ApproachThe trailhead is at Berthoud Pass which is on mile marker 243 on Highway 40. Berthoud Pass can be reached from the north and Fraser and Winter Park or from the south and Empire. The Empire exit off I-70 is exit 233 for those driving from the south. Park at the now closed Berthoud Pass Ski Resort parking lot. The trailhead is across the highway. Highway 40 is open and plowed year round allowing easy year-round access to the trailhead.
Route DescriptionThe entire route is above timberline, so beware of thunderstorms and retreat off the ridge if thunder clouds are gathering! From the summit of Colorado Mines Peak, backtrack a short distance to the trail to the north that splits off the service road. This is the trail to Mount Flora. The trail drops about 350 feet to a saddle. The trail continues along the ridge passing intermittedly through tundra and rocks. A few small interesting tarns (glacial ponds) are passed before reaching a false summit at 12,800 feet. There are a few pinnacles along the ridge as well, but the hiking is fairly easy. The summit of Mount Flora is 0.5 mile beyond the false summit. Enjoy the spectacular views in all directions!
The total distance from Colorado Mines Peak to Mount Flora is 1.9 miles with 350 feet of elevation loss and about 1000 feet of elevation gain. The total distance from Berthoud Pass to Mount Flora is 3.6 miles one way with about 2200 feet total elevation gain and 350 feet elevation loss. The summit of Mount Flora is 13,146 feet.
It is also to possible to continue over the ridge north from the summit passing over Mount Eva, Perry Peak, and James Peak. This is a long all day hike for an experienced hiker. Don't attempt it in bad weather.
Essential GearIn summer only a good pair of boots are needed. Snow-banks are usually present in to the month of August.
In winter, snowshoes and ski poles are a definate help below the timberline, but once you reach timberline, most of the snow is blown and compacted by the wind. An ice axe is also recomended. Crampons are not required, but can be helpful if parts of the route is iced up. As long as you stay right on the ridge top, avalanche danger is usually very low throughout the winter. The slopes on the side of either side of the ridge are very avalanche prone, so stay on the ridgetop in the winter!