Features: Lake — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
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.
Starting at the Kite Lake parking lot, cross a small stream network on some rocks. 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. 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
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.