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On Walkabout On: Mt. Bross, Colorado

Basic Information

  • Name: Mt. Bross
  • Range: Mosquito Range
  • Where: Alma, Colorado
  • Elevation: 14,172 feet (4,321 meters)
  • Distance: 2+ miles from Mt. Lincoln back to the trailhead
  • Time: 1.5 – 2 hours from Mt. Lincoln back to the trailhead
  • Elevation Gain: 3,481 feet total for the entire hike
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • More Information: 14ers.com

Route from Mt. Lincoln to Mt. Bross

Route to Mt. Bross

Topographic Map of DeCaLiBron Trail

Elevation Graph of the DeCaLiBron

Narrative

After spending a half hour on the summit of the highest point of the DeCaLiBron Trail, the 14,286 foot Mt. Lincoln; I then proceeded to head over to the final peak of the hike the 14,172 foot Mt. Bross.  To get to Mt. Bross I had to hike back down the Mt. Lincoln ridgeline and then follow a trail below the summit of the 14,238 foot Mt. Cameron:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

As I walked down the ridgeline from Mt. Lincoln I made sure to take one last look at the beautiful Ten Mile Range and its scenic Wheeler Lake down below:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Eventually I reached the saddle that connects Mt. Cameron to Mt. Bross and I was welcomed by a private property sign:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

There is still much private property in the mountains that compose the DeCaLiBron Trail due to all the old mining claims.  Some of these mining claims are still actively worked and thus private property rights remain an issue in these mountains.  Mt. Bross probably has the greatest mining legacy considering all the old mines on the mountain and the fact it is named after a man that owned a mining property near the mountain.  Here is how the book “A Climbing Guide to Colorado’s Fourteeners: Twentieth Anniversary Edition explains how the mountain got its name:

Mount Bross, whose greatest claim to fame may be that it boasts the broadest, roundest summit of the fifty-four was named for William Bross, who owned mining property near Alma.  Bross owed his celebrity status largely to the fact he served as lieutenant governor of Illinois from 1865 to 1869 and claimed Colorado mining legend “Commodore” Steven Decatur as his long-lost brother, much to the Commodore’s denial.  Bross made an ascent of Lincoln with Father John Dyer, the famed “Snowshoe Itinerant,” in 1876 and was so enthusiastic about the view that local miners began referring to Lincoln’s south peak as Mount Bross.

As I crossed the saddle I had an expansive view of the basin below the mountains to the east that is known as the Cameron Amphitheatre:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

I also had impressive views of Mt. Lincoln to the north where I could see many old mining sites to include some old buildings that were still clinging to the side of the mountain:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Here is the view looking to the west from the saddle that looks back down towards the trailhead at Kite Lake with the 14,148 foot Mt. Democrat visible in the distance:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

As I neared the summit approach to Mt. Bross I was  welcomed with yet another private property sign:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

This is the way I have had the summit of Mt. Bross explained to me.  The summit is private property due to the mining claims there.  However, it is treated like what The Incline in Manitou Springs was for many years.  The Incline was considered private property but hundreds of people every day ran up The Incline despite the private property signs.  The signs were put there to protect the property owners from legal liability.  Apparently this same type of thing is going on with the summit of Mt. Bross until a legal solution can be worked out like what the city of Manitou Springs finally worked out with The Incline.

So there were many hikers I could already see on the summit because some people start the DeCaLiBron in the opposite direction.  A large group I had not seen earlier in the hike, climbed up from Kite Lake already.  So I hiked up to the summit and was just amazed by how big it is:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

The summit is considered the broadest of all the 14er summits and it is easy to understand why considering how big and flat it was up there.  That summit is big enough that someone could construct a small town up there if they wanted to.  Here is a panorama photo of the summit that further shows how wide and flat the summit is:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Here is the view looking north towards Mt. Lincoln where the fellow 14er Quandary Peak could be seen rising behind it as well:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

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

Here is a picture of Mt. Cameron that was also visible to the north:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Here is the view looking to the northwest where Mt. Democrat could be seen:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Here is a panorama of all three of three of these mountains from the summit of Mt. Bross:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

You can read my prior trip reports on these three mountains at the below links:

Looking to the west I could see the Sawatch Range rising in the distance to include the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains the 14,433 foot Mt. Elbert:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Towards the southeast I could see the 14,115 foot Pikes Peak:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

You can read about my prior hikes up Pikes Peak at the below links:

To the northeast I could see the twin 14er summits of Grays and Torreys Peaks as well as the 14ers Mt. Evans and Mt. Bierstadt:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

You can read about my prior hikes up these mountains as well at the below links:

I only spent about 10 minutes on the summit of Mt. Bross since I had already seen everything there is to see from the other summits of the DeCaLiBron.  So I quickly began to make my way down the trail that leads down Mt. Bross’ western slopes back down to Kite Lake:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Along the way I had some really nice views of Mt. Democrat:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

On the western slopes of Mt. Bross the remains of past mining activity was very evident:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Just about everywhere I looked I could spot an old mineshaft or structure clinging to the  side of the mountain:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

There was also once again signs posted along the side of the trail warning hikers of private property:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Something I was surprised by as I descended Mt. Bross was the amount of scree that I had to deal with.  The whole side of the mountain is composed mostly of small loose rock that makes walking difficult in some areas:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

I was glad I had my trekking poles with me to help me keep my balance because I could see some hikers down below falling down on the loose scree.  I slipped a number of times, but did not fall due to my poles.  Descending down Mt. Bross in this scree field was definitely the hardest part of the entire DeCaLiBron hike:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Fortunately I had views of beautiful Kite Lake down below to enjoy as I descended this knee aching scree-fest:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Here is a view looking back up the scree filled slopes of Mt. Bross that I had descended:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

As I neared the high alpine meadows the scree subsided and it became much easier to hike down the mountain:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

One of the coolest things I saw on the hike was this neat little waterfall that appears once the trail begins to cross the alpine meadows back to the trailhead:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Here is a view from further down the trail looking back towards the waterfall in the distance with Mt. Bross towering overhead:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Here is a panorama I took that captures the entire extent of Mt. Bross on the right and Mt. Democrat on the left:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Eventually the trailhead came into view ahead of me:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Soon enough I was back at the trailhead with Mt. Democrat towering overhead:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Here is a panorama I shot from the trailhead that shows Mt. Democrat on the left, Mt. Cameron in the center, and Mt. Bross on the right:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

From the trailhead it was a short walk back to my truck that was parked down the road since I did not want to pay the $3 fee to park at the trailhead.  As I walked back to my truck it was pretty amazing to see how many vehicles were now parked along side of the road:

Picture from Mt. Bross, Colorado

Conclusion

The distance from my truck and back via the DeCaLiBron ultimately ended up being 7.8 miles and allowed me to summit four 14ers.  There is no place in Colorado where you can bag that many 14ers with such minimal effort.  Do to the ease of reaching the trailhead with a two-wheel drive vehicle as well as being able to summit so many peaks in one day; it makes the DeCaLiBron a very popular hiking destination.  That is why I recommend getting an early start in the warmer months because this trail does get packed.  I started at 5:30 AM and did not have to deal with too many crowds.  So I recommend at least beginning the hike around this time.  Besides that make sure you enjoy the great views offered on this one of a kind hiking destination in the Colorado Rockies.

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