This trailhead allows you to climb amazing Mount Elbert from its East Ridge route. There is a 2wd parking at 9560 feet and a 4wd parking at 10,400. This trail has great views, and it is well worth it to come here and hike from.
Drive south out of Leadville till you hit CO 82, Independance Pass Road. Turn west on this road and follow it for four miles to Lake County 24. Follow the road up past the Lakeview Campground for just over one mile to the 2wd parking lot at 9560 feet. There is a dirt road that goes to the left of this parking lot, and this is the 4wd road. If you have a high clearence 4wd vehicle, you can drive this road for two miles to the end of the road at 10,400 feet. From here, follow the trail that goes off to the right past some beautiful small ponds to the start of the South Mount Elbert Trail.
There is no drinking water or toilets at the trailhead. However, there are toilets and drinking water at the lakeview campground below the trailhead. There is the ability to camp along the 4wd road up to the trail, and as I know there is no permit required to camp there. Also, there is winter access to this trailhead.
"Freedom is just Chaos, with better lighting."
--Alan Dean Foster