IntroductionThis short, sweet route provides a much less crowded alternative to the standard Decalibron Route for Mount Lincoln from Kite Lake. It also provides the best and shortest winter and spring options for Lincoln.
ApproachQuartzville Creek Trailhead: 11,390 feet
From the North:
From Hoosier Pass on CO 9, descend 3.7 miles to the bottom of the valley and turn west onto Park County 4.
From the South:
From the intersection of US 285 and CO 9 in Fairplay, continue 8.1 miles to the turn to the west on Park County 4.
Turn west onto Park County 4. Set your odometer. (Note: these directions have recently changed).
- Go west (left) at 1.8 mile (Beresford Crossing sign)
- Go south (left) at 1.9 mile - Right at 3.6 mile (Quartzville Road sign) - Stay Right on the Quartzville Road at 5.9 miles
- Turn left onto FS 437 at 6.5 miles (No FS sign)
- Follow FS 437 as far as you can go.
(thanks to Haliku for these updated directions)
FS 437 is a 4x4 road, and the only authorized parking is at a large parking area at the end of the road, approximately 1 mile from the turn. In winter, this road is never plowed, and it stays snowed in until May or June. There are no parking signs all along the main road and along the FS road. So, technically, parking is never allowed along the FS road, even when it is snowed in. However, parking is authorized at the end of an FS road as long as it is snowed in and no vehicle could conceivably drive further. Use your judgment here. Don't park on the main road.
Route DescriptionFollow FS 437 as it climbs into Cameron Basin. As you reach 13,000 feet, follow the road as it switches back hard and gains the East slopes of Mount Lincoln. After gaining the East slopes, follow the road past a bunch of mining ruins. Stay away from them.
Use a faint trail to gain the summit.
Round Trip Mileage: 6.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,000 feet
Essential GearJust standard hiking gear for summer. Snow season will require appropriate gear and clothing. An ice axe might be handy if you intend to climb the steeper slopes on snow.
Avalanche Conditions and InformationColorado Avalanche information Center's Website for current information on Mount Lincoln's region.
The most dangerous portion of this route is the steep slopes next to the cliffs on Mount Lincoln's East Shoulder. You can easily avoid the steeper portions by varying your route during winter and spring.
Red TapeACCESS ISSUES:
All routes on Mt Lincoln, Mt Bross, and Mt Democrat are on private property.
Access Update (From CFI): CFI Website
ACCESS UPDATE - Summer 2008
Currently, access to Mounts Lincoln, Democrat and Bross is still officially closed. These mountains have the potential for extreme danger unless climbers use approved trails. Due to extensive mining on the peaks of these Fourteeners, the ground is riddled with partially collapsing mining prospect holes, shafts, and tunnels (stopes) that run underground. Some of these hazards are located only inches from the surface and pose a danger to anyone crossing over them, particularly in loose or unstable surfaces. Due to liability concerns about potentially collapsing stopes, open mine shafts, and recurring vandalism to their property, landowners decided to close public access to Lincoln, Democrat, and Bross in the summer of 2005, thus sparking a number of efforts made to re-gain access.
Meeting the land owners’ requests for signage and a well-delineated route may allow the peaks to be opened in 2008. However, access to the actual summit of Mount Bross will remain closed for some unknown period of time, as that parcel is owned by multiple individuals and records are poor, making contacting the land owners extremely difficult due to the complexities of finding them.
Please continue reading this article to find out more about what still needs to happen in order to reopen access to these peaks.
Working Toward a Solution
House Bill 1049, signed into law in March 2006, extends liability protections of Colorado’s Recreational Use Statute to owners of private land where “attractive nuisances” such as abandoned mines exist. In August 2006, the neighboring town of Alma leased 3,900 acres of private land from the landowners to provide further protection under the town’s governmental immunity. These efforts help greatly, but on-the-ground work remains in order to re-open access by completing a single sustainable trail. Multiple side trails and shortcuts must be closed, and various signs must be installed to keep hikers on one established route. A single route is also necessary to address resource damage and help protect several populations of rare or endangered plants that can be trampled by off-trail hikers.
What Has CFI Done So Far?
Planning and design efforts on the Lincoln, Democrat, and Bross loop were initiated by the Forest Service and CFI after the 2005 closure and were completed in 2007. In 2007, CFI seasonal staff installed most of the required signs along the designated trail. The National Forest Foundation awarded CFI a “Friends of the Forest” grant to sponsor a volunteer project on September 8th. The 31 volunteers included groups from the Mosquito Range Heritage Initiative (MRHI)and MWH Engineering in addition to other CFI volunteers, and a substantial amount of valuable trail and restoration projects was completed. MRHI and MWH Engineering also worked with CFI’s Adopt-a-Peak program on these peaks during the summer and will continue their involvement in 2008.
CFI will partner with the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps to complete several weeks of work in the area in 2008.
How You Can Help
1.Volunteer in 2008! CFI is hosting a number of weekend volunteer projects at Mounts Lincoln, Democrat, and Bross. Opportunities that are open to the public include projects on July 24-25 and August 16th and 17th (visit www.14ers.org/volunteer to register). CFI is also collaborating with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado for a project on August 9-10 (visit www.voutdoors.org to register).
2.Respect private landowner rights. Landowners have the right to restrict public access when they see recurring problems with vandalism and trespassing. Stay on established trails, educate yourself about private property issues, stay away from old mine shafts, and do not remove or damage anything (mine buildings, signs, etc).
3.Donate to CFI. Your donations help CFI to fund trail crews, organize volunteer projects, and educate the public about Leave-No-Trace and alpine ecology – all core to our mission and greatly needed on the Lincoln, Democrat, and Bross effort.
4.Be patient. We’re working hard on these three peaks, but large-scale trail projects take time and funding to complete. In the meantime, respect the private landowners’ needs by enjoying the wide array of other accessible Fourteeners and high peaks in Colorado!
Please Respect the Closure
The many partners working on the trails are interested in making access to these Fourteeners available as soon as possible. The Forest Service, CFI, Colorado Mountain Club, Mosquito Range Heritage Initiative, and other interested groups have invested considerable time and energy on this process. While the access to several of these challenging peaks will soon be reestablished, the involved parties are reminding members of the public to obey all signs and stay on designated trails once hiking is allowed. These peaks are private property and it is the right of the property owners and the town of Alma to close down access if the spirit of the agreement, which is to view access as a privilege rather than a right, is violated. By staying on the trails and respecting the historic structures and private property, the public may be able to continue to enjoy the adventure and views of these mountains.
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