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)
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.
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:
Snow showers likely and areas of blowing snow before 2am, then patchy blowing snow and a slight chance of snow showers between 2am and 5am, then a chance of snow showers and patchy blowing snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 3. Wind chill values as low as -21. West northwest wind around 26 mph, with gusts as high as 39 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
A chance of snow showers and patchy blowing snow before 8am, then patchy blowing snow and a slight chance of snow showers between 8am and 5pm. Partly sunny. High near 13, with temperatures falling to around 9 in the afternoon. Wind chill values as low as -19. Northwest wind 20 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 39 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of around one inch possible.
Mostly cloudy. Low around 5, with temperatures rising to around 7 overnight. Wind chill values as low as -14. Northwest wind 14 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.
Patchy blowing snow between 10am and 4pm, then a slight chance of snow. Partly sunny, with a high near 19. Wind chill values as low as -12. West northwest wind 14 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
A slight chance of snow before 2am, then patchy blowing snow and a slight chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 8. West northwest wind 14 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Patchy blowing snow and a slight chance of snow before 5pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 17. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Partly cloudy, with a low around 6.