Mount Massive

Featured photo of Mount Massive

The official elevations of many of the Colorado 14'ers have gone up between five and seven feet, according to a 2001 adjustment by the USGS. As a result the summit elevation of Mt. Massive is up from 14,421' to 14,428'. That adjustment did not change any of the following information.

Mount Massive is the 2nd highest mountain in Colorado, 3rd highest in the US outside of Alaska (behind Mt Whitney, CA & Mt Elbert, CO). It is truly a massive mountain, rising to a broad three mile summit crest, which holds five points over 14,000 feet. Massive has more area above 14,000 feet than any other mountain in the 48 contiguous states, narrowly edging Mt. Rainier in that category. The mountain, along with Mt. Elbert Colorado's highest(14,440'), forms much of the western skyline of Leadville, which is 11 miles east and slightly north.

Like most of the 14'ers in the Sawatch Range, Mt Massive is not as well known or as photographed as Colorado's Maroon Bells, Mt Sneffels, or Longs Pk, neither does it display the jagged ridges of these. Still its impressive stature demands the respect and appreciation of any who have the fortune to climb it, photograph it, admire it from the top of surrounding peaks.

The popular notion is that Mt. Massive is not a deadly or even particularly dangerous climb. However, it is a huge mountain that is often taken for granted. Generally, on Mt. Massive it snows in all months of the year, is quite windy, and during summer months the threat of severe lightning and thunder storms is an everyday danger. Any climbers should take these possible conditions into account before starting out. The books all say this is an easy mountain to climb, but be prepared for anything the day you attempt it.

Elevation (feet): 14,428
Elevation (meters): 4,398
Continent: North America
Country: United States
Range/Region: Sawatch Range
State: Colorado
Latitude: 39.1872
Longitude: -106.475
Difficulty: Scramble
Best months for climbing: Jul, Aug, Sep
Year first climbed: 1874
First successful climber(s): H. Gannett
Nearest major airport: Denver Int or Eagle Cnty Reg
Convenient Center: Leadville, Colorado

Trip Reports

NOTE: Trip reports were previously called "Summit Logs" - same feature, new name

There are 58 trip reports for Mount Massive.

Select any entry from the list below:

