Distance – 7.8 miles round trip (17.38 km)
Height – 14,203 feet (4329.07 m)
Elevation gain – 4,680 feet (1426.46 m)
Duration – 6 to 8 hours (book time)
Difficulty – Strenuous
Class: Class 2 Hike
Seasons – This hike can be completed in all seasons, but winter is especially difficult, and dangerous.
Trailhead Location – Missouri Gulch Trailhead – 9,650 feet (directions below)
Missouri Gulch Trail – 3.9 Miles One Way – 4,680 Feet Elevation Gain
This is the most common route taken towards Mount Oxford and Mount Belford. The trail begins by crossing over clear creek with a well maintained foot bridge. The trail remains relatively level for about .5 miles before hikers begin the first set of switchbacks.
1.2 miles in, hikers will reach a log bridge crossing the creek. The trail continues to ascend along the creek before reaching the junction towards either Mount Belford, or Missouri Mountain. All around this junction are various backcountry camping sites.
Hikers will bear left towards Mount Belford and Mount Oxford at this junction. The next 1.7 miles to the summit of Mount raise from 11,640 feet to 14,197 feet, making this section quite steep.
Once hitting the summit of Mount Belford, Mount Oxford is very clearly in site. Hikers will often choose to descend towards Elkhead Pass and do a bit of a loop. This adds some mileage, but less steep grade, and gorgeous views.
Mount Belford Via Elkhead Pass – 5.4 Miles One Way – 4,563 Feet Elevation Gain
This route is an awesome route that is slightly more mileage, but a more gradual last gain to the summit. Hikers begin at the same location but bear right at the junction heading towards Missouri Mountain. Hikers will reach a sign that points towards Elkhead Pass 3.8 miles in. Hikers reach the top of Elkhead Pass 4.6 miles in, and then bear left towards the summit of Mount Belford, reaching it 5.4 miles in.
Mount Belford Via Elkhead Pass & Mount Belford Trail Loop – 9.5 Miles – 4,703 Feet Elevation Gain
This route simply combines the above routes into a great loop. This is our recommended path for hitting Belford, or both Belford and Oxford.
Mount Belford, & Oxford Combined
For more information on combining both peaks, read here.
Mount Belford, Oxford & Missouri Combined
For more information on hiking all three peaks, read here
Hiking Mount Belford In Winter
As with any 14er, this hike is significantly more dangerous in winter. These summits are doable in winter months via the same route.
Camping For Mount Belford
There is no camping allowed at the trailhead for Mount Belford, Oxford & Missouri, however all along the road leading to the trailhead, there are various dispersed campsites that are first come first serve, free, and require no reservations.
The dispersed backcountry sites are also available at various points along the hike, most of which at the junction between the three summits. More information can be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/cs/generalinfo
Current Weather Conditions:
Here is the detailed weather forecast for the next few days. We highly recommend you check out the mountain forecast for this peak the morning of your hike.
Twin Lakes, CO
Mostly sunny, with a high near 21. Wind chill values as low as -9. West northwest wind around 15 mph.
A slight chance of snow showers after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 10. Wind chill values as low as -5. West southwest wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
A chance of snow showers before noon, then a chance of snow showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Cloudy, with a high near 10. Wind chill values as low as -10. West southwest wind 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 7. Wind chill values as low as -12. Southwest wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
A chance of snow showers before noon, then snow showers likely and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 22. West wind around 20 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
A chance of snow showers before midnight. Partly cloudy, with a low around 13. West wind 15 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%.
A chance of snow showers before noon, then a chance of snow showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 25. West wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.
Directions & Parking
The trailhead is accessible to all types of vehicles. The road leading to Missouri Gulch Trailhead is dirt, but two wheel drive vehicles won’t have issues.
Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and sharing experiences with others. Max is a published author for various outdoor websites and digital marketing websites. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about