Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
2,487.00 ft (758.04 m)
Trail type
Shuttle
Distance
13.20 mi (21.24 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail spans nearly 3,100 miles across 5 states from Mexico to Canada, exploring a vast array of different environments and landscapes along the way. The CDT can be completed as a single thru-hike that will take 4 to 6 months, or by section-hiking smaller segments. The Colorado portion of the CDT features 800 miles of stunning and challenging high altitude hiking. Highlights include the South San Juans, Collegiate Peaks, 14,270 foot Grays Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Mount Zirkel Wilderness. In this guide we’ll take a closer look at Colorado Section 24.

Colorado Section 24 begins from Halfmoon Creek, near the Mt Massive and Mt Elbert Trailheads. From here it ascends into the forest, where you’ll remain for the majority of this short section. Be sure to look back during this initial climb for some great parting views of Mt Elbert.

Continue climbing through the Mount Massive Wilderness until you eventually come to a junction with the Mt Massive Trail. If you choose to you can take a left here to tag the summit of Mt Massive, the second tallest mountain in Colorado (14,428’). Otherwise continue straight on the CDT.

You’ll top out on a ridge and then gently descend through the forested terrain. Views are limited, but at one point you’ll be able to see down to the valley below and the town of Leadville (the highest incorporated city in America at an elevation of 10,200 feet).

You’ll have a bit of a climb up toward Bald Eagle Mountain, then the trail contours around and gently down again. The trail leaves the Mount Massive Wilderness and begins the final descent down to Timberline Lake Trailhead. Along the way you’ll cross Busk Creek and Glacier Creek, two impressive and scenic mountain streams.

Section 24 then ends at Timberline Lake Trailhead. This popular trailhead is not located directly on the lake, but you’ll likely see quite a few cars parked here, especially if visiting on a weekend.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Option to climb Mt Massive. Nice, forested hiking and mountain streams.

Cons

Limited views.

Trailhead Elevation

10,072.00 ft (3,069.95 m)

Highest point

11,293.00 ft (3,442.11 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

Yes

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

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