Black Cloud Trail

 2 votes
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Featured Hike
Trail

11.1 Miles 17.8 Kilometers


95%

Singletrack

5,082' 1,549 m

Ascent

-5,082' -1,549 m

Descent

14,414' 4,393 m

High

9,708' 2,959 m

Low

17%

Avg Grade (10°)

72%

Max Grade (36°)

Minor Issues

64 days agoUpdate

Enjoy the incredible scenery along The Black Cloud Trail, all the way to the summit of Mt. Elbert.

Mike Langenkamp

Overview

The southernmost trail up Mt Elbert is the Black Cloud Trail and is certainly one of the most beautiful trails I have ever been on. I can't recommend it enough. Even on a Saturday I only encountered two people on the way up. The wildflowers, views of the Sawatch Range to the south, streams, solitude, and varied landscape all make this a special hike.
Features: Fall Colors — River/Creek — Views — Waterfall — Wildflowers — Wildlife

Description

The trailhead is especially difficult to find and easy to miss. The trail starts in pine forest and aspen groves while climbing steep switchbacks along Black Cloud Creek for about 1.7 miles and 1,700'. The route is very scenic with views of waterfalls, cascading streams, pine, aspen forests, and beautiful clearings.

Eventually the trail flattens out a little at around 11,700' before it steeply switchbacks to gain Mt Elbert's southern ridge. Once on the ridge 2.7 miles in, head north for the highest point, which is unofficially South Elbert (14,134), which is not an official 14er because the saddle between it and Mt Elbert does not provide sufficient prominence.

From South Elbert, follow the ridge northwest until you descend into the saddle. There is a faint trail crossing the saddle across the south ridge of Mt. Elbert, keeping to the right. After traversing the ridge you'll be on the summit of Mt. Elbert.

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3.5 from 2 votes


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Check-Ins

Feb 11, 2016
Evan Wiggans
*WINTER CLOSURE* Closed at 2WD Trailhead 12.5mi
Jan 18, 2015
Evan Wiggans
*WINTER CLOSURE* Closed at 2WD Trailhead 12.5mi
Jul 26, 2014
Mike Langenkamp
11.6mi

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes

#5

in Leadville

#2118

Overall
  3.5 from 2 votes
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Rankings

#5

in Leadville

#315

in Colorado

#2,118

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10 Views Last Month
864 Since Mar 4, 2015
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Conditions


Minor Issues 64 days ago
Mostly Dry - Trail toward the top of the saddle (steepest part of ascent) is dry and the trail is giving way. More of a problem descending.
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