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Left at 7am from Halfmoon trailhead aiming at ascent via SE ridge as described in Roach book. Did not find the side trail at 10,600’ mentioned in other posts but ascent through the sparse pine forest was straightforward. Reached tree line at 11,800’, great views from there, ridge line easy to follow. Did not meet a single hiker until rejoining the main trail below the summit.

SE ridge is an awesome alternative for those who like hiking off the beaten path. The ascent requires more effort due to the lack of trail and some up and down along the ridge (about 1000’ extra vertical in all). There is no water along this route so bring plenty.

I did this hike on August 15 and the climate was absolutely wonderful. The reviews helped me make the decision to go on this hike and I really recommend taking a jacket for the cold and to travel light. It helped me a lot to drink Emergen-C before and after the hike to hydrate my body. I recommend doing that. It was my first 14ner and it was excellent!

Amazing. looks like a popular access point for swimming at the base of the falls. Lots of locals at the bridge where everyone parked. you can hike past where the swimming hole is which takes you up to the falls you see from the bridge. if you take overgrown trails to the right off the main path you'll find a smaller set of falls. lovely hike, lots of careful climbing. I could see how someone can surprise you on this trail. A local hiker covered in tribal tats and carrying a backpack crossed paths with me while sitting at the edge of a tidepool. Was a Friendly type.

Beautiful views, but the trails needs work. Coming down after the summit is really difficult and would be easier with smaller steps. Avoid summitting and leaving same day - the trails will not be favourable conditions.

Fucking awesome hike; this is just a phenomenal experience. Democrat would be a great beginner 14er. Lincoln was really haunting. It snowed a fair amount (8/16/18), so be prepared with layers, gloves, a buff, etc. poles would’ve been helpful for the descent.

Easily accessible trail. You start above treeline so there isn't a long trek before you start going up. Climb Bross first, there is a lot of loose rock and it is much easier to go up than down. Start early and bring some warmer clothes for up on top.

I started at 6:30 up bross. It was slippery rock going up so I couldnI’ll imagine it going down. I’m pretty happy with going that way. You get a nice “break” going to Lincoln and then Cameron. Then a buttkicker for Democrat. Buttkicker either way ! Amazing views. We even got some snow flurries up there. Finished the rocky trail at 1:30pm

Flew in from Vegas just to complete this Mountian. Me and my fiance have done many high elevation hikes, Boundary Peak (Nevada high point), Mt. Whitney, Charleston Peak, and many many more. I have never got elevation sickness. On Saturday we attempted this summit from black cloud trail and 3 miles in, I was throwing up, light headed, etc. Had to come back down to camp to sleep and hydrate. I was very upset as we had to head back to Vegas the following day. I said: I am not going home without doing Summiting this. The following morning we had woke at 330 am and hit the trail at 425-430 am. We made it to the summit at 7:45 am, took quick picks of the hazy horizon (smoke) and departed after 10 min on the summit (had a flight to catch). We were the second group to the summit that day. We made it back to the trail head at 10:12 am. Ran the last 500 yards to get to the trailhead before 10:15 for a great accomplishment. We brought a bottle of the oxygen that they sell everywhere you go, and it WORKS. You get your breath back immediately. Get an early start, wear warm clothing. The hike is really easy the first 1.5 miles. At the top of the tree line we had an average pack of 2.6 MPH, which slowed down after the tree line. That's when the climbing starts. We had a blast! The hike is a challenge, when you're in a hurry. The 3 false summits suck. Bring trekking poles and start early. When we were heading back down and made it back to the tree line, there was soooooo much traffic. Too many people underestimate this hike and start around 8 am. Get to the trailhead at 4 am and give yourself time. Happytrails.

This was an amazing hike and the view was incredible! It helped to have the weather cooperate for 100 percent of the day.
I was hiking with a group of 12, ages from 14 to 58, and physical fitness levels ranging from sedentary to extremely fit. The fit people didn’t have a problem completing the hike, 2 sedentary people made it past tree level but ended up turning around, and a few people (me included) who hadn’t been very active in the months previous but had some physical fitness before, made it up but it took a long time and it was hard to say the least. It was definitely worth the effort! The elation of everyone at the top was thrilling to be a part of and it maxed out all my happy endorphins.
I was pretty sore for many days after the hike but so glad I was able to complete it.

trail running
3 days ago

Great trail, lots of hills

Wonderful hike! We started in the dark at 5:03am, and summited right at 9 am. We were down and in our car just before noon. So, approximately 7 hrs round trip at a slow and steady pace.

Oh, also...
Those false summits are soul crushing by the second one. I knew going into the hike that there were 3-4. I was still disheartened, but ultimately pushed through that mental barrier.

