Black Cloud Trailhead
Info

Location

Range: Sawatch Range
Coordinates: 39.06944, -106.43361
14ers: Mt. Elbert
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Road Difficulty

2WD, easy dirt road 1   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD paved to the trailhead turn-off.
2WD dirt in the trailhead parking area.

Driving Directions

From U.S. 24 south of Leadville, take Colorado 82 (Independence Pass) west toward Twin Lakes. Drive about 10.5 miles and turn right into the signed trailhead. When approaching the area of the turn-off, slow down because it's hard to see the turn. After pulling into the TH, the trail starts behind the first two parking spots on the right. Overall, there is parking for about a dozen vehicles.

Winter Access

Closed in winter, but you may be able to park along CO Highway 82.
Status Updates 
  
Posted By: masonpips
Info: Obviously easy access from 82 west of Twin Lakes. We were first on Saturday night and slept in the Jeep. One other guy showed up and slept in his truck. A couple of vehicles showed at 4 am and we saw a few others on the trail. Room for 8-10 cars easily. Some great tent camping spots a very short distance up the trail
2 
Posted By: GordoByrn
Info: If you get to Mt Elbert Lodge, heading away from Twin Lakes, then you’ve gone too far.

It’s a tiny sign parallel to the road.

Bear right when you enter the TH area.
3 
Posted By: Jay521
Info: Obviously clear and dry to the TH but if you are thinking of hiking the trail, you will need snowshoes for much of the upper portion. Going up in the morning wasn’t too bad but coming down, I was postholing even with snowshoes on. You can follow my tracks - although I didn’t stick to the trail all the time. I got real tired of taking the snowshoes off and putting them back on...
 
Posted By: dhagan
Info: Trailhead fully accessible. No gates. Full access for parking.
 
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: ATTENTION! I just received this from the USFS...
==============================
The Black Cloud TH and beginning of the trail itself will be closed from Sunday, June 25 at 3:00 PM through Thursday, June 29 for some restoration work.

Michelle Mueggler
Recreation Planner
Forest Service
San Isabel National Forest, Leadville Ranger District
 
Posted By: Fishdude
Info: We hiked Elbert from this trailhead on 9/24/16. There is a very small sign for the parking area.
When we arrived we found the entrance blocked by a newish looking cable and lock with several signs about the Vesuvius mine claim.
When we returned someone had dismantled the cable and left the u-clamps and lock on top of the posts. There is room for about three vehicles without completely blocking access should the cable be put back up.
 
Posted By: Tory Wells
Info: Perfect. Shared the trail with three other people on the Fourth, while the masses were herding on the Elbert standard route. No snow.
 
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Open and dry
 
Posted By: Eagle Eye
Info: Still open and snow free. There is a place to put a chain or cable across 2 posts at the entrance to the TH. Does this ever happen? Lots of deer on 82 and especially on 24 between Buena Vista and Granite (junction of 24 and 82)
 
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Open
 
Posted By: ledhead69
Info: Route 82 has a few spots of packed snow until the trailhead. Easiliy drivable with 2WD. The trailhead parking area has about 3 inches of fresh snow. 4WD *probably* wasn‘t necessary, but I was happy to have it.
 
Posted By: TravelingMatt
Info: Open and dry. TH is well east of the winter Independence Pass closure, so should be accessible all winter. Turnoff is signed with a small wooden sign parallel to the highway, not the easiest thing to spot. It is about 1/2 mile west of the Twin Peaks campground and a few hundred feet east of the Mt. Elbert cabins, just west of milepost 75.
 
Posted By: Boggy B
Info: Couple inches of snow but it‘s tracked so just about any vehicle could get in there.
 
Posted By: alpinenut
Info: About 6 inches of snow in the parking lot. Snow is starting to pile up at the entrance from the plows on 82. You probably need a 4wd to get in and out. We had no problems in a Jeep Cherokee. There is a sign directing you to the trail just E of the 2nd parking spot on the right.
 
Posted By: sjpwarsaw
Info: Trail head open. Parking lot open and no snow. One small snow field on trail above tree-line up to South Elbert. Clear trail - no need for snow shoes or micro spikes.
 
Posted By: mike and maddy
Info: Trailhead lot is completely snowed in, but the lodge .1 mile further down the road has wifi!
 
Posted By: susanjoypaul
Info: Road is open and mostly dry - just a few icy spots. There‘s a small snowbank at the entrance to the trailhead, but we got over it in a 2WD. The trail is dry all the way up to the stream crossing.
 
Posted By: pioletski
Info: Open and dry. BTW, it is located between mileposts 74 and 75 on Hwy 82, about 100 yds east of the Mt Elbert Lodge.
 
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Open and dry. If you haven’t been to the trailhead before, it’s best to locate the start of the trail in daylight.
 



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