An easy hike down La Plata’s excellent Northwest Ridge trail, then a slog on paved Highway 82. The road hike is worth it once you get to Elbert’s lonely route up Echo Canyon via Bull Hill.
Nolan’s 14 Line Stats
- 11.59 miles
Nolan’s 14 Line
From the summit of La Plata Peak, take the standard Northwest Ridge route (14ers.com route description) down to CO 82 (paved). Hike on CO 82 until the road to Echo Canyon, take a left, and that road north. At the end of the road, a trail will start at the other side of Echo Creek.
Take the Echo Canyon Trail steeply up the canyon, being careful where the trail has disintegrated into the creek below. There is a faint trail split near 11,120′ (39.08239,-106.43653) – the left fork continues northwest up Echo Canyon. Take the right fork up the switchback towards the Golden Fleece mine.
The trail will dissolve at a mine. Gain the gentle south ridge up Bull Hill. You don’t have to summit Bull Hill, but can contour around the east side around 13,400′ to the northeast ridge. Hike to Point 13963 and continue on the main ridge to the summit of Mt. Elbert.
From the summit of La Plata Peak, take the standard Northwest Ridge route down to CO 82 (paved). Hike on CO 82, passed the road to Echo Canyon, to the Black Cloud TH. Take the Black Cloud/Southeast Ridge (14ers.com route description) up Mt. Elbert.
- Low on the La Plata Northwest Ridge route (39.04807,-106.49103).
- Water is non-potable near the trailhead
- Start of the Echo Canyon trail (39.07413,-106.47097)
- Low on the La Plata Northwest Ridge route (39.04807,-106.49103)
- On the switchbacks up towards the Bull Hill (39.07771,-106.46709)
From the summit of La Plata Peak, take the standard Northwest Ridge route down to CO 82 (paved). Hike/hitch on CO 82 until the townsite of Twin Lakes. A small grocery store and perhaps food trucks (with coffee!) are available in town. HW 24 is a few miles to the east. Hiker shuttles may even be available – consult the grocery store.
From the summit of La Plata Peak, take the standard Northwest Ridge route down to CO 82 (paved). Hike/hitch on CO 82 until the townsite of Twin Lakes. Take the trail fork north onto the Colorado Trail (39.08176,-106.38570), and take it north until Halfmoon Road/FSR 110 (39.15136,-106.41892).
If you have second thoughts of skipping Mt. Elbert, there are multiple options along the Colorado Trail to summit Mt. Elbert, including the East Ridge (14ers.com route description) and Northeast Ridge (14ers.com route description).
Turn left on FSR 110 and take it west until the North Halfmoon Creek TH (39.15336,-106.46331) for Mount Massive’s Southeast Slopes (14ers route description) route and rejoin the main route.
To save some mileage and since you’re right there, you may also take Mount Massive’s East Slopes Route (14ers.com route description), which starts right across the road (39.15150,-106.41934). Both are excellent routes to the summit of Mount Massive.
Next: Mt. Elbert to Mt. Massive and Finishing at the Leadville Fish Hatchery