Part of a southern extension-spur of the Gore Range, Elk Mountain rises gracefully on Elk Ridge to 12,693 feet as the 864th highest peak in Colorado. Elk Mountain is a gentle, rounded peak, but the views from the top of the surrounding high country will take your breath away. Elk Mountain is positioned to take in stupendous views of the northern and central Sawatch, the Mosquito / Tenmile Range and the mighty Gore Range. This peak, located on the west side of Searle Pass, is positioned well to combine nicely with other nearby peaks such as Corbett Peak and Pearl Peak.
Colorado Rank: 864th
Twelvers Rank: 227th
Prominence: 673 feet
Mountain Range: Gore
USGS Quad: Copper Mountain
Trails Illustrated Map: #109 (Breckenridge / Tennessee Pass)
Rank and prominence information: Lists of John
Getting ThereElk Mountain sits on the border of Eagle County and Summit County. Roughly eight miles south-southwest of Vail Pass, Elk Mountain rises above Elk Ridge as part of a southern spur of the Gore Range. This spur is bordered on the west by US Hwy 24 and on the east by CO Hwy 91. The nearest sizable supply town in Leadville, approximately 15 miles away by road, sitting to the south-southwest of Elk Mountain.
There is really little to no red tape in this part of the national forest. Follow LNT (Leave No Trace) principals and be courteous of other recreationalists.
Camping & Lodging
Rustic Camping and Huts
Backcountry Camping: Numerous delightful looking backcountry campsites can be found along the Cataract Creek. We’re talking large, level, tree-shaded sites with ample water supply.
National Forest Developed Campgrounds
The Leadville Ranger District of the Pike & San Isabel National Forest and the Eagle / Holy Cross Ranger District of the White River National Forest each contains numerous campgrounds convenient to Elk Mountain.
10th Mtn Division Camping & Huts
The former 10th Mtn Division training camp, "Camp Hale," has organized campgrounds, and not so organized dispersed camping. There is also the Jackal Hut nearby, part of the 10th Mtn Division hut system (visit www.huts.org for reservations). Thanks to Chicagotransplant for providing this valuable information!
Hotels, Cabins, B&Bs, Condos and Family Campgrounds
Nearby ski resorts and small towns translate into a wide variety of lodging options for visitors.
This ski resort leans toward the higher end for accommodations, though deals may be found in the summer. Expect lodging rates to be positively outlandish in the winter.
For detailed information about lodging in the Vail area, visit this website: Vail Mountain Lodging
Lodging rates near Copper Mountain may be more reasonable than Vail, but don’t confuse “reasonable” with “cheap.” As with any other ski resort, deals may be found in the summer months, but once the snow settles in, expect to pay out the nose.
For detailed information about lodging in the Copper Mountain area, visit this website: Copper Mountain Lodging
The Leadville/Twin Lakes area provides more simple down-to-earth, budget-friendly lodging option, including family RV parks. Still, proximately to several attractions, including Colorado’s High Point (Mount Elbert 14,433 ft.) means snagging a room requires careful planning in advance of your visit.
For detailed information about lodging in the Leadville/Twin Lakes area, visit this website: Leadville Lodging
Weather & Seasons
Winter & Spring: If the approach roads are plowed and the avalanche conditions stable, a hike to the summit of Elk Mountain could be a pleasant outing. Be prepared for roaring winds from the west on Elk Ridge.
Summer: Summer is a warm, hassle-free time to visit this spur of the Gore Range. Wildflower displays in the upper reaches of Cataract Gulch, where the trees become sparse, are sure to delight. Remember that “warm” is a relative term on the Colorado high country, even in the summer. Be prepared for cool temperatures above timber line by bring a hat, gloves and layers.
Autumn: When the Colorado high country is ablaze in autumn’s golden hues, a journey to Elk Mountain would be a heavenly pursuit. Ample sign exist that elk frequent this area, so exercise caution during the fall rut. Even the toughest, most mountain-hardened adventurer is no match for a horny bull elk who perceives the hiker as an impediment to his mating with his harem.
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