Decalibron Loop – Trek four 14ers in one day
Do you want to trek some 14ers in Colorado and climb four of them in one day? Then the DeCaLiBron loop hike is for you. This loop trek will take you to the peaks of Mt Democrat, Mt Cameron, Mt Lincoln, and Mt Bross.
The abundance of peaks allows you to enjoy a wide range of distinctive views of the surrounding area and mountains. It is a terrific journey to participate in and one you will never forget.
This guide will walk you through every detail of the DeCaLiBron loop hike. Read on to discover more about traveling to the trailhead, drawing the trail on a map, and going through the hiking specifics.
What is the DeCaLiBron Loop
While hiking the DeCaLiBron loop, you will reach the peaks of Mt Democrat (14,148 feet), Mt Cameron (14,238 feet), Mt Lincoln (14,286 feet) and Mt Bross (14,172).
If you take the first two letters of each mountain, you’ll see why the loop is called the DeCaLiBron.
*There are two important things to note regarding Mt Cameron and Mt Bross*
Mt Cameron: To be regarded as a legitimate 14er, a peak must be at least 300 feet above the saddle connecting to the nearest 14er summit. Mt Cameron is not considered a legitimate 14er because it is less than 300 feet higher than Mt Lincoln.
Mt Bross: The DeCaLiBron summits are actually on private property. While the summits for Democrats, Cameron, and Lincoln are available to the public, Bross is not. The property owners do not allow visitors to the peak, as indicated by numerous signs along the trail. Some people obviously disregard this, but those are the rules. There is, however, a shortcut trail that runs just beneath the genuine summit.
DeCaLiBron Loop Map & Elevation Gain Profile
The hiking route and elevation gain profile for the loop hike are shown here. Because the loop includes four mountain summits, there will be some ups and downs along the way. This will undoubtedly be a different hike than the typical 14er.
Hiking the DeCaLiBron Loop. Clockwise or Counter Clockwise?
One of the most common questions about this loop trail is whether to do it clockwise or counterclockwise. The majority of the responses we received during our study put us in the direction of completing it clockwise, which is what we ended up doing. So we started with Democrat and ended with Bross. This was primarily owing to the ascent being easier clockwise.
Even though we did it in the clockwise direction, we will admit that we might have preferred to do it the other way around. The views are mainly to blame for this. Simply put, we had the impression that the views would have been better overall if we had traveled counterclockwise.
Although you could always turn around and take in the scenery occasionally, it is nice to have views right in front of you.
In short, I would advise going clockwise for an easier ascent and going counterclockwise for better views.
It’s a rocky road, but most 2WD vehicles can make it, so start your journey along the DeCaLiBron Loop at the Kite Lake trailhead. The Democrat-Cameron saddle is to the north, along the lake. To reach the saddle, you must ascend a series of moraines and pass a number of former mining facilities along the way. Because of their danger, it’s best to view these ruins from the trail.
The DeCaLiBron Loop can be started by parking at the Kite Lake Trailhead and moving north along the lake’s edge. Despite what you can see right now, the lake’s name derives from its shape, which is similar to a kite. You will take a sharp left before entering a more challenging section of switchbacks after a short amount of hiking and after passing through some old mining remnants. Your target is the saddle between Mounts Democrat and Cameron, which are on either side of you. Just before you get to the saddle, pass by a little prospector’s hole.
You’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the basin beyond once you reach the saddle. If you need to, pause to catch your breath before turning left to climb Democrat’s north slope. Here, the trail is difficult, winding through rocks and boulders as it ascends the mountain. Observe your steps and take your time. After what appears to be the summit, there may be a false summit nearby, and you still have a short distance to go.
Reach your first 14er summit of the day by getting past this false summit, passing another abandoned mining structure, and climbing the final 150 to 200 feet. If you climb Mount Democrat as a single peak, you can return to the trailhead using the same route. Continue reading if you want to keep climbing!
