Elephant Butte Trail
The Elephant Butte Trail is a scenic scramble up to a small, but charming summit. Intrepid spirits who don’t mind off-roading and doing some primitive ascents will enjoy this adventure. Though more rustic than many trails in the Evergreen area, the overlook from the peak is unparalleled.
The Elephant Butte Trail is off the S Le Masters Road near Evergreen, Colorado.
|When to do|
Yes - On Leash
Older Children only
Out and back
Elephant Butte Trail
Elephant Butte Trail Description
Seeking an exciting excursion near Denver? Well, the Elephant Butte Trail is one of our favorite summit hikes in the Denver Metropolitan Area, and we think it could be yours too. To get to the incredibly scenic overlook demands some effort and a keen sense of direction. Part of the Elephant Butte charm is its primitive nature, so we recommend using the trail GPS to navigate the rocky terrain. If you adventure this path in the autumn or winter, you must wear microspikes or snowshoes, as the rocky trail will be extremely slippery! It is also important to remember that you are travelling through the wilderness, so wildlife encounters are inevitable. Whether it be a marmot, rattlesnake, or elk, ensure to give them plenty of space.
One of the reasons we like the Elephant Butte Trail so much is because of the stimulating terrain! We do not shy away from off-roading. Instead, we find it kind of exciting to blaze our own paths. It is important to be mindful of the fragile environment as you travel the primitive trails, but the Elephant Butte Trail is mostly rocky, so instead, it is your ankles you need to be worried about. Wear sturdy footwear and pack plenty of water, but don’t let us discourage you; the hike is well worth the effort! From atop the summit, you will be rewarded with expansive views of the luxuriant plains below and sights of Mount Evans in the west. These impressive snow-cloaked peaks mitigate the exertion required, trust us!
Begin your adventure along the Elephant Butte Trail from the parking lot at the Bluebird Meadow Trailhead. From the parking lot, track the Bluebird Meadow Trail north. Shortly after you depart from the trailhead, you will encounter a junction, keep left here, and you will be diverted onto the Homestead Trail. Hike briefly along this path until you confront another intersection, take the Mountain Muhly Trail. From here, the terrain is unmarked and primitive as you diverge off the Mountain Muhly Trail towards Elephant Butte.
As you divert northwest, away from the marked path, you will be guided out of the Alderfer Three Sisters Open Space Park. Hike north along the meadow cloaked route. As you travel across the grassy plains, you will be rewarded with sights of Elephant Butte towering above and the Mount Evans Wilderness peaks in the west. Continue trekking until you meet the eastern base of Elephant Butte; refer to the trail GPS if needed. From here, the primitive route curves southwest up the rocky ridge.
Mind your footing as you scramble up the boulders. As you ascend the steep terrain, you will be shaded by the sparse coverage of ponderosa pines. Continue climbing, and the path will dramatically curve northeast as you near the summit. Once you summit the rocky mountain, you will be granted 360-degree panoramic views of the encompassing Colorado Wilderness. You will be rewarded with epic vistas of the snow-dusted peaks in the Mount Evans Wilderness in the southwest, including Rosalie, Evans and Spalding. Revel in the breathtaking vistas from the overlook and rest before beginning your descent. When you are done admiring the scenery, retrace your steps along the path back to the trailhead.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are dogs permitted on the Elephant Butte Trail?
Yes, dogs are permitted on the Elephant Butte Trail, but they must remain on leash.
Is the Elephant Butte Trail open?
Yes, the Elephant Butte Trail reopened in 2020 following wildfire restoration.
Microspikes or snowshoes are a must if you are planning to venture this trail in the winter or fall
Use the trail GPS to help navigate the unmarked terrain
Head out onto the Elephant Trail in the winter for a more secluded adventure
Pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic overlooking the stunning mountainous wilderness from the summit
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