Mount Democrat is the first Peak in the DeCaliBron
loop that connects with Mounts Cameron, Lincoln & Bross. Considered the starting point of the DeCaliBron
loop, Mount Democrat is an enjoyable stand alone hike and great introduction to Colorado 14ers. The start is already above 12,000' with a fairly steep elevation gain in a short distance. Be prepared for exposure at this height. Views in every direction are the peaks of other 14ers on the near horizon. This is a rewarding hike in every way!
At the gate entrance to the dirt road up to the trailhead is a post with parking permits available. The town of Alma checks periodically day and night to make sure vehicles have a permit.
Starting at the Kite Lake parking lot, cross a small stream network on some rocks. This is an easy, well-defined trail at the start. Angle left and continue up a slight incline on an excellent dirt trail. After about half a mile, the grade begins to kick up as the trail gets rockier and turns around some switchbacks. The terrain becomes more rock and boulders about a mile in. The trail is still fairly easy to follow with cairns marking the best path. Once coming up the first headwall, the trail straightens out but remains rocky. After a few more switchbacks, reach the Democrat-Cameron Saddle at 13,400 ft. There is an abandoned mine shaft to the left, right at the saddle.
Turn left here to continue to the Mt. Democrat summit. From here the trail is steep and rocky, but remains along the ridge and is easy to follow. Reach a plateau around 13,900 ft and walk about 100 yds before coming to the summit block. Continue about 200 vertical ft along some switchbacks to reach the summit. NOTE: at 13,600 ft there is a clear trail angling left before reaching the plateau mentioned above. This provides a less direct but more gradual alternative to the direct walk up the ridge, which is more popular with faster hikers or if any snow is present.
From here, descend back to Kite Lake or continue along to the DeCaliBron
linkup via the Democrat-Lincoln Trail
The entire trail is above tree line and is completely exposed to quickly changing weather conditions. From the top there are beautiful views in every direction and the only peaks higher by a few feet, are other Colorado 14ers. This would be a good beginner introduction to climbing 14ers.
The trail starts at 12,050' and most of the vegetation is Alpine tundra, and a few wildflowers. Starting above treeline, you'll see some wildflowers and willows down low, and pika and marmots up high. Despite its proximity to Quandary Peak
with its friendly mountain goats, you won't see many here.