Mt Flora, Berthoud Pass Trailhead, Summit County - Eagle County - Clear Creek County, Colorado

Mt Flora - 6.45 miles

Berthoud Pass Trailhead

View of Ethel Lake from Mt Flora

View of Ethel Lake from Mt Flora

Round-Trip Length: 6.45 miles (add 1.8 miles roundtrip to Breckenridge Peak – 12,889’)
Start-End Elevation: 11,307’ – 13,132’ (13,132' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +1,825’ net elevation gain (+2,237’ total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: Yes
Related Trails:

Mt Flora - 6.45 Miles Round-Trip

Mt Flora (13,132’) is located 3.2 miles from Berthoud Pass along the Continental Divide Trail. It stands high over Ethel Lake and the Mad Creek drainage with exceptional views in all directions. 

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

Moderate grades make Mt Flora among the most accessible 13ers in the Winter Park area. The CDT continues on to a saddle below Breckenridge Peak (12,889’), an easy off trail scramble.

Visitors will enjoy miles of airy alpine travel and diverse tundra ecology on the hike to Mt Flora and Breckenridge Peak:

The trail begins on a service road that winds steeply over Berthoud Pass in a thinning forest. Look for signs of lynx, which have been documented in this area. At .85 miles (11,675’) the CDT splits left off the road and narrows on single track through treeline.

It moderates on a NE heading across broad, verdant slopes with well-developed grasses and forbs that attract elk, bighorn sheep and mountain goat. The trail rises steadily through 12,000’ (1.3 miles) to a saddle below Colorado Mines Peak (12,493’), and good views down the Blue Creek drainage (1.6 miles : 12,157’).

It levels across the saddle before climbing steeply up the far side (1.95 miles : 12,365’). Travel eases to a false summit (2.35 miles : 12,723’) and levels again for half a mile above the Mad Creek drainage.

Cushion and mat plants cover the area, primary tundra constituents that help build soil beds by trapping organic debris. Over time, grasses and forbs will take hold in deeper soils to form plots of tundra turf.  Also note the ubiquitous big root spring beauty plant, whose taproot can reach 6’ deep.

The trail pitches up at 2.85 miles (12,880’) on the final push to Mt Flora (3.22 miles : 13,132’). A tall cairn marks the summit, a large flat area with several rock wind shelters. Maneuver about to see Ethel Lake (north), which boasts a brilliant turquois hue.

The CDT continues down the east side of Mt Flora toward Breckenridge Peak. It’s initially faint but clarifies across the broad connecting saddle (3.9 miles : 12,748’). The CDT doesn’t scale Breckenridge Peak, but the summit is fairly obvious (it’s the highest point on your heading before tilting down hill).

Find a good line for the short climb to the top (4.1 miles : 12,889’). Breckenridge Peak adds approximately 1.8 miles and 550' total elevation gain to the roundtrip hike.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N39 47.897 W105 46.555 — 0.0 miles : Berthoud Pass Trailhead
  • N39 47.708 W105 46.404 — .5 miles : Steady climb on service road
  • N39 47.801 W105 46.321 — .85 miles : CDT splits left off service road and clears treeline
  • N39 47.910 W105 45.934 — 1.3 miles : Steady climb aross 12,000'
  • N39 47.850 W105 45.601 — 1.6 miles : Saddle below Colorado Mines Mountain
  • N39 47.946 W105 45.290 — 1.95 miles : Steep climb up far side of saddle
  • N39 48.097 W105 44.959 — 2.35 miles : Trail levels on false summit
  • N39 48.260 W105 44.536 — 2.85 miles : Begin final, steep push to Mt Flora
  • N39 48.302 W105 44.152 — 3.22 miles : Mt Flora (13,132')
  • N39 48.212 W105 43.960 — 3.55 miles : Trail clarifies below Mt Flora to saddle
  • N39 48.107 W105 43.686 — 3.85 miles : Saddle between Mt Flora and Breckenridge Peak
  • N39 48.061 W105 43.492 — 3.95 miles : Leave trail, aim for summit
  • N39 47.960 W105 43.471 — 4.1 miles : Breckenridge Peak (12,889')

Worth Noting

  • Most of this trail runs above treeline and is fully exposed. Carry versatile layers and sun protection. Be mindful of changing weather and aim for treeline before storms develop.
  • The CDT runs over 3100 miles from New Mexico to Canada. It passes through 5 states, 12 wilderness areas and 3 national parks. The Continental Divide separates drainages that flow into the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. About two thirds of Colorado’s water drains into the Atlantic.
  • Lynx are similar to but larger than bobcats. They have greyish fir and proportionately long legs and large feet. Lynx paws are twice the size of a bobcat’s, an adaptation to their snowier habitats. Lynx hunt ptarmigan and snowshoe hare in these mountains.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • Backcountry camping is permitted in the Arapaho National Forest and James Peak Wilderness Area. No permit is necessary.

