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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Pike and San Isabel National Forests > Leadville Ranger District

Quick Facts

Mt. Belford

Beginning Elevation: 9,640 Feet (3005.0 Meters) Missouri Gulch Trailhead
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 4,600 Feet (1433.9 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 14,197 Feet (4425.5 Meters) summit Mt. Belford
Length, One-way: 4.2 Miles (7.0 Kilometers)
Other Maps: Trails Illustrated 129 Buena Vista, Collegiate Peaks
USGS Maps: Mt. Harvard, Winfield

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The trail begins at the bottom of Missouri Gulch. The first two miles leads through a forested hillside following steep switchbacks. The terrain will level out a bit once you reach an abandoned cabin at tree line. Once you pass this and get above the trees you'll see the trail winding up the northern ridge of Mt. Belford. At 12,200 feet you will be at the junction of the Mt. Belford trail. It leads up the northwest ridge to the right (southwest) of a prominent coulior. A single trail has been established and revegetation is in process to reduce the erosion. Please stay on the established route; rare and sensitive plants are known to exist in this area.

Directions from Leadville: From Leadville, travel south on US Hwy 24 to Clear Creek Reservoir. Travel west on Chaffee County Road 390 for eight miles. Watch for the Missouri Gulch trailhead on the south side of the road. Trail #1462, Missouri Gulch, will lead you to Mt. Belford and Mt. Oxford.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: May through September (NOTE: Snow may obstruct the trail at high elevations.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Buddy
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Post note: Forgot one of the most important things! We used a phenomenal guide (Nate Goldberg) from Beaver Creek. He's the director of the hiking center. Nik Fickling (sp?) is great too. Use them if you ever need a great guide.

Filed By: Buddy
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Beautiful 14er and was my first. While the rest of the nation was sweating through 100 degree days, my group got sprinkled with snow yesterday, August 2, 2006. Was pretty challenging but I had a lot of inspiration: Bob, my 11 year senior brother; Mark, a CEO extraordinaire and Jim, a 67(?) year old version of Superman. Took us about 7 hours total; up in 4 and down in 3 I think. Trail very well marked.
Recommended Clothing: Take rain gear and extra fleece - NO COTTON TEES!

Filed By: David Eckhoff (Brighton, CO)
Time of Day: 10:00 am
Length of Time: 9 hours, 10 minutes
Difficulty: Hard
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: This was my first fourteener and I did not know what to expect. It was very difficult for me. The trail was steep and I had to stop frequently to catch my breath. Even my dog, Bennett, was feeling the altitude and had slowed down considerably. It took me 5 hrs. 45 mins to get up and 3 hrs, 20 mins to get down. Someone with more experience could certainly do this faster than I. However, the weather was great, the trail well marked, and the vista breath taking.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Mount Belford Trail, #1453
ICON Horseback Riding Mount Belford Trail, #1453
ICON Mountain Climbing Mt. Belford

Related Activities
Clear Creek Road - Clear Creek Road is passable by most two-wheel drive vehicles. Many recreation opportunities are accessible from this road including hiking, fishing, viewing scenery, touring historic sites, mountain biking and four-wheel driving.

Missouri Gulch Trail - This area is extremely popular with climbers with access to Mt. Belford, Mt. Oxford and Missouri Mountain. To experience solitude, plan your trip for a week day.

Missouri Mountain - This is a popular trail through high alpine terrain that exists above tree line to the 14,067' summit of Missouri Mountain. No well defined or marked trail exists on all three routes above tree line to summit.

Mt. Oxford - Mount Oxford reaches a height of 14,153' and is one of many fourteeners in the Sawatch Mountain Range west of Buena Vista. Many people climb Oxford and Belford in the same afternoon.

Vicksburg Historic Site - Vicksburg became a mining camp during the last decades of the Nineteenth Century. It's prosperity didn't last long and most of the residents moved from the area for more profitable mining.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Leadville Ranger District, U.S. Forest Service, 2015 North Poplar , Leadville, CO, 80461, Phone: 719-486-0749, Fax: 719-486-0928


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