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Among the many mountains surrounding Leadville, Mt. Massive (14,421’) stands as a behemoth to the west of Leadville, serving as a landmark practically no matter where one is in town. Its name, Mt. Massive is fitting, as it has the most land mass above 14,000 feet than any other peak in Colorado. It is the second tallest mountain in Colorado, only surpassed by neighboring Mt. Elbert (14,433’) to the south.
Camping, 4-wheeling, mountain biking, bird watching and many other activities are popular in the Mt. Massive Wilderness, which encompasses Mt. Massive and the large mountainous region surrounding it.
The most common trailhead for hikers daring to summit Mt. Massive is via the Mt. Massive Trail (which is also the Colorado Trail at that beginning) on the mountain’s eastern slope. Directions: From Highway 24 south of Leadville, turn onto Colorado Road 300 and cross the railroad tracks. Drive 0.8 miles and turn left on County Road 11. After 1.2 miles, turn right on the dirt road that leads to Halfmoon Creek. Take it 5.3 miles to the Mt. Massive parking lot on the right.
Another common route is via the mountain’s southwest ridge. This hike is shorter and steeper. From the Mt. Elbert Trailhead (see directions above), continue on Road 110 (Halfmoon Road) for approximately 2.5 miles (which becomes a rugged 4WD road) to the North Halfmoon Trailhead. Once on the trail and at approximately 11,100 ft. in a large meadow, the trail forks into two. The right trail climbs up Mt. Massive’s southwest slope; the left trail continues to the North Halfmoon Lakes.
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