  • There are no designated backcountry campsites in this travel zone. Dispersed camping only. Use established sites whenever possible to minimize impact.

  • Camp at least 100' from all lakes, streams and trails.

  • Campfires are permitted in the Arapaho National Forest, with potential seasonal restrictions. Campfires are not permitted in the James Peak Wilderness.

  • Group size is limited to 12 individuals or people and stock combined.

Directions to Trailhead

The Berthoud Pass Trailhead is located 15.4 miles north of I-70 on Highway 40. The trailhead is located on the east side of the road. There are restrooms and a warming area at the trailhead.

Contact Information

Clear Creek Ranger District
101 Chicago Creek Road
P.O. Box 3307
Idaho Springs, CO 80452
303.567.3000

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.



Comments

"Nice hike to experience altitude. Vie from the top is excellent. Definitely moderate, but strenuous if you are not used to the altitude. Gorgeous day so trail was crowded. Lots of dogs off leash so the animals were no where to be seen. Marmots and pikas could be heard but were a long way off."
Robert  -  Golden, CO  -  Date Posted: July 23, 2016
"Hiked alone on Sunday afternoon (29 June). There are snow patches still on the road to Colorado Mines peak (the first mile or so of the trail), but none block the road. Once you leave the road to follow the main trail to Mt. Flora, there is only one snow patch about 50 feet wide left. It's a couple feet deep, wet, slippery and easy to posthole, but it should be gone soon. The tundra wildflowers are all blooming -- probably about 10 different types of lowers, including blue forget-me-nots and the 'large' yellow old-man-of-the-mountain sunflowers. Many others I don't know the name of. For the flowers and the green fields, this was a perfect time to hike. Sunday afternoon was a perfect sunny day -- clouds but no thunderstorms to be seen anywhere. After ascending from the saddle at the base of Colorado Mines Mountain, the wind picked up a lot. About half way up to Mt. Flora from there, the wind was unrelenting and I had to put away the walking poles -- the wind was blowing them off the trail as I tried to plant them. I was glad I brought my jacket and gloves. Beautiful views of all the peaks at the top, especially if you descend a couple hundred feet beyond the cairn that marks the high point. Plus it's somewhat sheltered there. Ethel lake is partially thawed now -- and is still gorgeous. Met a thru-hiker near the top (Trail Name: Viking) and we chatted for a bit at the summit before he went on to descend the valley for the night, and I went back to the parking lot."
Mike  -  Colorado  -  Date Posted: June 30, 2014
"Hiked the trail to Mt. Flora yesterday (6/13/14). The three of us greatly enjoyed it, even with the remaining snow on the trail. The first portion of the trip, on the road up to Colorado Mines Peak, was completely covered in snow, but very packed and secure. After venturing off the road to maintain the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), we encountered a number of snowfields covering the trail itself (they are almost completely avoidable, but only by veering off trail into the tundra). Even in the early morning, we experienced significant postholing - not exactly fun expending that much energy at the beginning of a hike. After reaching the saddle below the Mines, gorgeous views of the Blue Creek drainage and both sides of the Continental Divide presented themselves. We spent a respectable time reveling in the moment and chatting with the marmots before setting our eyes onward to a 100% snow-free path. Up a bit on the trail was the "false summit." Upon reaching it, we immediately saw that out true destination, Mt. Flora, was in fact a little ways away - depressing and highly motivating at the same time. The views were spectacular up here, and only continued to improve as we ascended, but it was definitely a steady climb from here. After reaching 13000 ft, we expended a portion of our limited oxygen to congratulate each other, and prepared for the final push/semi-scramble to the summit. In order to get the best views, we moved to the east side of the rocky top and were rewarded with incredible sights of nearby peaks (beckoning, or perhaps taunting, us), the CDT snaking towards Breckenridge Peak, and a frozen Ethel Lake down below. Even in its frigid state, the turqoise glow of the water radiated up. We then, of course, pulled out a phone to video chat and share the views with family back home (given the 4G service at the summit). After a few obligatory snapshots and summit snacks, we begrudgingly turned back. The descent was uneventful."
Tim  -  Colorado  -  Date Posted: June 14, 2014

 

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