Mount Massive Wilderness Trails
“Massive” aptly describes Colorado’s second-highest peak, its hulking shape dominating the Sawatch Range’s silhouette west of Leadville. Mount Massive’s east face spreads broadly along this portion of the Continental Divide and, combined with several other nearby peaks (Mount Elbert, Mount Harvard, and La Plata Peak), it forms a lofty profile that includes four of Colorado’s five highest peaks. The North American continent truly crests here, as the Rocky Mountains and the Continental Divide reach higher than anywhere else between the Arctic Ocean and the Isthmus of Panama. These peaks give tangible meaning to the tremendous warping and buckling of the Laramide orogeny and the later Colorado Plateau uplift. Despite its lofty elevation, Mount Massive is an easy walkup, as are most of the peaks in the Sawatch Range. Glaciation played a relatively mild role in shaping these mountains; nevertheless, a dozen or more glacial lakes dot the wilderness. Extensive, dry lodgepole pine forests blanket the area’s lowest slopes, gradually yielding to Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir before the last straggling trees above timberline give way to alpine tundra. The only wilderness lands in Colorado administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service lie within the Mount Massive Wilderness. This trail guide includes descriptions of Mount Massive, North Halfmoon Lakes, Native Lake, Swamp Lakes, and Colorado Trail.
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Directions to: Mount Massive Wilderness Trailsprint directions
Trail Statistics & Information
|Skill Level||Easy to Moderate|
|Season||Best Spring through Fall|
|Trailhead Elevation||10,000 ft|
|Top Elevation||14,421 ft|
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