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blueBlack Black Cloud Trail

  4.2 ( 13 ) Favorite

Trail

10.9 mile 17.5 kilometer out and back
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 5,023' 1,531 m
Descent: -5,023' -1,531 m
High: 14,387' 4,385 m
Low: 9,716' 2,961 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 18% (10°)
Max Grade: 73% (36°)

Dogs

Unknown
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Trail shared by Mike Langenkamp

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

Mike Langenkamp

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

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.

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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Check-Ins

Jun 3, 2019
Josh Spencer
Aug 19, 2018
David Orner
Only did up to the South peak 10mi
Aug 4, 2018
Paul Hanyzewski
Jul 31, 2018
Jordan Frdnmkr
Insane amount of elevation gain and loss over the course of the hike. Exceptionally beautiful. 16mi
Jun 19, 2018
Cory Spencer
Im tired 12mi
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

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 13 votes

#3

in Twin Lakes

#1752

Overall
  4.2 from 13 votes
5 Star
46%
4 Star
38%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
15%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#3

in Twin Lakes

#265

in Colorado

#1,752

Overall
165 Views Last Month
5,457 Since Mar 4, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

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