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    Mount Elbert Southeast Ridge Trail

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    Very Hard
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    17.7 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    1,558 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
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    Directions to Trailhead

    The Mount Elbert Southeast Ridge Trail is one of few routes that lead to the summit of Colorado’s highest peak, and it might just be the most technical option. Shorter than the other routes, this trek climbs up the southeastern slope of the unforgiving summit, revealing some of the best alpine views.

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    Route Description for Mount Elbert Southeast Ridge Trail

    The Mount Elbert Southeast Ridge Hike is an epic high-country adventure in the Sawatch Mountain Range. Reserved for experienced and daring individuals, this expedition demands stamina and preparation. Traveling to extreme elevations, it is important to be acclimated to the area’s altitudes prior to your climb. Additionally, as the peak is barren, we highly suggest summiting before noon to mitigate the chances of getting caught in an afternoon storm which is so common to the region. Finally, crampons and trekking poles will prove extremely helpful as the vertiginous terrain will likely be snow-dusted.

    Embark on your adventure up the Mount Elbert Southeast Ridge Trail from the Black Cloud Trailhead. From here, track the Black Cloud Trail north. The initial segment of the hike is especially steep, but don’t let that discourage you. Follow up the path, past campsites and through pine and fir forests and aspen groves. Follow the trail up to Mount Cosgriff, then hike along the saddle to summit Mount Elbert.

    From the summit of Mount Elbert, you will be rewarded with panoramic, 360-degree views of the neighboring Sawatch Mountains. Revel in the grandeur of the dramatic peaks, and when you are done ogling in the scenery, retrace your footing along the path all the way back to the trailhead.

    Getting to the Mount Elbert Southeast Ridge Trail Trailhead

    The Mount Elbert Southeast Ridge Trail departs from the Black Cloud Trailhead off State Highway 82.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Dispersed Backcountry Camping

    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly


    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Mount Elbert Southeast Ridge Trail Elevation Graph

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    Mount Elbert Southeast Ridge Trail Reviews

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