Mount Elbert is Colorado’s highest peak, and at 14,439‘, it’s the second highest in the United States. We’ve been camped at the base of it for a couple weeks and decided to climb it.
We started up around 8:30am and with a steady pace, we climbed up the 4,888′ in a little over 2.5 hours. It was pretty quiet on the trail and definitely spectacular. The last two miles are the steepest but the views at the top are worth the effort. It took us around 2 hours to get back down and was about a 12 mile day. Wow.
Interesting story, there was a kind of height war between Mount Elbert and the neighboring Mount Massive. Mount Massive supporters built large piles of stones on the summit to boost its height, only to have Mount Elbert proponents demolish them. The effort was ultimately unsuccessful and Mount Elbert remains the highest peak in Colorado.
Clear Creek Road
Looking for an easy day after our hike up Mount Elbert, we decided to do an exploration ride from Clear Creek Reservoir out to some ghost towns. The road is hard gravel and climbs 2,083′ out and back over 24 miles.
First we came to Vicksberg, then Windel. Both were mining town in the late 1800’s. To be fair, Vicksberg claims to not be a ghost town because it has been continuously habitated since it was built. The museum was closed when we were there but we listened to the historical recording about the town. Vicksberg was founded when some prospectors from Leadville lost their burros and went looking for them. They found the burros by Clear Creek and also found gold!
Further down the road we visited Winfield. At its prime, Winfield included three saloons, three stores, a post office, two hotels, a boarding house, mill, smelter, church and a school.
Back on our bikes, we pedaled back to the reservoir thinking about how difficult life was back in those times, but how incredibly beautiful their hometowns were.