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Mount Democrat

Difficult
 4.3 (16) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This moderate trail provides access to 14er Mt. Democrat and the DeCaliBron linkup.


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Map Key

3.8

Miles

6.2

KM

54%

Runnable

14,122' 4,304 m

High

12,029' 3,666 m

Low

2,093' 638 m

Up

2,092' 638 m

Down

21%

Avg Grade (12°)

80%

Max Grade (38°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Day pass parking/ camping permit required, available on the way to the Kite Lake Trailhead.

Overview

Mount Democrat is the first Peak in the DeCaliBron loop that connects with Mounts Cameron, Lincoln & Bross. Considered the starting point of the DeCaliBron loop, Mount Democrat is an enjoyable stand alone run and great introduction to Colorado 14ers. The start is already above 12,000' with a fairly steep elevation gain in a short distance. Be prepared for exposure at this height. Views in every direction are the peaks of other 14ers on the near horizon. This is a rewarding run in every way!

Need to Know

At the gate entrance to the dirt road up to the trailhead is a post with parking permits available. The town of Alma checks periodically day and night to make sure vehicles have a permit.

Runner Notes

While rocky and in some parts steep, this trail provides good training for fit and sure-footed trail runners. Expect about 1.5-3 hrs round trip based on your level of fitness, with two-thirds of the time spent on the ascent.

Description

Starting at the Kite Lake parking lot, cross a small stream network on some rocks. This is an easy, well-defined trail at the start. Angle left and continue up a slight incline on an excellent dirt trail. After about half a mile, the grade begins to kick up as the trail gets rockier and turns around some switchbacks. The terrain becomes more rock and boulders about a mile in. The trail is still fairly easy to follow with cairns marking the best path. Once coming up the first headwall, the trail straightens out but remains rocky. After a few more switchbacks, reach the Democrat-Cameron Saddle at 13,400 ft. There is an abandoned mine shaft to the left, right at the saddle.

Turn left here to continue to the Mt. Democrat summit. From here the trail is steep and rocky, but remains along the ridge and is easy to follow. Reach a plateau around 13,900 ft and walk about 100 yds before coming to the summit block. Continue about 200 vertical ft along some switchbacks to reach the summit. NOTE: at 13,600 ft there is a clear trail angling left before reaching the plateau mentioned above. This provides a less direct but more gradual alternative to the direct walk up the ridge, which is more popular with faster runners or if any snow is present.

From here, descend back to Kite Lake or continue along to the DeCaliBron linkup via the Democrat-Lincoln Trail.

The entire trail is above tree line and is completely exposed to quickly changing weather conditions. From the top there are beautiful views in every direction and the only peaks higher by a few feet, are other Colorado 14ers. This would be a good beginner introduction to climbing 14ers.

Flora & Fauna

The trail starts at 12,050' and most of the vegetation is Alpine tundra, and a few wildflowers. Starting above treeline, you'll see some wildflowers and willows down low, and pika and marmots up high. Despite its proximity to Quandary Peak with its friendly mountain goats, you won't see many here.

Contacts

Shared By:

Tyler Prince

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 16 votes

#3

in Park County

#1160

Overall
  4.3 from 16 votes
5 Star
38%
4 Star
56%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
6%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in Park County

#215

in Colorado

#1,160

Overall
135 Views Last Month
7,677 Since Mar 2, 2015
Difficult

0%
0%
18%
0%
82%
0%

Photos

Long shot at 07:30 am from 12,680' looking down southeast towards the beginning of the trail up to Mount Democrat. This shot shows the progression from a smooth, wide trail to start, to a steeper and rockier climb forward. This is halfway to the summit.
Sep 26, 2019 near Copper…, CO
East towards Alma at halfway to the summit of Mount Democrat.
Oct 12, 2019 near Copper…, CO
View looking back down from just above the previous shot. Southeast towards the trailhead, no longer in view.
Sep 19, 2019 near Copper…, CO
GYGO! Colorado Fourteener Style
Mar 4, 2015 near Fairplay, CO
Only halfway, this is pretty much your view of the other half. Minor scrambling.
Oct 1, 2019 near Copper…, CO
07:20 am looking southeast towards the Kite Lake Trailhead. September 4, 2019. One of many old, abandoned mines along the way. The beginning of this trail is right center at that point in Kite Lake
Sep 19, 2019 near Copper…, CO

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