The Decalibron: Mounts Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, and Bross Trail

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Pike National Forest

The Decalibron: Mounts Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, and Bross Trail is a 7.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Alma, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length7.9 miElevation gain3,444 ftRoute typeLoop
HikingDog friendlyLakeViewsWildlifeRockyScrambleNo shadeFee
Description
Waypoints (6)
Facilities
Contact
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Getting There

There is a $5 fee to park at the trailhead. The DeCaLiBron (Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, and Bross) Loop is a rite of passage for all Colorado hikers. Situated just a two hour drive from downtown Denver, this route is challenging during summer and fall. In winter, this route should only be attempted by very experienced mountaineers. The road leading to the trailhead is fine until the end, where it gets steep and rocky. There is a ditch roughly a half mile short of the trailhead, where you can park if your car cannot continue. Upon arriving to the Kite Lake Trailhead, you'll find a gravel lot. Due to the altitude here, there is no tree cover. The hike is exposed the whole time, so be prepared. The trail can get very windy, and the sun beats down in the summer. This route can be done in either direction, although a slight majority of people choose to go clockwise.

There is a vault toilet at the trailhead.

San Isabel National Forest 719-553-1400 (main office)

This route can be done in either direction, but a slight majority of people prefer clockwise.

From Fairplay head north on Colorado 9. In the center of the town of Alma there is a left turn across from a general store with a small sign directing you to Kite Lake. Turn onto this road and follow it approximately 6 miles to its end at Kite Lake. There is a small parking fee charged to park here, and an additional camping fee if you intend to camp as well. This is the trailhead.

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Reviews (1,764)
Photos (2,646)
Recordings (1,309)
Completed (4,349)
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Andrew F
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 24, 2021
HikingSnow

So you will 100% be walking the road to this hike which will at at least 1.3 miles each way to your trek. The gate to the trail is actually closed so even if you had a snowmobile or snow cat, you’re not getting through the gate. Snow shoes wasn’t a must, but traction and axe IMO are!

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Emiline Henderson
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Beautiful summer trail! Make sure to get there early— parking is limited and you will most likely have to hike to the trailhead. The ascent is difficult, gets gradually steeper with lots of scree and false summits. Democrat and Lincoln summits have good views but the best view is from Mt. Cameron. After the Cameron summit it is mostly flat across the saddle to Bross. The descent from Bross can be very difficult, the trail has fallen off in some places and the rocks are very loose and very steep. Make sure to take lots of breaks, it’s a long day but a great one!

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Jack Link
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 1, 2021
HikingFeeGreat!IcyOff trailSnow

Just a Little Preface:I have recently moved to CO, I have successfully summited 12 14ers last year these four adding to that. This was also my first solo winter completion. This review is completely opinion based and someone on the mountain the same day could have a completely different opinion! Approach: I started the hike around 7am at the winter closure point (add about 1.1 mi both ways to hike), The road up which is about 4 miles was pretty good, I have a high clearance 4WD car so I had no problems but recent snow was only in a few spots with a couple of drifts about a foot high. But thank goodness someone decided to snow shoe up today as there was little to no post holing I had to do. I put spikes on and got my poles out at the lake and the hike up to the Democrat Ridge was pretty simple I got off trail about a mile from the lake and got into some pretty steep and nice climbing maybe a low 3 high 2 depended which way you went. Democrat: It was pretty cool and personally a fairly nice hike not windy at all so that was a bonus and climbed and down climbed in a little under an hour. On the way down I experienced something i’ve never really seen before in someone decided to slide down on their ass in one of the most difficult parts of the down climb, and that’s all cool on an easier spot but I ended up falling down at multiple spots because the trail was covered with this guys trail which sort of upset me. Cameron: Cameron was interesting for me, Very deceiving and I don’t think I touched the standard route, I climbed mostly on ridge proper or just right or south of the ridge, It was not very steep it was just a lot of looser rock and snow covered boulders and it generally went by quickly. After the “false summit” the trail is very well defined and looks pretty steep but it went by in about 5 minutes, The summit was alright, It is basically a gravel field with a cairn on it but the views were pretty sweet. Lincoln: Lincoln was by far my favorite looks and technicality wise there were a few spots that you could be semi exposed near the south point of the mountain, from far away this mountain to me looked impossible for a winter climb but it was pretty straight forward. The summit was awesome especially in the winter so awesome to see what might have been brech ski runs as well as Quandary and a few other noticeable peaks. Bross: This is really what killed me the climb to the top was very straightforward and it was a cool summit similar to Cameron but it was pretty cool. The dow climb was absolutely atrocious, the rocks were all about the size of a popcorn kernel or they were boulders as big as my leg and Nearly everything was loose, And of course its not a kept up trail so I guess that’s the risk you take to summit but It took me almost 2 hours to down climb to the lake as the snow was completely variable, Absolute powder and then a step later the hardest snow pack you have ever seen. Finally just the sheer amounts of rocks I was sending was nerve racking to me and I wasn’t below me lol I felt pretty uncomfortable with it though there were a few times where there were boulders probably about 3-4 long that were loose and so loose that when I tested the hold it would just bail on me which was pretty scary but there were certainly good hold just had to find them in some spots. This was an absolutely amazing hike personally don’t think it could have been better other than the nasty downclimb but definitely worth the time to go try and you can knock out 4 in a day which is sweet!

