over very fast, not parking over Massive anymore.

    With the group gone, I'm now leading the way up the mountain. When I get to the col, or saddle near the top, though, this mountain goat teenager comes charging past me. I drop my pack for the last 500 foot of climbing, and don't mess with the crampons. There is snow and ice, but not enough to stop me. The first stretch from the col to the peak is on the side of the ridgeline away from the wind, but for the second half as I am on the other side, the wind is whipping me like nobody's business. I kept booking it and made it at 9:30...second to the top, behind skinny teenage mountain goat kid.

    I stayed on the top only 10 minutes, knowing I'm playing with fate. Even though there still has been no more thunder or even rain, storm clouds were everywhere. I'm the first down, and there are two dozen who are coming up as I make my way back to the col. Past the col, for about a mile I run into three dozen more people, then I'm by myself the rest of the way to the bottom. I met the old man as I reached the col and my backpack, patted him on the back and told him thanks for the added encouragement to keep on it.

    There was some wildlife on the trip, but not a lot. One animal (I want to find out what it was!) looked like an oversized squirrel, brown with black eyes. It was about 2 feet long and probably weighed about as much as a medium-sized dog. Saw another one of these on Mt. Evans, later that afternoon. Only drank about three-fourths of a liter for the day. Cell phone signals good, like Elbert, all the way (except about a mile near each trailhead).
    Mount Massive - Standard Route
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    The day after I did Elbert, I went up Massive. The hike is a little harder, and has some much steeper, but minor class 2/3 at the top. It is class 3, but its so short you probably wouldn't notice it. Anyway, The trail is long and level to start, passing through spruce and fir for about 3 miles before the spur off of the Colorado Trail (which is the Mt Massive trail) is met. That trail ascends quickly to the tundra and leads you up to the summit of MT Massive. Massive is much rockier than Elbert, but it still has its fair share of alpine vegetation and furry little creatures to look at. Another good 14er to do, summit elevation: 14,420'.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Leadville, follow hiway 24 south a few miles to Rd 300, turning right. Follow 300 a bit over a mile to Rd 11 (110 on the Topo Maps). Turn left following the signs towards Halfmoon Campgrounds. The paved road switches to dirt and gravel, but remains easily driveable. Pass the Halfmoon Campgrounds. Follow the signs to the Trailhead. The Mt Elbert trailhead is reached first, on your left, labeled as overflow parking for Mt. Massive trail. 100 yds further down on your right will be the main trailhead parking.
    page created by imike on Sep 06 2010 6:32 am
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