Completed this hike on Sunday the 12th. It was one of the most strenuous hikes I have done but it paid off at the top. Got to the trail head at about 5:15am and the outer ring of the lot was already full. Found a spot off the "road" and was on the trail around 5:30am. The first 1.5-2 miles is a steady incline which isnt too bad. At the 2-2.5 mile mark, the incline sets in. The worst of all is at about 3.5-4.5 miles in which is the steepest part. About 1k feet per mile in gain. I reached the summit around 8:30am after 3 or 4 false summits(great resting points). Incredible views of Twin Lakes, Mt Massive, and the entire Collegiate Peaks range. There were times it was a bit windy but once the sun came up, the win was very refreshing and welcomed.

Start as early as you are comfortable. The lot will get full quick on the weekends so be mindful of parking. Speaking of, I saw a few cars boxed in that could not leave. Not sure if they were part of a group but I had just enough room to get my vehicle out of the area it was in due to double and triple parking. Please do not do this as the last thing you want to do when youre done with this is wait for someone else to complete it and get back to their car.

Camped for free along the road leading up to the trailhead. Got my car to the parking lot at 5:30am and set off at 6. I wore leggings, a long sleeve, trail runners, and a dollar jacket I got from a goodwill. Took a 2L camelback and that was plenty. There are some parts above the tree line that are steep with lots of loose rocks, I took quite a few short breaks. So worth the effort once at the top!! Made it down by 11:00am. I do wish I would have brought gloves with me. Also, don’t carry a bunch of stuff you don’t need. The hike was easier because I carried light.

it was an amazing hike. lots of people are suggesting to srart going up from bross. I personnally wouldnot reccomend. I am beginner hiker and this was my 5th fourtener. Starting from bross you will loose all the energy you got an you may not be able to do all 4. Yes going down on bross is tough due to steep slope and loose rocks all the way down.

I loved this hike! Started with Democrat around 6:45am, then went to Cameron, Lincoln, and finished with Bross, back to the car about 6 hours later. My dad and I were worried after reading reviews about the descent down Bross, and made a game time decision to go ahead and go for it. In my opinion, it wasn’t as bad as a lot of people describe- definitely lots of loose rocks and prepare to slide a lot- but it wasn’t dangerous or life-threatening in terms of sending you off the mountain. I had my heart set on bagging all 4 peaks so for me doing Bross was worth the tough descent. My dad thinks maybe he would have just skipped Bross altogether. The rest of it we absolutely loved. Definitely the toughest hike up Democrat so I’m glad we got that out of the way first. My favorite view was on top of Lincoln.

Amazing and rewarding hike completed 08/12 with the wife. Steep most of the way especially after treeline, about 3 false summits but easy stretch to summit. Great weather.

This can be a great hike - if you're prepared. I completed this hike with 3 friends this past Saturday, August 11, and we all found it more challenging than expected, especially given that the most recent review here says "first easy hike...perfect for our 7-year-old's first time in CO"! I'm wondering if either they did a different trail or they just have the toughest 7-year-old in the world.

The first challenging aspect is that this hike is located in the true Colorado desert, much of it without cover so you're hiking in the full sun. Second, it's a a lower elevation than most of the hikes we do in CO so there's not the normal escape from the summer heat that we're used to. I would not recommend doing this hike in the summer at all unless you have plenty of water - as in bring what you think you need then bring about half as much again - and you have the proper summer-time gear, like wide brimmed hats, lots of sunblock, etc.; or you hit the trail VERY early in the day before it gets warm.

This trail is very rugged. The condition of the trail matches the fact that it is in a State Wildlife Area as it definitely wild! In many places it is overgrown to the point that you are pushing through vegetation without being able to see where you're going. Often we were essentially skirting the side of the canyon on a single-file trail. The trail itself is covered in largish rocks that force you to keep an eye on where you're placing your feet. If you want to take in the scenery, which really is beautiful, you almost have to stop to avoid a misstep.

The trail isn't always clearly marked either but we did download the All Trails map and it helped us get back on track a couple of times, BUT, there is one section that apparently has been rerouted since the map was last updated. When going clockwise, right as you're leaving edge of the creek for the last time, there is a fork in the trail and the All Trails map tells you to go left, even though the trail on the right is more well-used and there are a few rocks partially blocking the left fork. We thought we should trust the All Trails map though and went left and wound up in what appeared to be a bear's bathroom! The trail just tapered out at an area of undergrowth that was covered in bear scat! We even passed a bear scratching tree with a big clump of bear fur on the ground below it. We wondered if the trail was rerouted to avoid a bear den! In any case we turned around and took the right fork and got back on track.

The length of this loop is also a little longer than stated here. We started recording with the All Trails app as soon as we got out of the car, which was parked very close to the trail, and our round trip distance measured 8.2 miles. I think the 7.5 mile distance doesn't include the walk from the parking lot to the actual trail head.

Overall I did enjoy this hike. The canyon itself and the creek are really beautiful and I loved that there was only one other car in the parking lot when we arrived - something unheard of in most places in CO on a summer Saturday. But as I stated earlier, it was definitely more challenging that we expected and I don't know that I would do it again any time soon. Maybe in the autumn and would still bring a lot more water.

