The highest peak in the entire 1800-mile sweep of the majestic Rocky
Mountains is not Pikes Peak, nor the Grand Teton, nor any of the awesome
summits of the Canadian Rockies. The honor goes to Mt. Elbert, a huge,
sprawling, gentle, and uninspiring massif in the Sawatch Range just southwest of Leadville, Colorado. Few non-mountaineers outside of Colorado have heard of Mount Elbert, and even in Colorado the state's high point is sometimes regarded as an embarassing joke.
Leadville, at 10,000 feet, is the highest town of any size in the U.S., so Mount Elbert's base is so high it robs the peak of much of it's apparent
elevation. Trails up Mount Elbert begin as high as 10,100', leaving the hike to the summit with less vertical gain than the standrard route up New Hampshire's 5799' Mount Adams (4333' vs. 4492'). The gentleness of the peak is such that people have been known to mountain-bike to the summit, and at one point a road was planned--certainly it's just as feasible as the ones up Pikes Peak or Mount Evans.
The main difficulty in the hike to the crowning summit of the Rockies is
the high elevation, a special problem for flatlanders from sea level.
Otherwise, the route leading up from Half-Moon Campground on the north or the Black Cloud Creek Trail from Route 82 offer easy day hikes. There can be some snowfields along the way in early season, and the routes sometimes get crowded, but beyond that perhaps no other high peak of a comparable mountain range offers such an easy ascent.