Total Distance: 7.96 Miles
Partners: Darryl "DoubelDD" and Bob
I drove up to Kite Lake on Thursday afternoon. All the campsites at Kite Lake were taken, so I parked below the mandatory pay sign and set up camp there. If you do camp at Kite Lake it is $10 for a spot and $3 for each vehicle.
Kite Lake from the parking lot It was a beautiful afternoon, at Kite Lake. Still a little snow in places, and the lake has overflowed covering some of the beginning part of the trail. If you go to the right the stream is small enough to jump over or there are some rocks you can cross on. I hiked up to see where the trail went so I could start early in the morning. It is a very distinct trail. The snow melt has a water fall coming off the mountain to the left, and was a nice photo opportunity.
I went back down to my truck and set up camp. Around 8 pm some dark clouds started rolling in, and some thunder could be heard in the distance. Later on the whole valley was engulfed in clouds. Really cool sight when the sun was going down. It was a bright night with the full moon and could have been done as a night hike. It did get fairly cold at night since it was at 12,000 ft. My Red Heeler Ranger had to come join me in my sleeping bag halfway though the night.
In the morning Darryl who I met on this website, drove up from Colorado Springs. He arrived around 5 am, and so did our other hiking partner Bob who is from Telluride. We set off down the trail around 5:30 am, to first climb Mount Democrat. The trail is in very good shape and it easy to follow until the rock fields on your way to the summit of Democrat. The rock fields have plenty of Cairns along the way to guild you up the mountain. After 2 miles of hiking from Kite Lake you will arrive at 14,066 ft and that is the top of Mount Democrat.
After enjoying the sights from the top, follow the trail back down the mountain to the Democrat /Cameron saddle. Keep on going up the saddle for about another two miles and you will reach the summit of Mount Cameron, around 14,245 Ft.
From Mount Cameron continue the same way, down a smaller saddle and then begin another climb to Mount Lincoln which is about another half mile.
After summiting Lincoln, you follow the path back down the Mountain from where you just came from and then follow the path to the left towards Mount Bross. There is a small snow field that you must pass at this part in the trip but it easily done with just regular boots. We noticed at this point that my dogs paws had been scrapped up pretty good. We improvised with some extra socks and tape which gave his feet better protection on the rocks and scree. If you decide to take a dog up here I recommend you bring booties for them.
Ranger and his socks
The hike up to Bross is easy with a small saddle then climb to the top, the hike down is very unstable with the scree fields and bigger loose rock. Here are some pictures of all the peaks from the hike down from Bross.
Mount Cameron and Mount Lincoln
Once you get closer to Kite Lake the trail becomes 100% better. You can see the Lake almost the entire hike, and you can tell why they named it Kite Lake. It is a great day hike, and is really nice to get Four 14ers out of the way in one shot. Thanks to my hiking partners for a good trip and hope to do it again soon!
Here is one last photo of a waterfall on the way back to Kite Lake.