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Peak(s):  Mt. Massive  -  14,421 feet
Post Date:  07/18/2008
Modified:  08/04/2008
Date Climbed:   07/13/2008
Posted By:  mt_turtle

 Short Cut on Mt. Massive East Slopes!   

After completing Elbert on Saturday my wife an I were spending some time in Leadville. We were contemplating doing Massive since it was there staring us down, but we were both tired from Elbert. We had pretty much made the decision to go back to Denver and rest for the remainder of the weekend. That was until we stopped in Bill's Sports Shop. This is the one that has the picture of the jeep that made it to the top of Elbert. I think we then talked to Bill who's dad or grandpa it was that completed this feat. He goes on to tell us about a short cut up old jeep trails to Massive. The adventure sparked both of our attention and it was all the motivation we needed to change our minds and do Massive. You will have to stop and ask at Bill's Sports Shop for the Massive Short Cut to get more details, but I will share some now.

As you follow the road to the Massive/Elbert trailhead you will pass a purple house with three big flags flying outside. One of the flags is a peace sign flag. After passing this house you make your first right and that will bring you to the following spot.


Looking at the pictures you can tell this guy really wants to keep people out. But my understanding is the locals fought through the courts to keep this access open. That is a camera you see below!


There was no way I was going to test the electric fence, I did this once as a kid and promised myself I would never do it again . Below, I believe both sides are electric and you can see how narrow they have made the road. I cleared this rock to get my VW beatle through.


Once you get through all this you come to the gate shown below. This trail takes you to the colorado trail (via the willow creek trail), but you travel south two miles and then back another two miles north on the colorado trail (do not follow this trail). His way cuts off four miles round trip at this point.


Once at this gate if you turn right, you will see two trees that have been notched, you will want to go between them (here is where the short cut begins).


This should bring you to the creek and a bridge that I believe he made! And as you follow some more notched trees it will lead you to an old Jeep trail.


The below sign was about a 1/4 mile up the jeep trail. When you return, I know you want to stay on the left jeep trail at this sign.


Then just under two miles up the jeep trail you reach the Colorado trail at the junction of the old Massive trail they closed for restoration. We camped just under the Colorado trail, just off the old jeep trail.

This is the jeep trail looking down the mountain from the Colorado trail!

This is the old Massive trail looking up the mountain from the Colorado trail! At this point if you make a left on the Colorado trail you will meet up with the new Massive trail.

After a fairly short hike from the Colorado trail on the new Massive trail you reach treeline. This is when you begin to see the peaks. Below is Elbert from treeline!


The best part is, we made it to the Summit!!


Here is my wife on the way down!


Coming down at treeline you can see the old trail that leads straight to the jeep trail, it again is closed for restoration.


This was a fun adventure and it did save us some miles! But please before going this way, get more of the details at Bill's Sports Shop! I would hate for someone to get lost, as this is not a well marked trail . He will show you it on a TOPO and he would love to have this trail used more. We did not see one person on this portion of the trail Saturday or Sunday!

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

Wow!     07/23/2008 03:06
I wish I had known about this route. The 13 mile version was really a long one.

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