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Hiking The Decalibron – One of Colorado’s Best 14er Loop Hikes

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

***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.

The Decalibron is a 7.6 mile loop hike featuring four (three official) 14,000 foot peaks, Mount Democrat, Mount Cameron*, Mount Lincoln, and Mount Bross. This is probably the most efficient way to knock off a few peaks for peak-baggers. The views are incredible, and the high elevation trailhead at Kite Lake make the elevation gain of these peaks less demanding than most 14ers.

Difficulty – Intermediate
Distance –7.6 miles round trip (12.23 km)
Highest Point – 14,286 feet (4,354.4 m)
Elevation gain – 3,000 feet (914.4 m)
Duration – 6 to 8 hours (book time)
Hike Class: Class 2
Seasons – Year-round (caution and experience needed in winter – see below)
Trailhead Location – Kite Lake – 12,030 feet (directions below)

 

Trail Map

Decalibron-Trail-Map

Decalibron Trail Map

 

Trails

The below description is completing this loop in a clockwise direction. Hikers can choose to go in either direction.

Hikers will begin at the Kite Lake Parking Lot (directions below – $3 day fee applies).

Starting at the Kite Lake parking lot, cross a small stream network on some rocks. Angle left and continue up a moderate incline on a well traveled and maintained dirt path. Around .5 miles into the hike, the trail gets rockier and steeper. Hikers will continue the ascent with various switchbacks and reach the Democrat-Cameron Saddle at 13,400 feet 1.5 miles into the hike.

Turn left here to continue to the Mt. Democrat summit. This section of the trail gets steep, and features lots of loose rock. It is .4 miles from the saddle to a false summit, and .2 miles further, hikers will reach the Democrat summit.

After summiting, hikers will descend back to the Democrat-Cameron Saddle. At the saddle, continue straight.  It is .9 miles from the saddle to the summit of Cameron. The first .5 miles from the saddle is quite steep, but the trail is in decent condition. The last half mile to the summit of Cameron is relatively flat. The views are just incredible at all angles from here.

At the summit of Cameron, it is easy to see the entire trail all the way to Mount Lincoln. It is a gradual decline for .2 miles, before ascending to the highest point of this loop hike at the summit of Mount Lincoln. From here, hikers can easily see the entire path all the way to Mount Bross as well.

After summiting Lincoln, head back towards Mount Cameron, and bear left of the summit of Cameron to head towards Mount Bross. The next 1.5 miles contains easy to traverse trails to just below the summit of Mount Bross. This is privately owned land, so the trail does not go to the summit. You will see paths to the summit, even though this currently is not allowed by the landowners. It is a steep traverse up to the summit and back down, but only around .2 miles each way. Hikers should stay on the trails as old mines could be unstable.

The descent to Kite Lake from Mount Bross is rough. The trail is steep and features tons of loose rock and dirt. Caution should definitely be taken here. On the bright side, the views are absolutely stunning. The last .4 miles to the trailhead get a lot more gradual and are easy hiking.

 

Hiking in Winter

The entire Decalibron is done in winter, but accidents do happen. Avalanche risk is here. We recommend looking at full winter routes for these mountains before proceeding.

 

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.

 

Directions & Parking

The parking area has a $3 self service pay station. It fills up very quickly due to popularity. You will see cars lined up down the road to hike here.

 

Current Weather Conditions

Here is a detailed forecast for the next 4 days:

Alma, CO

Tonight
A chance of showers and thunderstorms before midnight, then a slight chance of thunderstorms and a slight chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34. South wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Thursday
A chance of rain and snow showers before noon, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms between noon and 4pm, then showers and thunderstorms likely. Partly sunny, with a high near 51. South southwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Thursday Night
Showers and thunderstorms likely before 9pm, then showers and thunderstorms likely between 9pm and midnight, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms between midnight and 3am, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Cloudy, with a low around 37. Southwest wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.

Friday
A chance of rain showers before 9am, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms between 9am and noon, then showers and thunderstorms likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 49. West southwest wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Friday Night
Showers and thunderstorms likely before 9pm, then showers and thunderstorms likely between 9pm and midnight, then a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 36. West wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Saturday
A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 50. West northwest wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. New rainfall amounts less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Saturday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 36. West wind 5 to 10 mph.

 

Additional Pictures

Looking back at Kite Lake

Looking back at Kite Lake

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 from Summit of Mount Democrat

Views from Summit of Mount Democrat

Views of Kite Lake While Ascending Mount Democrat

Views of Kite Lake While Ascending Mount Democrat

Mount Lincoln from Mount Bross

Mount Lincoln from Mount Bross

Pano Views Heading Down Mount Bross

Pano Views Heading Down Mount Bross

Summit Views on Mount Bross

Summit Views on Mount Bross

Trail on Scree Field Heading Down Mount Bross

Trail on Scree Field Heading Down Mount Bross

Views from Kite Lake

Views from Kite Lake

Waterfall at Base of Mount Bross

Waterfall at Base of Mount Bross

Abandoned Truck on Mount Bross

Abandoned Truck on Mount Bross

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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