Once Mount Democrat has been tagged, you can focus on Mount Cameron and Mount Lincoln. Take the same route you used to ascend down to the saddle, then turn up the ridge to Mt. Cameron. If you go hiking early in the year, there might be snow and a cornice. The summit of Cameron is very flat and broad, and it can be very windy there. Great views can be enjoyed and getting to Mount Lincoln is not too difficult.
The quick connecting traverse hike from Mount Cameron to Lincoln only takes a few minutes—at most, it will take you ten to fifteen. Despite the fact that it never rises above a class 1 difficulty level, this is my favorite part of the hike because there are more mining ruins to explore as well as some steep drop-offs and rocky areas.
The summit of Mount Lincoln, a more difficult peak, requires some scrambling. Look north from the summit for a stunning view of Quandary Peak. Turn left to avoid Mount Cameron’s summit and then head back in its direction. Turn left and head for the Cameron-Bross Saddle.
Your final peak is Mount Bross, but it is located on private land. The landowners are currently holding off on granting access due to worries about liability. Access to Kite Lake and the entire DeCaLiBron Loop are in danger due to persistent trespassing. Before access is granted, stay on the bypass trail that runs beneath Mount Bross’ summit and come back. (A coalition of concerned groups, including the Colorado Mountain Club and Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, are working on it.)
The descent of Mount Bross is notorious for its steep profile and slick, loose scree (pebbles and small rocks). They behave like marbles and repeatedly come loose as you hike down. To lessen the problem, some people suggest ascending this section first and then descending from Democrat.
You will eventually turn sharply to the left to cross a gully on the way down before continuing straight down the side of it. Be careful not to cross too soon and enter more challenging terrain. After leaving the scree, take a final stroll through a meadow and over a stream to return to the Kite Lake trailhead. I hope your DeCaLiBron Loop hike was enjoyable.
Check out more information on 14ers.com and summitpost.com if you need more details.
Camping Near the DeCaLiBron Loop
You can camp at the Kite Lake trailhead, which is probably your best option when beginning the hike. It’s also convenient to have access to restrooms and some tables for eating and other purposes.
However, keep in mind that you must put the $15 overnight camping fee in the provided envelopes at this trailhead.
The most crucial factor to take into account when traveling the DeCaLiBron Loop is probably the weather. When the weather turns bad, hiking in Colorado (especially at this elevation) can become quite dangerous.
Check the mountain forecast for the day before setting out on the hike. It is crucial to check the weather in the mountains rather than the nearest town. The weather in the mountains can differ significantly from the weather below.
Be on the lookout for afternoon thunderstorms if you go hiking in the summer. Despite a nice, clear start to the day, the weather can quickly change. The last thing you want is to be caught above the tree line during a thunderstorm. Always be sure to understand the forecasts and get an earlier start to the day just in case.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the DeCaLiBron loop hike’s most frequently asked questions to wrap up this guide.
Is the DeCaLiBron Open?
When considering taking this loop trail, this is the main question everyone has. The main justification for the question is that there have been instances when all of the summits have been inaccessible to hikers. The whole loop was essentially closed off by some sort of disagreement or worry regarding insurance liabilities on the private property.
The DeCaLiBron is open, according to the most recent information, but Mount Bross’ summit remains closed. Therefore, you can still complete a portion of the loop and climb three of the four 14ers. Just continue on the bypass trail below the Bross summit.
What Class is the DeCaLiBron?
This hike is rated as class 2. Although the trail is generally well marked, there are undoubtedly some sections that are on the rockier and trickier ground. The second part of the climb up Mount Democrat is particularly noteworthy because you must negotiate both upward and downward slopes. Additionally, Mt. Bross’s decline (or incline) can also become quite technical and steep.
How Long Does it Take to Hike the DeCaLiBron?
Depending on skill, the entire DeCaLiBron loop should take 4–7 hours. The length of time you intend to spend on each summit will also have an impact on this. On the other hand, taking everything into account, this is a full-day hike, so be ready for lots of inclines and declines along the way.