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Black Cloud Trail

 10 votes

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°)

Unknown

Update

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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4.2 from 10 votes


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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Aug 26, 2017
Mike McGuire
Ran back for camera early on, 40+ min at peak, fantastic views throughout hike, longer route/significant elevation but worth the challenge in the end 11.4mi
Aug 11, 2017
Alfredo Rosendo
Jul 29, 2017
Peter McDonnell
11.1mi
Jul 27, 2017
JJ Lindholm
The trail is pretty beat up from flooding and avalanches. There are tons of trees knocked down blocking the trail. This trail needs work bad. 5.5mi
Jul 21, 2017
Zack Allen
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

  4.2 from 10 votes

#2

in Twin Lakes

#1431

Overall
  4.2 from 10 votes
5 Star
60%
4 Star
20%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
20%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#2

in Twin Lakes

#215

in Colorado

#1,431

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56 Views Last Month
2,096 Since Mar 4, 2015
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