[Mount Massive Lake #1. Photo: Patrick McKay] The Mount Massive Wilderness was declared by the United States Congress as a Wilderness Area in 1980. The wilderness now contains over 30,000 acres, and it is co-managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The U.S. Forest Service runs the land areas of the wilderness, while the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service manages the local fish species inhabiting the area. Approximately 2,500 acres of the Mount Massive Wilderness is under the supervision of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service as the Leadville National Fish Hatchery can be found at the eastern boundary of the wilderness.
National Wilderness Area near Leadville
Hiking is a very popular recreational activity in the Mount Massive Wilderness. The wilderness’ namesake, Mount Massive, is appropriately named so. It is notable for being Colorado’s second highest peak. Mount Massive stands at a formidable height of 14,421, just 21 feet short of Mount Elbert, and the highest peak in Colorado. Many of the other mountains in the Sawatch Range are also high in elevation. Despite this, the mountains in the Sawatch Range are known for being easy climbs.
The two main access points into the wilderness are the Elbert Creek Campground and the Timberline Lake Trailhead. The Elbert Creek Campground can be reached by travelling south from Leadville onto Highway 24. The Timberline Lake Trailhead can be accessed by driving west from Leadville onto Lake County Road 9.
Season: Year round
Management: USFS and USFWS