The Mount Belford - Elkhead Pass via Missouri Gulch Trail is a challenging hike that takes hikers to the summit of Mount Belford and over Elkhead Pass. This hike is a 9.6 miles round-trip hike with an elevation gain of 5,450 feet (1,676 m) and is typically done as a backpacking trip.
The trail starts at the Missouri Gulch Trailhead and immediately begins to gain elevation as it winds through a dense forest of aspen and pine trees. The trail follows Missouri Gulch, which is a small stream, and hikers will cross the stream several times as they make their way up the trail. As the trail continues to gain elevation, it becomes more rocky and steep, with some scrambling required near the top. The trail offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, including the Sawatch Range.
After reaching the summit of Mount Belford, hikers will continue on to Elkhead Pass, which is located at an elevation of 13,800 feet (4,206 m). The trail becomes more rocky and strenuous, and hikers should be prepared for steep inclines and rocky terrain. The hike over Elkhead Pass offers spectacular views of the surrounding peaks, including Mount Oxford and Mount Harvard.
The hike is recommended for experienced hikers with proper equipment and preparation. It's important to start early in the morning and to bring plenty of water, snacks, and warm clothing, as the weather can change quickly at high altitude. Be aware of the potential for thunderstorms and lightning, as well as the risk of exposure. It's also important to be aware that Elkhead pass is above treeline and can be exposed to the elements.
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This trail can be completed in approx 2 days. Caution is advised on trail times as this depends on multiple variables. For more info, click here