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Venkata Shashidhar
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HikingGreat!Icy

For most part, the trail is well maintained. If you are taking the Democrat route first, trail is neatly visible. However, it was quite a struggle to get down via Bross. - Add in an extra mile each way as Kite Lake TH parking is closed. (Depends on season) - Check the weather. Wind speed, temp, snow etc. - Carry ample water and food - Layer up if you feel cold - Spikes definitely needed. Will recommend snow shoes. If you’re wearing hiking shoes then use gators. - Start at sunrise. Views are stunning. Beautiful trail. It took me ~5hrs to finish the loop.

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Wolfgang Stiller
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HikingIcySnow

A quick update on the road and the peaks. We needed micro spikes above 13,700 ft on Mt. Democrat and on the last section up Lincoln. Micro spikes were really nice to have on the entire decent. The gate was closed so it's an extra one mile hike to Kite Lake TH.

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Kevin Ferrett
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Hiking
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Jeff Wolff
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HikingSnow

Hiked on 11/29. I skipped Democrat because we climbed that this summer with our dogs and kids. I was alone this time, and I only encountered two other people on the entire hike. I've only climbed a few 14ers--and only one during winter--so this is an amateur's review. Trail is difficult to find in places because snow blows over it and forms drifts that cause you to posthole quite a bit on the climb up to the ridge. Cairns are well placed to help you find the trail if you get off. Microspikes are a must IMO, although I took mine off for the ascent up the ridge to Cameron so I could scramble on the boulders instead of trudging through snow. Hike from Cameron to Lincoln was clear, and views from Lincoln were amazing! Hike to Bross was also easy; my GPS took me on a route to the summit, which I know you're not supposed to do but I felt it was safer to follow the route than to make up my own. Descent from Bross was steep and covered with scree and snow. Again, microspikes and poles were a must. Lost the trail a few times due to the snow, but basic route-finding skills are all you need to catch it up again. Great hike; it took me 5 hours to go up and down and I registered 9 miles on my tracker. I had to park a mile from the trailhead; the gate was closed and no fee was necessary.

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Hunter Price
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Hiking

The views were insane. So was the wind on the last half. Would recommend micro spikes at the least. I completed without and wish I had brought them. The trail was not great on Bross. Getting up or down from Democrat sucks without spikes of some kind. This hike is tough!

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Lower Kaymoor
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Hiking

Micro spikes are a must. Deep drifts in places but manageable. 6.5 hours for a full circuit today.

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Jigeesha Upadhyaya
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Hiking
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Regina Stump
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Hiking

BEAUTIFUL before the road gets shut for winter!

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Don Dodge
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HikingGreat!RockySnow

11/7/2020 Great hike - LOTS of vehicles given late season conditions, however no complaints. Gate is closed so expect the extra 3/4-1 mile. Snow at elevations above 13kish, but primarily melted. Trail well marked and maintained, views are AMAZING! DM for more specifics - enjoy this hike. Expect lots of wind up high

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Simon Pham
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Hiking

11/6/2020 started around 5:30am, drank a few beers at the peaks, finished around 1pm. went clockwise and most of the snow was on the climb of democrat, but it didn't present much of a hinderance. got a bit windy at the peaks but the most difficult part was finishing down bross since the rock coming down the steep path is very loose. cameron was underwhelming, but lincoln has a cool summit. my dog loved the small snow fields. might have been the last day to do the route without major snow obstacles.

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Campbell Horning
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HikingFeeGreat!IcyNo shadePrivate propertyRockyScrambleSnow

Ok This was terribley windy. These were my first 14ers. We got up at 4:20 and we’re hiking at 5:30. Democrat was a little challenging but after camron it was meantaly challenging. We passed a lot of people that were not prepared (we could have been more prepared ourself) make sure to prepared for wind cold snow skree rocks and a hard hike

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