This trail begins innocently enough, but at the two-mile mark you begin a climb of 3,300 ft over the next 2.5 miles, a painful and mostly steady 25% grade. The entire climb is exposed and even in September it can be quite hot, a heat enhanced by sun reflecting off the light colored rock. Ideally, you should start this run very early so that most of the climb can be completed before 10 am and seen in the more appealing early light.
Alternatively, if you are connecting from another trail, or likely the Lodgepole Visitor Center, consider camping at the base of the pass to get an early start.
From the top of the Elizabeth Pass, stark Deadman Canyon awaits. The initial 1.3-mile descent is rocky and hard on the feet. The remaining eight miles is nice trail which follows a stream which grows in strength, fed by alpine lakes, west of the canyon.
There are many suitable places to camp and even a couple of refreshing swimming holes. Roaring River Ranger Station is the terminus but it often unoccupied so don't expect to receive help or advice at this location. Run prepared. There are bear proof metal food storage containers in the vicinity of the Ranger Station.
From the ranger station, there are three options. The Sugarloaf Trail allows one to complete the loop back to the Lodgepole Visitors Center via Silliman Pass up the Silliman Pass Trail
and down the Twin Lakes Trail
. The Colby Trail can get you to Mt. Whitney. While a permit to hike Mt. Whitney from the Whitney Portal can take months to obtain, no permit is required to approach Mt. Whitney from the west. You've earned it if you came over Elizabeth Pass.