  • Log #21070 - by Bill Stone on Oct 20, 2007
    We had a perfect day and a perfect sky over the mountain and only saw one other person
  • Log #20886 - by Jeremy Rhoades on July 18, 2007
    I’ve climbed Mt. Massive five times...So far July 1980 - From the west side at Halfmoon Lakes, when I was 8yrs old, a very steep climb. March 1994 - Group of 6 of us snow shoed from the...
  • Log #20801 - by Larry Constantino on June 04, 2007
    Climbed the back side or from west. Had a bunch of young ones with us. Did have to pack one of them up the last little bit but other than that fantastic. Excellent spots to hear and sound out echoes.
  • Log #20569 - by greg Gooch on Jan 02, 2007
    did on the weekend. bad idea. way too many people on trail.
  • Log #20288 - by Dennis Manning on Aug 10, 2006
    Wednesday, August 9th (2006) was a very nice day. Weather was cool and light clouds. I was told by the rangers in nearby Leadville to get an early start, 6am to be exact. The rangers said it would...
  • Log #19631 - by Patrick L. Lilly on July 16, 2006
    SW slopes route from N. Halfmoon Creek TH. Took 5 hrs., 20 min. to reach the summit with a side trip to South Massive.
  • Log #5310 - by Jeremy Rhoades on Dec 15, 2005
    I’ve climbed Mt. Massive four times. It was not my 1st 14er, but the first time I climbed it was from the west side at Halfmoon Lakes in July 1980, when I was 8yrs old, a very steep climb. In...
  • Log #18852 - by Michael Kostal on Aug 15, 2005
    Starting at 6:30am we made our way through the forest, crossing 3 or 4 streams along the way. Around 8:00am we hit tree line and then spent another 2.5 hours hiking to the top. Some brief scrambling...
  • Log #5289 - by Alex Rochette on Oct 27, 2004
    Part of a three day trip: 7/11/2004 - Mt Elbert 7/12/2004 - Mt Massive 7/13/2004 - Mt Harvard I soloed all the climbs, each time the most direct route. I felt great the first two days... very tired...
  • Log #5290 - by Ben Postlethwait on Sep 30, 2004
    2 of us summited on 09-26-04 @ 10:30 am. We camped at about 12,000 feet the night before. Our tents iced over at night, but it wasn't too bad. There was about 6"-2' of snow that morning from...
  • Log #5291 - by Ethan Parrish age 13 8th fourteener on Sep 30, 2004
  • Log #5293 - by Karen on Aug 19, 2004
    What a great hike! Some advise: the BEST trail on this mountain is to start at the N.Halfmoon Creek Trailhead (Roach, 9.4EC), climb Northeast up a scree slope, traverse the summits, then descend the...
  • Log #5295 - by Kelly Dillon on June 04, 2004
    I climbed this peak with Outward Bound as the culminating event of our course. We climbed the north summit, leaving our camp at Native Lake at 3:00 AM. The sunrise over Leadville was unforgetable!
  • Log #5296 - by Dan Bowers & Peter C. Key on June 03, 2004
    This is a long, but not so steep haul. Great views.
  • Log #5297 - by Adam Trump on Nov 26, 2003
    Myself and 3 others made the summit. This was an awesome hike. My first Sawatch summit.
  • Log #5298 - by Eric Cale on Oct 08, 2003
    Don't take the wrong trail or the climb turns into a really long day.
  • Log #5299 - by Kevin Baker on Oct 06, 2003
    Hiked via the East Slopes route, returning via southwest slopes and then west back to trailhead on road. Took 4hr 20min up and 3hr 20min down, around 12.5 miles total I think. S.W. slopes route is...
  • Log #5300 - by Brian Myer on Sep 17, 2003
    A nice long hike to the top. A massive undertaking. My second 14er! Followed the trail to the saddle between Massvie and South Massive. After that, the trail is sometimes hard to find as you scramble...
  • Log #5301 - by Michael Saul on Sep 07, 2003
    Gorgeous day. Beautiful little white, fluffy clouds. The mountain was secluded. Very few other climbers.
  • Log #5302 - by Peter & Ben Alexander on Aug 28, 2003
    Peter, Linda & Ben (13) Alexander climbed Mt. Massive via the Colorado and Mt. Massive trails, It's a L O N G day, a total of nearly 14 miles round trip -- the mountain is inded massive. Be...
  • Log #5304 - by Justin Sterger on Aug 15, 2003
    Sunny skies, beautiful hike, and a great view from the summit. Enjoy!!!
  • Log #5305 - by Dylan on July 27, 2003
    Started hiking from the junction of the Highline and Colorado trails at midnight. I was with a slow group so we finally summitted around 6 a.m. and watched the sun rise over Leadville. It is a very...
  • Log #5306 - by Lisa Miller on July 22, 2003
    Mother Nature was good to us (good weather).
  • Log #5307 - by Jeremy Stroop on June 04, 2003
    Started late from Halfmoon campground, which was our first mistake. We witnessed a few oddities on the way up, including being presend for a tree falling, and at one point, passed a place where a...
  • Log #5308 - by Brent D. Himes on Jan 24, 2003
    Hit the summit as an out-of-shape teenager. Took a leisurely three or four day route that included an overnighter near a beaver pond (bathed in a frigid stream feeding into the pond). It was my first...
  • Log #5309 - by Wade Baxter on Dec 15, 2002
    My 13th of Colorado's fourteeners. If you're thinking about climbing Massive, get an early start by camping in one of the plentiful (and free) spots near the trailhead. Climbing up out of treeline...
  • Log #5311 - by Mohamed Ellozy on Sep 28, 2002
    I had hiked up Mt. Elbert a couple of days earlier and was still quite tired from that trip. Still, things seemed OK at the start, went along the Colorado Trail quite easily. The Mt Massive Trail...
  • Log #5312 - by Crystal and Tom Delker on Sep 24, 2002
    Camped just below treeline friday night after getting water at the stream right before the trail to the summit leaves the CT. We watched the Harvest Moon rise and after some tossing and turning we...
  • Log #5313 - by Jerry Babitz on Sep 23, 2002
    What a mountaintop experience!!! I am a 62 year old flatlander, first time 14er, who was absolutely exhausted by the end of the day, but it was one of the best days of my life. Start early(4:30...
