Hiking Mount Flora | Free 13er Route Guide
Mount Flora is a great thirteener near Denver for beginners. This relatively easy climb begins at Berthoud Pass, following several switchbacks to get above tree line. From there, it’s an easy ridge walk over and up to the summit itself. You will be treated to amazing views of the Denver area to the east and the rocky mountains to the north, west, and south. Make it to the top safely with my free guide to hiking Mount Flora below. Safe travels on the trail!
NEW TO 13ERS? CHECK OUT MY BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR A SAFE FIRST SUMMIT!
Hiking Mount Flora: Fast Facts
Hiking Mount Flora - Southwest Slopes Route
The route up Mount Flora is very easy to follow, as there is a road or trail the entire way from the trailhead to the summit. Park at the Berthoud Pass parking area and start up a service road that leads south away from the trailhead. Follow the road as it switchbacks three times up the slopes of Colorado Mines Peak. The large equipment you see on the summit is a weather research station owned by the School of Mines.
On the fourth turn look for a trail that leaves the road and continues northeast up the slope away from Colorado Mines Peak. The trail will curve gently to the right as it ascends, meeting the saddle between Colorado Mines Peak to the right and and a false summit blow Mount Flora to the left.
Take a left at the saddle to begin hiking along the Continental Divide north towards the false summit. The trail turns sharply left a bit below it to skirt around this point before re-gaining the ridge around 12,750 feet. The final remaining ridge-walk is the crux of the route – though even here, hiking Mount Flora is relatively easy.
Follow the ridge north up to the summit, following several small switchbacks to ascend the last 100 feet as the terrain steepens slightly. From the summit enjoy the views of the Front Range to the north and south, the Great Plains to the east, and the mountains of the west. From here you can easily descend back the way you came, or continue along the ridge to climb additional peaks like Mount Eva or James Peak.
Make sure you leave the summit with enough time to get back to the tree line by 1 pm, as afternoon thunderstorms are typical in the mountains during the summer. I hope you found my route guide helpful. Safe travels on the trail and good luck hiking Mount Flora!
This route map is a helpful navigation tool for hiking Mount Flora. I recommend reviewing it closely, saving a copy on your phone, and printing out a backup paper copy in case anything happens to your technology. Remember, batteries die more quickly in the wind and cold common on 13ers.
It is always a good idea to check the weather forecast repeatedly in the days leading up to your hike. This ensures you pick a day with appropriate conditions for hiking Mount Flora. Here are two dependable sources to use for your weather forecasts.
The right gear makes hiking Mount Flora much easier, and will also help you stay safe. Here’s a rundown on what you should bring with you for this route.
Start with a good pair of hiking boots (I recommend them over shoes due to their ankle support). Here are six of my favorite hiking boots for 14ers.
You should also have the ten essentials with you during your hike. These are the key pieces of gear needed to stay safe and respond to emergencies in the mountains. Here is a refresher on the topic.
A backpack will help you store your ten essentials as you go on your hike. For day trips, aim for a bag between 15 and 30 liters in capacity. If you’re hiking Mount Flora over several days, you will want a bag with 45-65 liters. Here are some of my favorite options.
Learn more about packing for a 13er here.
Camping near Mount Flora:
There are also many dispersed camping opportunities along forest roads past the trailhead ideal for those hiking Mount Flora. Learn more about dispersed camping near 14ers here.
Lodging near Mount Flora:
There are many cabins available via Airbnb and other services in Winter Park and Fraser, perfect for those hiking Mount Flora.
The area around Mount Flora is still largely pristine, but more and more people are visiting it every year. Help us preserve this spectacular ecosystem by following these important Leave No Trace practices while hiking Mount Flora.
- Plan ahead, review the route and pick a weekday or day in September to hike.
- Stay on the trail, and keep dogs leashed on and off-trail to reduce trampling of alpine grass.
- Leave your Bluetooth speaker at home and let nature’s sound reign.
- Urinate off trail, and pack out your waste – a cathole won’t work at high altitude.
- Give wildlife a wide berth – 100 meters if possible. If they approach, back up to keep space.
- Take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but footprints.
Safe travels, and good luck hiking Mount Flora!
Mount Flora is located on the continental divide, which means that snow and rain on its west slope flows to the Pacific Ocean, while precipitation on the east flows to the Atlantic Ocean. The route up to the summit follows the Continental Divide trail for most of its length. As a relatively short 13er Mount Flora is not a Centennial Peak, however its close proximity to Denver and Berthoud Pass means it still gets a good amount of traffic. In winter it is a popular backcountry skiing area.
Hiking Mount Flora is an inherently high-risk activity – do so at your own risk, and use the following best practices to help keep yourself safe.
- Research your route and bring a compass & topographic map.
- Check the weather forecast and stay home during inclement weather.
- Bring the Ten Essentials and the knowledge/skill to use them.
- Leave your plans with someone back home along with a detailed itinerary.
- Start early, and end early: Be back at tree line by noon to avoid lightning.
- Bring a buddy on your first ascent, preferably someone experienced.
NEW TO 14ERS? CHECK OUT MY BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR A SAFE FIRST SUMMIT!
Hiking Mount Flora is an inherently high-risk, dangerous activity. There is a significant risk of injury or death, even with proper planning and experience. Those using my guide accept all risks associated with climbing 13ers and do not hold this website or any information they obtain from it liable for any accidents or injuries that occur while engaging in these activities on Colorado’s high peaks.
It is each hiker or climber’s responsibility to research their route carefully, bring the ten essentials, and practice other safe practices, though even these precautions do not eliminate risk and danger. Visit these summits at your own risk.
Alex is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.