Mount Democrat (14,148 ft)
14er Peak Rank #28/53
Mount Democrat – featured on Colorado 14ers Series Map 4 of 16 – is the lowest 14er (elevation-wise) of the Decalibron hiking loop of the Mosquito Range, but still middle of the pack in 14ers rankings state-wide. As with the other 14ers peaks in the Mosquito Range, these peaks are very accessible and very busy in the summer months.
Originally called Buckskin peak by settlers in the area, it was renamed Mount Democrat by a group of miners in the area whose sympathies were with the South during the Civil War. Mount Lincoln (a 14er named after Abraham Lincoln, a republican) sits nearby in defiance.
After many years of mining activity on this mountain and across the Mosquito Range, the area is pockmarked with old shafts, tunnels and other mining remnants that can prove dangerous if one goes off trail. Because of these dangers in the area, landowners (much of the land in this area is private property) closed access to the area in 2005. After some legislative action by the state and a lease agreement with the nearby town of Alma (whose liability is limited under the town’s governmental immunity), the Decalibron loop re-opened the following year. Please follow the established trails in this area for safety reasons as well as to avoid any further threat of closure.
To climb Mount Democrat, the Kite Lake trailhead (12,035′ elevation) once again is the best (official) option, as with Mount Cameron, and the route is almost the same. Climbing north from Kite Lake on the 1.3 mile Class 2 (more difficult hiking) trail to the saddle between Mount Cameron and Mount Democrat, turn left/west for 0.6 miles to the summit of Mount Democrat and enjoy the views. This is a brisk 2,110′ elevation gain over a total of 1.9 miles one-way to the summit. Continue from here to the rest of the peaks of the Decalibron if you’re feeling adventurous and have enough time!
As with all visits to the Colorado 14ers, even the relatively quick trail up to Mount Democrat: be prepared, know your limitations, watch the weather, drink plenty of water, and as always don’t forget your 14ers Maps. Mount Democrat is one of six fourteeners featured on Outdoor Trail Maps Colorado 14ers Series Map 4 of 16.
Directions to Trailhead:
To access the Kite Lake Trailhead (camping allowed), follow County Road 8 (Buckskin St) west from Alma, CO off CO Hwy 9 for 5.5 miles to the Kite Lake Trailhead at 12,035′ elevation. Low clearance vehicles can make it most of the way, but small water crossings may mean parking these vehicles lower on the road.