A class 2 mountain, Mount Democrat, is also a renowned for the gorgeous Kite Lake located at the trailhead. As one of the easier 14ers, this mountain attracts a lot of hiking enthusiasts every year. Located in Pike National Forest of the Rocky Mountains of North America, Mt. Democrat is very frequently combined with 3 other peaks, Mount Cameron, Mount Lincoln, and Mount Bross. Hiking all of these summits is referred to as the Decalibron, and it is a stunning adventure, and one of the most efficient ways to cross off Colorado 14ers.
Difficulty – Intermediate
Distance – 4 miles round trip (6.44 km)
Height – 14,148 feet (4,312.3 meters)
Elevation gain –2,150 Feet (655.3 meters)
Duration – 5 to 8 hours (book time)
Hike Class: Class 2
Seasons – Year-round (caution and experience needed in winter – see below)
Trailhead Elevation – 12,030 ft (3666.7 meters)
KITE LAKE TRAIL: 4 MILES ROUND TRIP | 2,150 FEET ELEVATION GAIN
Kite Lake trail is comparatively easier than many others in the region. The hike begins above treeline, so views at the trailhead are already stunning. Hikers begin hiking a moderate grade upwards for the first half mile. Seeing mountain goat is a strong possibility. The views of the surrounding mountains, and the lake back at the trailhead are fantastic.
After crossing a few mining ruins (.6 miles in), hikers will begin ascending at a steeper grade towards the junction between Mount Democrat and Mount Cameron. Hikers will reach this junction 1.4 miles into the hike. The next .4 miles are the most difficult of the hike as the grade is steep, and features lots of loose rock.
Hikers will first reach a false summit (1.8 miles in). The summit is only .2 miles later.
Hiking in Winter
Mt. Democrat is known as a great winter hiking 14ers. The trail appears to be simple, but caution still needs to be taken. There is moderate avalanche risk that hikers should be weary of. Also, some of the exposed section of the ridge is very icy. Traction and caution should be taken.
There are 5 tent sites available at the Kite Lake Campground. It also features toilets, parking at trailhead, and picnic tables. No water is available. The camping fee is $12. Information on camping can be found here. Kite lake is frequently fished.
Current Weather Conditions
Here is a detailed forecast for the next 4 days:
Mostly clear, with a low around 13. Wind chill values as low as -4. West wind 12 to 23 mph, with gusts as high as 29 mph.
Snow likely after 5pm. Partly sunny. High near 26, with temperatures falling to around 23 in the afternoon. Wind chill values as low as -2. West southwest wind 6 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Snow. Cloudy. Low around 15, with temperatures rising to around 17 overnight. South wind 9 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 5 to 9 inches possible.
Snow. Cloudy, with a high near 15. Wind chill values as low as -1. Northwest wind 9 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.
A chance of snow before 11pm, then patchy blowing snow between 4am and 5am, then a chance of snow and patchy blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 7. West northwest wind 15 to 23 mph, with gusts as high as 37 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Snow likely and areas of blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 11. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.
Snow likely and areas of blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -2. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.
Directions & Parking
Parking at the trailhead is $3 per day and done via self service.
The road to the trailhead starts in Alma, and one can reach there by taking one of the following routes:
- Colorado 9 to Alma
- Highway 285 to Fair play and then Highway 9 to Alma
- Highway 9 exit (exit 203) off of the I-70 via Breckenridge
As soon as you reach Alma, look for a sign for the road to Kite Lake. The sign is located in the middle of the town on the west side of the road. You will have to cross some residential area after this sign. As your vehicle gets closer to Kite Lake, the road conditions worsen, and the last mile is the worst. A good vehicle with wide clearance will, however, make it simple for you. 4WD recommended. If you don’t have a capable vehicle, you may see yourself adding mileage by having to park far down the road.