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:
Blowing snow and snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 8. Wind chill values as low as -19. West northwest wind 31 to 41 mph, with gusts as high as 67 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Blowing snow and a chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy. Low around 7, with temperatures rising to around 9 overnight. Wind chill values as low as -17. West northwest wind 21 to 31 mph, with gusts as high as 49 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of around one inch possible.
Blowing snow and a chance of snow showers. Partly sunny. High near 15, with temperatures falling to around 12 in the afternoon. Wind chill values as low as -14. West northwest wind 28 to 40 mph, with gusts as high as 44 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Areas of blowing snow and a slight chance of snow showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 12. Wind chill values as low as -12. West northwest wind 33 to 38 mph, with gusts as high as 43 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Areas of blowing snow before 7am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 27. West northwest wind around 36 mph.
A slight chance of snow showers after midnight. Partly cloudy, with a low around 20. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
A chance of snow showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 24. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
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.