Mount Democrat

 East Slope
Difficulty Class 2 
Ski/Board: Intermediate, D4 / R2 / I  
Risk FactorsExposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Low  
Commitment: Low  
TrailheadKite Lake
Start12,000 feet
Summit14,154 feet
Total Gain2,150 feet
RT Length4.00 miles
Last UpdatedOct 2022
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The standard route on Democrat was closed the last two months due to a landowner issue but it will re-open Friday, July 28th. Anyone hiking to the summits will now need to electronically sign a liability waiver which can be accessed via the web or a QR code posted on signs near the Kite Lake trailhead. We'd suggest not waiting until you reach the trailhead in case you can't get a signal on your smartphone. This is a temporary fix and only relates to these peaks so we strongly encourage you to sign the petition at to help get the Colorado Recreational Use Statute changed and establish permanent, public access. Please read more here...


Take Colorado 9 to Alma. In the middle of town and on the west side of the road, look for a small sign for the road to Kite Lake. It's across the road from the "Caniglia Real Estate" building. Turn here and drive a bit through a residential area. Continue 6 miles to Kite Lake. The last mile of this road can be a bit more rough, but a good-clearance 2WD should still be able to make it to within a couple hundred yards of the TH lot, when the road is dry. There are restrooms and some camping spots at the trailhead. You must pay a $5 fee to park/camp at Kite Lake. If you park below, walk up the road to Kite Lake.


1 is a view of Mt. Democrat during the drive up the Kite Lake road. From the parking area, follow the blocked road north near the lake and past a few camping spots - 2 and 3. Continue north and ascend to the Kentucky Belle Mine at 12,400' - 4, 5 and 6. Follow the trail onto Democrat's east slopes ( 7) and ascend a rugged slope, near 12,600' - 8. Near 12,800' ( 9), ascend a few switchbacks to reach 13,000' where the trail turns right and heads north across the east slope - 10. Continue north to reach the Democrat-Cameron saddle at 13,400' - 11.

From the saddle, turn left and follow the trail west up the ridge - 12. After approximately 200 feet, the trail turns left and traverses southwest across the slope - 13 and 14. After a long stretch of trail that spans much of the slope, the terrain becomes steeper and there are few small switchbacks that lead to the top of the slope. Continue to reach the summit ridge near 13,900' - 15.

Walk over to the final pitch ( 16) and follow the trail up to the summit - 17.


A spring ski of the east slopes is possible in most years but it's often patchy. It's the easiest ski descent on Democrat and one of the easiest on a CO 14er. Taken from Mt. Bross, 18 is a view of the route with snow coverage.


#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18

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Caution: The information contained in this route description may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this route description provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the route description author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

Please respect private property: supports the rights of private landowners to determine how and by whom their land will be used. In Colorado, it is your responsibility to determine if land is private and to obtain the appropriate permission before entering the property.
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