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On Walkabout On: Mt. Cameron, Colorado

Basic Information

  • Name: Mt. Cameron
  • Range: Mosquito Range
  • Where: Alma, Colorado
  • Elevation: 14,238 feet (4,340 meters)
  • Distance: 2 miles from Mt. Democrat to Mt. Cameron
  • Time: 1-2 hours from Mt.  Democrat to Mt. Cameron
  • Elevation Gain: 3,481 feet total for entire hike
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • More Information: 14ers.com

Route from Mt. Democrat (left) to Mt. Cameron (right)

Route Up Mt. Cameron

Topographic Map of DeCaLiBron Trail

Elevation Graph of the DeCaLiBron

Narrative

After spending about 30 minutes on the summit of Mt. Democrat I then decided to head off to my next destination along the DeCaLiBron Trail which is the 14,238 foot Mt. Cameron.  Mt. Cameron is the second of the four 14-thousand foot peaks that compose the DeCaLiBron.  The other peaks are the 14,148 foot Mt. Democrat, the 14,286 foot Mt. Lincoln, and the 14,172 foot Mt. Bross.  Mt. Cameron actually has ties to my current hometown of Colorado Springs.  It is believed that the mountain was named after Civil War General Robert Alexander Cameron.  He was a long time friend of fellow Civil War General William Jackson Palmer who was the founder of Colorado Springs.  Here is a local Gazette newspaper blog posting about Cameron:

Robert Alexander Cameron

On a summer day 142 years ago Wednesday, former Union Army Gen. Robert Cameron stood before 30 or so frontiersmen gathered around a log cabin, drove a stake into the ground and announced the founding of a new community: Colorado Springs.

The town was conceived by Cameron’s boss, Gen. William Jackson Palmer, who paid $10,000 for about 1,000 acres near the confluence of Monument and Fountain creeks and envisioned a resort town, a home for him and his new wife, Queen, as well as a headquarters for his fledgling Denver & Rio Grande Railroad.

The first stake ceremony on July 31, 1871, was described by Marshall Sprague in his excellent history “Newport in the Rockies.” Sprague said that Cameron, whose name still adorns a cone-shaped mountain visible south of Pikes Peak, had spent the previous weeks platting home and business lots, streets and parks from Monument Creek east and running two miles north and south from the stake.

Palmer had picked the spot by pointing to the summit of Pikes Peak and telling Cameron to use it as the center line for his new community’s main street: Pikes Peak Avenue.  [The Gazette Side Streets Blog]

Rising above the Garden of the Gods, Cameron Cone can be seen in the center of the photograph to the left of Pikes Peak which was the terrain feature Robert Cameron used as the center line for downtown Colorado Springs.

To get to Mt. Cameron I had to first descend down Mt. Democrat.  Going down was tricky in a few spots due to the loose rock and the hordes of people heading up the mountain.  It was amazing how many people were heading up the trail.  I was thankful I got an early start before the mad rush up the mountain began.  I was far enough head of the mob that I should have no issues with crowds the rest of the hike.  After about 30 minutes I was back down on the saddle between Mt. Democrat and Mt. Cameron.  From the saddle I had a good view of the trail I had just taken up and down Mt. Democrat:

On the Saddle Between Mt. Democrat and Mt. Cameron, Colorado

From Mt. Democrat I had descended about 700 feet which meant I had about an 800 foot ascent ahead of me up the rocky slopes of Mt. Cameron:

Picture from Mt. Cameron, Colorado

As I ascended Mt. Cameron I made sure to take in the beautiful views of the Ten Mile Range and the 14,269 foot Quandary Peak that rises to the north:

Ten Mile Range from Mt. Cameron, Colorado

You can read about my prior hike up Quandary Peak at the below link:

The hike up Mt. Cameron was not as bad as Mt. Democrat because the rock was not as loose:

Picture from Mt. Cameron, Colorado

Plus I had some really good views to take in as I ascended up the mountain:

Picture from Mt. Cameron, Colorado

Here is the view looking back towards Mt. Democrat that I had just climbed:

Picture from Mt. Cameron, Colorado

Here is looking up towards the summit of Mt. Cameron:

Picture from Mt. Cameron, Colorado

In about an hour I was able to complete the traverse from Mt. Democrat to Mt. Cameron. The summit of Mt. Cameron was the most uninspiring summit I had been on until I later hiked over to Mt. Bross which was even worse.  The summit of Mt. Cameron is just a flat plateau of dirt and rock.  At least at the pointed summit of Mt. Lincoln up ahead to look at:

Flat Summit of Mt. Cameron, Colorado

Fortunately the views were more inspiring than this summit. Here is the view looking back towards Mt. Democrat the Sawatch Range rising in the distance:

Looking Towards Mt. Democrat from Mt. Cameron, Colorado

Here is a panorama I took from the summit that shows Kite Lake and the trailhead on the left and Mt. Democrat on the right:

Picture from Mt. Cameron, Colorado

Here is the view looking northwest towards the Ten Mile Range where the stunning Wheeler Lake and Quandary Peak could be seen:

Ten Mile Range from the Summit of Mt. Cameron, Colorado

Here is a closer look at Wheeler Lake where a trail could be seen that accesses the lake:

Wheeler Lake from Mt. Cameron, Colorado

I definitely want to hike to this lake one day and take a fishing pole with me.  What a setting to spend a day fishing at!

Here is a panorama looking to the north that shows Mt. Lincoln on the far right, Quandary Peak center right, the Ten Mile Range in the center, and Mt. Democrat to the far left:

Panorama from the Summit of Mt. Cameron, Colorado

Finally here is the view to the southeast looking at the blob of a mountain that is Mt. Bross:

Looking Towards Mt. Bross from Mt. Cameron, Colorado

Unlike the summit of Mt. Democrat where there was a mob of people and little room to move around; there was a lot of room on the summit of Mt. Cameron and only a handful of people up there.  Since I had beat the rush of people hiking the DeCaLiBron that morning, by the time I got to Mt. Cameron there was hardly anyone to be seen.  However, despite the solitude on Mt. Cameron I spent only about five minutes there taking pictures before descending Mt. Cameron to head over to the high point of the DeCaLiBron, Mt. Lincoln:

Looking Towards Mt. Lincoln from Mt. Cameron, Colorado

Conclusion

Due to the saddle between Mt. Cameron and Mt. Lincoln being a less than 300 foot drop, Mt. Cameron is not officially recognized as a 14er.  However, in my opinion Mt. Cameron despite its uninspiring shape is definitely a separate mountain from Mt. Lincoln due to the distance between itself and its neighboring mountains.  Mt. Cameron looses the fame of being an official 14er simply because of a strange fate of topography where it has such a long flat saddle that does not drop below 300 feet with Mt. Lincoln.  Despite not being an official 14er the mountain still sees a lot of traffic by being part of the DeCaLiBron route and just about everyone who climbs 14ers as a hobby has hiked up Mt. Cameron.  So for anyone looking to hike the DeCaLiBron you to will hike up Mt. Cameron because with its large summit there is no way to hike around it to get to Mt. Lincoln or vice versa to Mt. Democrat.  However, if you are like me don’t expect to stay too long because there are better mountains to go and hike up to come!

Next Posting: On Walkabout On: Mt. Lincoln, Colorado

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