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
Partly cloudy, with a low around -5. Wind chill values as low as -21. North northeast wind around 10 mph. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Sunny, with a high near 18. Wind chill values as low as -21. North wind around 10 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 1. Wind chill values as low as -20. Northwest wind 10 to 20 mph.
Areas of blowing snow before 5pm, then blowing snow and snow showers likely. Mostly sunny, with a high near 15. Wind chill values as low as -18. West northwest wind 20 to 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Blowing snow and snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -7. West wind 25 to 35 mph, with gusts as high as 50 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of around one inch possible.
Areas of blowing snow before 5pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 1. West northwest wind around 25 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Mostly clear, with a low around -5. West wind 20 to 25 mph.
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 making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about