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Missouri Mountain

Difficult
 4.1 (7) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

One of the harder Sawatch peaks, Missouri is a sister mountain of fellow 14ers Belford and Oxford.


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Map Key

10.9

Miles

17.5

KM

Out and Back

14,042' 4,280 m

High

9,650' 2,941 m

Low

4,399' 1,341 m

Up

4,400' 1,341 m

Down

15%

Avg Grade (9°)

71%

Max Grade (35°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

Missouri Mountain is located in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. The standard route is across the Northwest Ridge from the Missouri Gulch Trail. This is a long 11 mile out and back route with incredible scenery.

Need to Know

All hikers attempting to summit MIssouri should be mindful of how quickly the weather changes in the Colorado Rockies. The mountains regularly get afternoon storms with threats of lightning on exposed areas. A typical rule of thumb for hiking any Colorado 14er is to be off the summit by noon. In fact many hikers would suggest being off all high ridges and nearing tree line by noon. To be heading down the mountain at earlier hours means many hikers will need to consider starting their day before the sunrise to allow for adequate time to get down the mountain safely.

Description

After crossing a bridge near the trailhead, the trail quickly reaches steep switchbacks through dense pine forests. At around 10,750 you reach the first of two creek crossings. Once reaching 11,000, the trail passes an old cabin with level ground, a good place to take a break. Continuing on, you reach treeline at around 11,300 and a trail junction to Mt. Belford on the left. Stay to the right as you head into Missouri Gulch.

Near 13,000 you reach a second trail junction, this one heading left to Elkhead Pass. Stay to the right, heading to Missouri Mountains northwest slopes. You enter a talus field with steep switchbacks as you climb to the ridge around 13,700.

Gaining the ridge you are rewarded with beautiful views. Follow the ridge east toward the summit with easier hiking for a while. At around 14,000 you'll come to a notch that drops 25-30 that you must down-climb (Class 2+) on sandy rock with moderate exposure. This sounds worse than it is.

Once at the bottom, the way forward pitches severely on a sandy surface. Handholds can be found by climbing high and using the solid rock as an anchor. This section is about 30 long and once past it, there's a little more steep but easy trail is left to reach the summit.

Contacts

Shared By:

Mike Langenkamp with improvements by Mark Witte

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 7 votes

#5

in Twin Lakes

#2738

Overall
  4.1 from 7 votes
5 Star
29%
4 Star
57%
3 Star
14%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#5

in Twin Lakes

#366

in Colorado

#2,738

Overall
214 Views Last Month
3,319 Since Feb 26, 2015
Difficult

0%
0%
14%
0%
86%
0%

Photos

Camp during a BelOxMis weekend.
Apr 3, 2015 near Buena V…, CO
View from Missouri Mountain summit looking SW.
Oct 17, 2019 near St. Elmo, CO
Missouri mountain summit looking across ridgeline
Feb 26, 2015 near Buena V…, CO
Working through the "crux" area on Missouri Mountain. Its steep and full of loose dirt and gravel.
Feb 12, 2020 near St. Elmo, CO
Shack up at 10,800 ft.
Apr 3, 2015 near Leadvil…, CO
Junction. From the trail to the south, turn left for Mt. Belford, right for Mt. Missouri.
Apr 3, 2015 near Buena V…, CO

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Check-Ins

Jun 29, 2020
Andrew Patterson
Awesome hike today. Beautiful weather, backpacked 2.25 miles in and got the peak before noon. Sat by the river and enjoyed some grub. Ox n Bel next. 8.5mi — 5h 20m
Sep 16, 2018
Victor Grau Serrat
Sep 2, 2018
Reed Harrington
Jun 30, 2018
Jeff H
Amazing! 12mi
Aug 15, 2016
John Armstrong
The ridge line hike is incredible! 10.9mi — 8h 00m
Jul 11, 2016
Karen Handelman
This was our first 14er...should have started with an easier one. Tough climb! Scree at the top was rough...as was the last descent in the forest. 10.9mi — 10h 00m
Aug 10, 2015
Eddie O'Toole
Started at mile 3 of this hike (my campground). I began at 4pm and was back by 8:29pm; took a 20 min break at the top. 4.8mi
Aug 9, 2014
Mike Langenkamp
11mi