Mt Massive is appropriately named – it has more area above 14,000 feet than any other peak in the lower 48! It’s just across a valley from Mt Elbert, the tallest peak in Colorado, and takes second place for height by a few feet. Here’s everything you need to know to ascend this summit, in my Mt Massive Standard Route Guide.


Mt Massive Fast Facts

  • Standard Route: East Slopes
  • Trailhead: Mt Massive
  • Elevation Gain: 4,500 feet
  • Round-Trip Distance: 14.5 Miles
  • Difficulty Level: Class 2 Scramble
  • Range: Sawatch Range

Mt Massive Standard Route Guide

The Mt Massive East Slopes trail is a fantastic route to hike. Once parked at the trailhead, start your climb up the ridge. You’ll soon take a hard left, passing over the ridge to your side, and begin walking along the East Slopes. There are several creek crossing, each has campsites for dispersed camping if you’re doing this as an overnight.

Mt Massive Standard Route Guide

Once you pass the creek crossing, watch for a turn off from the trail to the left. After a half mile, you’ll finally pass treeline and see South Massive to your left and Mt Massive to the right. Work your way up the alpine slopes.

Mt Massive Standard Route Guide

Your next goal is to hike up the steep Pt 12400. The hill is covered in willows but features a good, sturdy trail.

Mt Massive Standard Route Guide

Once beyond the point, you see the road ahead of you. Your aim is the saddle between South Massive and Mt Massive. The route will become more rocky as you go, transitioning from grassy meadows to rocky terrain. At the saddle, you’ll take a right to head up the summit ridge.

Mt Massive Standard Route Guide

The rocky summit ridge features some great Class 2 scrambling. You’ll pass several times from the east side of the ridge back to the west, and then back. Stick to the main trail, and be careful to avoid social trails that lead you off-track. Eventually you’ll come upon the final few feet before you step up to the summit!

Looking for more information on this route? Visit I hope my Mt Massive Standard Route Guide helped you out!

Mt Massive Weather Forecast

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About the Author: Alex Derr

Alex Derr is a mountaineer and blogger based in Denver Colorado. He is working to climb Colorado’s highest 100 peaks, and the 20 tallest peaks in California. He created The Next Summit to share advice, stories, history & reflections from the Colorado Rockies & Sierra Nevada. When not climbing, he is managing the Communications strategy at Visible Network Labs.