Awesome hike today. I am kind of a rookie in hiking 14er (my 4th). My friend and I started 7:00 and we had a parking spot in the parking area. Hiking through the tree line was fairly moderate. Took a 20 mins at tree line. From tree line to nearly 14000 ft is steep and gravelly. There are couple false summits, however the summit stretch is very easy and rewarding. We summited a little before 11:00am. Enjoyed our top view for 45min. Going down was not easy, but took us shy 2 hour to get back to the trailhead (back in the car a little before 2:00 pm). Total hike 6 hours.
My recommendation:
1. One step at time (from a rookie prospective) and avoid sitting down, but try to slow pace yourself.
2. I recommend ibuprofen before/during hike. I am NOT a doctor nor a nurse but it helps me with altitude sickness. Please consult your doctor.
3. Good hiking shoes will be beneficial going down. It can get windy, so a windbreaker jacket will be great to carry.

Rocked out this hike yesterday 8/11. Awesome hike! Highly recommend camping at trailhead the night before. Actual parking lot was already full by 10pm! If you dont camp you still will want to get there as early as possible, Getting stuck parking down the road will just add miles to your already tough hike! Took our jetta almost all the way to the trailhead but theres one large bump that our car could not clear so we stopped and camped there. only a couple hundred feet from the parking lot. Hit the trail at 445am done at 1215p with breaks and summit stops. I believe doing Democrat first is by far the way to go. Not only do I think going up bross in the dark would be terrible. Having to go up Democrat last would be a tough climb after bagging the other 3. Also another reason would be that by the time u would get to the democrat climb it will be packed. By 10am there looked like there was a line all the way up democrat. Going down bross was def tough and took a lot of concentration watching where you step and keeping balance. Poles for sure a must. Not sure what my fav was. Being almost to the top of democrat for sunrise was amazing, but being atop bross and being able to see all of what you just did was awesome too! Bross' summit is huge but lincoln and democrat's a lot smaller. Took our dog whose used to hiking and is a larger dog. She was very tired at the end and I got a little worried about her paws coming down bross as it is very lose rock but she made it down without any cuts and passed out the whole way home.
Overall amazing hike. Very fulfilling finishing all 4.

- Did these four yesterday. great hike with amazing views from each summit. There is a lot of small rocks and loose slag, especially on Bross and Democrat. Like other climbers i would highly recommend starting with Bross. It is a pretty good climb up and around to the summit but it's a good warm-up for the other three and the descent of Bross is much harder on the knees of you do it last. Mt. Democrat is probably the steepest climb but its worth it when you get to the top. Do yourself and your knees a favor and please invest in poles. You won't regret it, especially the descent of Democrat.

Great hike yesterday. 4AM start. Two goats at the top. No clouds or wind. I think they should resurrect that pile of rocks on the top to make it higher than Elbert again!

backpacking
7 days ago

My SO and I planned to do this loop over 2 nights but were cut short due to weather. We hiked up to venable lake, it was 6.5-7 miles. The aspen groves were beautiful and the view before making the final climb amazing. The lake area was open and rocky, but good for setting up a tent. Unfortunately we got all settled in and the predicted light rain turned into a pretty bad storm and we had to throw everything in our packs and make a run for the trailhead. I’ll definitely be back to finish the loop another time.

Maybe my new favorite 14er. Really gorgeous, especially for a 14er. Not as much traffic as a lot of popular peaks either. Highly recommend early start, if for no other reason so you can see the sun rise above the Mosquito Range to the East. Also recommend a camp at Elbert Creek Campground the night before. Top notch campsites and just around the corner. And folks, please: STOP starting 14er climbs too late in the morning. Lightning is a real threat with late starts so get on the trail early.

Nice work out with obviously great views from the top. Very popular trail, even on weekdays. Tons of great dispersed camping options on the way to the trailhead!

The 2K feet of gain was pretty gradual and easy on this hike. I agree that the better view is before you start descending to the lake than at the lake itself. Fun easy jaunt, took about 3 hours with a 15 min break at the lake!

Strenuous hike- especially for those who aren’t used to the altitude, but highly worth it. Amazing views as soon as you leave the tree line. beautiful wildlife and vegetation throughout entire hike. Get an early start and remember that it is just as much mental as it is physical!

I hiked this trail with two friends and our dogs a couple weeks ago. We camped in the surrounding area so we could start early and I'm glad we did. We took many breaks on the way up as the elevation gain and climb in general was pretty tough. This hike was by far the hardest I've ever done but so worth it. I highly recommend poles for the journey down.

We hiked this se trail on our descent after hiking up the steeper sw trail.
This trail was a dream.

Yesterday was a perfect day with no wind at summit. Started in dark at 5:30 and summited at 9:30. Almost entirely uphill and very steep at times. First false summit is hard, but after second you see the summit. Poles highly recommended, and road is quite rugged in spots.

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