I am uploading on 14ers.com for the first time so I apologize for any mistakes. I wanted to give everyone some information about the Mt Massive hike from Native Lake trailhead. In Mr Roach's book, he briefly mentions the East Ridge with a very short description. I wanted to hike a trail that was less traveled by the crowds and wanted the wilderness feel. Well, this hike did it for me. Both my hiking partner and I did not see anyone else the entire time on the trail and to the summit. On our way back, we saw some folks hiking to Native Lake. I don't have a ton of pictures, but I am uploading a gpx file that has my track with precise coordinates during my hike. I also am writing this report because I have searched hi and low for any information about the route on 14ers.com and on the internet and found essentially no information.
Mr Roach states that this is an 11.2 mile hike. According to my gpx, it was a 16 mile hike...total! We started off at the Native lake trailhead and hiked about 5 miles and made camp after a small stream. The hike to Native lake is beautiful and serene. The hike reminds me of Holy Cross because you have to gain elevation and then you lose it once heading down to Native lake. Once past Native Lake, there are couple of marshy areas you will have to maneuver around. If it was raining the night before or earlier in the day, it may benefit you to have your rain gear pants on because the willows can make your pants pretty wet. The stream crossings otherwise are not that bad.
Trailhead. The beginning of the wilderness
As I said, we hiked about 5 miles in and made camp. We started hiking the next morning at 6am. You continue on a nice trail but at approximately 5.5 miles you will have to turn off the main trail (the highline trail) and start your way up. I have attached a picture of an old broken tree off the side of the trail that I call the "turning point." This is the approximate location that you will have to make the turn and blaze your own trail up Mt Massive. The exact coordinates on my GPS are: N39 12.459 W106 27.072 You will once again have to battle through a short section of willows and then you will be about out of tree line and ready for the steady hike up. Once you are on the ridge, you just need to keep going up, up, and up. It was a little more difficult for us because we were socked in by cloud cover, but luckily my GPS came in handy and finding the top was no problem. There are sections on the ridge that are kinda steep but then level out. Overall, it was a moderate class 2 hike once on the ridge.
This is what to look out for and know when to make the turn off the main trail. See my GPS coordinates above.
The view of the route from the ridge above Native Lake
I recently bought a GPS and I put in some waypoints but not enough to make a route unfortunately. However, I have uploaded my track which will display my precise track from the start of the hike to the summit. It should have tracked about every other step for me so it will give exact details of the miles to the summit, elevation gain, etc. The picture above is displaying the approximate route on the east ridge to Mt Massive. This picture was taken before descending down to Native Lake.
To sum it up, if you are looking for a backpacking trip that will put you into the wilderness, with amazing views, a solid class 2 hike and don't mind blazing your own trail, then this is the hike for you. I should apologize but this report was mostly intended for the hikers with GPS. Download my gpx file and you will have a nice hike to the top. If you are good with finding your way without a GPS, then I hope this route will help you. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.
Heading down to Native Lake. Didn't see anyone. Absolute solitude
The Summit with a brief break in the clouds
Mission accomplished. Mt Massive, Massive Green, North Massive in the background