14er: Trail Restoration @ Mt. Elbert

This physically demanding project will protect the delicate habitat of Colorado's tallest mountain.
Type of Work:
Ecological Restoration, Trail Construction
June 27, 2019 - June 30, 2019
8:00 am-2:00 pm
Physical Difficulty:
Minimum Age:
Northern & Central Mountains
Groups Allowed:
Payment Required:
Individual, Family, Friends Registration
You will be sent to a secure registration site.


Starting in 2017, VOC is partnering with other Colorado outdoor stewardship groups and the U.S. Forest Service through the National Forest Foundation Find Your Fourteener campaign so that together we can do more on our majestic Fourteeners. We are working collaboratively to increase the pace and scale of trail improvements and ecological restoration. Our vision is to work together, with you, to build and maintain a sustainable trails network, ensuring these peaks remain healthy and inviting for decades to come. With help from skilled, passionate volunteers like you, we can complete even more on-the-ground work on Colorado's Fourteeners. Every volunteer in the Fourteener community is important in this long-term effort, and we are grateful for your help!

Where You'll Be:
Located near Leadville, Mount Elbert stands at 14,433 feet and is the tallest peak in Colorado and the entire Rocky Mountain Range. The South Mount Elbert Trail is one of the most popular routes to the summit, providing the mountain's thousands of visitors with stunning views and the occasional marmot, pika, or mountain goat sighting as the trail climbs through the San Isabel National Forest and across alpine tundra.

What You'll Do:
Join VOC and the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI) for our third year in a row working on Colorado's tallest 14er, Mount Elbert! On this difficult project of about 20 volunteers, you'll spend the weekend working above tree line with adults 18+ to restore a closed section on Mt. Elbert's East Ridge.

This project will be physically demanding, but rewarding. Due to the remote location of the project, volunteers are required to hike to the campsite on Thursday evening (2.5 miles with 1,500 ft. elevation gain) and participate in the entire duration of the project. We will set up camp near 11,700 ft. and hike a short but strenuous distance from basecamp to the project site. Restoration tasks include transplanting native vegetation, hauling soil, and installing wattles to stabilize the soil and reduce erosion. Work on the highest project site (12,500 ft.) will focus on restoring a large section of deeply eroded trail braids and will require installing check dams from cedar planking. Meals will be provided by our volunteer Crew Chefs and Sunday will be a half-day of work followed by hiking back to the trailhead.

Why It Matters:
Colorado's "14ers" pay a price for their surging popularity, with an estimated 25,000 - 30,000 hikers visiting Mount Elbert in a single summer. Your efforts will help mitigate the harmful impacts from increased visitation and prevent trail erosion to protect the mountain's delicate alpine habitat.

Need-to-Know Details:
  • All days are required due to the remote location of the project.
  • Volunteers are responsible for providing their own camping equipment. VOC will provide meals, tools, and work gloves.
  • Cancellation: Our partners rely on VOC volunteers to accomplish critical stewardship needs, and our projects often have wait lists. If you need to cancel, please contact Emily Schaefer at 303-715-1010 ext. 116 as soon as possible so we can free your spot for another volunteer and have a full workforce.

About Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC)
Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) is the state's oldest, largest, and leading outdoor stewardship nonprofit organization. Founded in 1984 to motivate and enable people to become active stewards of Colorado's natural resources, VOC has engaged nearly 120,000 people in more than 1,000 volunteer projects for a donated labor value of $24 million. Through award-winning youth and volunteer programs, leadership training, capacity-building programs, and collaborative efforts with nonprofits and land management agencies, VOC is an invaluable resource in Colorado, especially as our outdoor stewardship needs are approaching near-crisis levels. For more information, visit www.voc.org or call 303-715-1010.