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Hiking Mount Lincoln – Colorado’s 8th Highest Peak

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Article Categories: Hiking
Article Tags: CO 14er | Colorado | Day Hikes

Mount Lincoln is a class 2 hike and mountain located in Pike National Forest of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Lincoln and Mount Bross are often hiked together in a loop described below (6 mile loop). Mount Lincoln is also frequently combined with 3 other peaks, Mount Cameron, Mount Democrat, 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 – 5.6 miles round trip (9.01 km)
Height – 14,286 feet (4,354.4 meters)
Elevation gain –2,470 Feet (752.9 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)

 

***IMPORTANT NOTE***

– The summit of Mount Bross is closed to the public. Read about this here: https://www.14ers.org/peaks/mosquito-range/mount-bross/. Starting Friday July 27th, 2023 the summit of Mount Democrat and Mount Lincoln were both reopened to the public.

 

Trail Map

Mount Lincoln CO Trail Map

 

Trails

 

KITE LAKE TRAIL TOWARDS MOUNT LINCOLN: 5.6 MILES ROUND TRIP | 2,470 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), you 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. At this junction, hikers will turn right to head up towards Mount Cameron. Here, the rocks are somewhat loose and the grade is steep.

After summiting Mount Cameron (above 14,000 feet, but not a CO 14er due to a lack of prominence) hikers will continue on towards the summit of Lincoln. The views once ascending the ridge to Mount Cameron are absolutely stunning in all directions.

 

KITE LAKE TO MOUNT BROSS: 7 MILES ROUND TRIP | 2,550 FEET ELEVATION GAIN

This route begins at the same starting location, but hikers will head up towards Mount Bross first. This trail begins relatively flat before hitting the rock/scree fields below Mount Bross. Quickly, this route gets very steep with lots of loose rock and gravel. Extra caution should be taken on this path due to the trail conditions and loose rock. Once hikers ascend to above the steep grade, the hike over to Mount Lincoln is relatively simple. Hikers are urged to stay on trail due to the dangers of old mines, as well as private property concerns. The summit of Mount Bross is currently considered closed due to private property reasons.

 

THE LOOP (BOTH COMBINED): 6 MILES ROUND TRIP | 2,600 FEET ELEVATION GAIN

The loop is quite simple, combining both of the above. Many like to head up Mount Bross first due to the loose rock being difficult to descend. Either option is fine.

 

Hiking in Winter

Mount Lincoln can be hiked in winter months. Caution should be taken due to Avalanche risks. Hikers should be fully prepared and experienced winter hikers.

Camping Information

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:

Alma, CO

This Afternoon
A slight chance of snow showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 41. Southwest wind around 20 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Tonight
A chance of snow showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 20. West southwest wind around 20 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Tuesday
Snow showers likely before noon, then snow showers and a chance of thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 30. West wind around 20 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 3 to 5 inches possible.

Tuesday Night
A chance of snow showers and a chance of thunderstorms before 11pm. Partly cloudy, with a low around 13. West wind 10 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Wednesday
A slight chance of snow showers after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 35. West wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Wednesday Night
Mostly clear, with a low around 21. West southwest wind 10 to 15 mph.

Thursday
A slight chance of snow showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms after noon. Sunny, with a high near 36. West southwest wind 15 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph.

 

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.

 

Additional Pictures

Looking back at Kite Lake

Looking back at Kite Lake

Heading to Lincoln from Mount Cameron

Heading to Lincoln from Mount Cameron

Lincoln from Mount Democrat Summit

Lincoln from Mount Democrat Summit

Mount Lincoln Looking Towards Quandary Peak

Mount Lincoln Looking Towards Quandary Peak

Mount Lincoln Summit

Mount Lincoln Summit

Mount Lincoln Summit Views

Mount Lincoln Summit Views

Mount Lincoln Summit Views

Views of Lincoln and Bross from Cameron

Views of Lincoln and Bross from Cameron

The Connection Between Mount Democrat and Mount Cameron

The Connection Between Mount Democrat and Mount Cameron

Views from Early on in Hike

Views from Early on in Hike

Views of Kite Lake While Ascending Mount Democrat

Views of Kite Lake While Ascending Mount Democrat

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, backcountry skier, 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. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued climbed all of the Colorado 14ers, is always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about

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