  • Log #5314 - by Bryan Ward on Sep 14, 2002
    From Mt. Massive Trail: A very long day, but a trail that you could not lose if you tried. Well, that is to the saddle between South Massive and Massive. From there, you just follow the ridge to the...
  • Log #5315 - by Ryan Badtke on Sep 05, 2002
    This peak was so easy. A bunch of people were complaining how long it was, but I thought it was a cake walk. Ahh well, the views were sweet at the summit.
  • Log #5316 - by Ian Bogley on Aug 26, 2002
    Great day to summit! The views were unbelievable! Hiked up from the North Halfmoon trailhead. Very steep!
  • Log #5317 - by Tony Holechek on Aug 21, 2002
    Summitted massive on Monday, Elbert on Tuesday; my first two fourteeners! Had a great time.
  • Log #5318 - by Isaiah Janzen on Aug 14, 2002
    Avoid all scree.
  • Log #5319 - by Ivo Abraham on Aug 10, 2002
    Combined South Massive, Mt Massive, Massive Green, and North Massive
  • Log #5320 - by Brandon Johnson on Aug 09, 2002
    Camped at timberline got aclimated and summited on a great day with my 55 year old dad and neighbor from Kenya. the sad thing is my dad beat me up the mountain. A great trip and can't wait to do more...
  • Log #5322 - by Darvon K Henry on June 05, 2002
    Previous entry was wrong, should of been for Uncompahgre. Climbed it w/ my sweetie Laura. A tough climb, esp. for Laura due her not feeling well.
  • Log #5323 - by Darvon K Henry on June 05, 2002
    Hiked it w/ Jeff S. and Brian (& Damirus, Jeff's dog). One of my favorite views of the 14er's I've climbed. I have a great picture of me on the edge w/ a huge expanse behind and below me.
  • Log #5324 - by Brian Washburn on Mar 10, 2002
    took a route from the south to save time and endured a heck of a hike with no switchbacks and a wonderful afternoon solo. 4.5 hours round trip. whew! followed it up with lunch at Matilda's Cafe in...
  • Log #5326 - by Larry on Aug 29, 2001
    Wanda, Alice, and I started this hike at 6 AM. It's long, 6.8 miles to the top, so bring plenty of water. It was a beautiful day.
  • Log #5327 - by Randy Gill on July 26, 2001
    Mount Massive lives up to its name. it has the most area above 14k ft. of any mountain in the continental U.S.. The climb is extremely beautiful.
  • Log #5328 - by Kristine Kinzli on July 10, 2001
    The hike was a long one. Camping over Friday night, we didn't get an early start. We left from the first Mt. Massive trailhead at 7:45, not knowing there were two.
  • Log #5329 - by Michael Jake on July 10, 2001
    Started at the North Halfmoon Trailhead at 6:50 am. The start of the trail is nice and mellow, but once you get to a meadow about 1 1/2 miles in you break off the main trail and shoot straight up the...
  • Log #5330 - by Andrew Hyatt on June 29, 2001
    This was physically the most difficult mountain I have done. We had been backpacking for two days before we summitted this peak. We had planned on summitting Elbert the following day but we were so...
  • Log #5331 - by James Campbell on June 04, 2001
    FANTASTIC HIKE! Headed up the Mt Massive trail near Halfmoon Creek campground. Had to cross many snowfields once reached treeline, trekking poles highly recommended. LLLOOONNNGGGGGG hike, but well...
  • Log #5332 - by Stan Sattelberg on June 03, 2001
    Made a traverse- up the Hornli Ridge in 3 hr.- 20 min., on the summit 40 min.- and down the Italian Ridge in 4 hr.- 5 min. Back in Zermatt hotel for dinner a 5 PM.
  • Log #5333 - by Stan Sattelberg on June 03, 2001
    Made a raverse- up the Hornli Ridge in 3 hr.- 20 min., on the summit 40 min.- and down the Italian Ridge in 4 hr.- 5 min. Back in Zermatt hotel for dinner a 5 PM.
  • Log #5334 - by Steven Tree on Sep 22, 2000
    fairly long hike. Excellant view-- better than the view from Elbert.
  • Log #5335 - by Danny Bowman on Sep 21, 2000
    I went with my Outward Bound patrol from Windsor Lake. We hiked along the COntinental Divide and bivuacked at 13,800'. It was cold. We got up at 5 AM and summited Massive.
  • Log #5336 - by Carl E. Helton on Aug 17, 2000
    I climbed this with two of my favorite hiking buddies, Andy and Wade. We started hiking from the trail head at 4:45 am and made it out of tree line by 6:15 am. It was one of the most incredible...
  • Log #5337 - by Alan on July 23, 2000
    Great mountain and great views. Took the 8.6 mile trek from North Half Moon. Nice transition from forest to meadow to rock scramble to the peak.
  • Log #5338 - by David Meyer on July 22, 2000
    This peak is called Mount Massive for a reason. A huge amountof the peak is above 14,000 feet. There a three major humps on the mountain that could all be summits, although the center hump is the...
  • Log #5339 - by Tom Mangelsdorf on July 13, 2000
    My 2nd 14'er. Being a 15 year old kid from the midwest I was elated when it started to snow while we were on the summit. Snow in July. At the time I knew it was the 2nd highest of the Rockies and...
  • Log #5340 - by Brad Dawsey on July 11, 2000
    Me and my cous Heath conquered our first fouteener on the Fourth of July. See you on Elbert
  • Log #5341 - by Mick Wenzbauer on July 10, 2000
    Nice climb, about 9 hours from Halfmoon Creek roundtrip. Cold and windy on summit but clear, almost no snow. I found it slightly harder than Elbert, but my friend insists Elbert seemed harder to him....
  • Log #5342 - by Brian, Nathan and Drew Hatton on June 12, 2000
    My two brothers and I reached the top on a cloudless day, our first 14er.
  • Log #5343 - by Bill Buntrock on May 17, 2000
    Did Mt Elbert on Friday, than camped half way up Mt. Massive, and knoked it out on Saterday. Perfect Day not one cloud in the sky.
  • Log #5344 - by Jim Mallory on Apr 28, 2000
    My 18th fourteener. I did this hike solo and turns out I was the only person out here the whole day. The weather was very nice, especially for October. This was actually the first fourteener I...