Mt. Flora

Round-Trip Length:  6.45 miles
Start-End Elevation:  11,307’ – 13,132′
Elevation Change:  +1,825′ net elevation gain
Skill Level:  Moderate
Trailhead Location:   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.

I did this solo hike 7 weeks ago but am just now getting around to writing the blog about it.  This past summer was the first in quite a few that I did climb any 14ers (14,000’ peaks) so I decided to at least get a 13er in before the end of the summer hiking season.  It’s getting more difficult to check more 14ers off of my list primarily for a couple of reasons:

  1. I’ve climbed all of the relatively close ones that can be done in a day trip.  Others would require at least a one night (if not two night) stay over to get there, climb the 14er, and get back home.  Because of that, it’s more difficult to get those done on an ordinary weekend.
  2. Many of the 14ers left are more technical climbs which are probably outside of my ability and comfort zone.

While there are 54 14ers in Colorado, there are 637 13ers so there are certainly plenty of 13ers to pick from!  I decided on Mt. Flora.  I headed out early (around 6:30am) from home as it sounded like it was going to be a nice morning with some possible rain moving in for the afternoon.  I parked at the Berthoud Pass Trailhead and headed out on the trail around 7:40am.

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The Mt. Flora trail follows the Continental Divide Trail.  The sign marking the Continental Divide Trail.

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The trail starts off on a service road.  After 0.85 miles the trail forks to the left onto a single track.

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The trail soon opens up with great views to the west and the early morning sun hitting the peaks and ridges.

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A view to the north.  You can see Highway 40 descending Berthoud Pass.

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The trail continues to climb higher up on the alpine tundra.  The early morning sun made for some great, long shadows!

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Here’s a view looking to the south with a small tarn down below in the valley.

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The trail reaches a saddle at 1.64 miles (12,138’).  Looking up to the north from the saddle.  There is still some lingering snow along the ridge.

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Another view to the south with 14ers Grays and Torreys Peaks off in the distance.

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Another shot the south and west with the Gore Range and Ten Mile Range off in the distance.

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Continuing on up the trail, I reached the summit of Mt. Flora.  This rock cairn marks the summit.

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From the top there are expansive views in all directions as well as views of Ethel Lake below.

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View to the west:

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A close up view to the south of Grays and Torreys Peaks:

 

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A tundra flowering plant on the summit:

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I decided to hike down from the summit to the east to get a different view of Ethel Lake. Here is shot looking back up to the summit on the left with Ethel Lake.

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A view to the northeast of a tarn below Ethel Lake.

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I decided to take a selfie with Ethel Lake in the background for proof that I was there!

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I could see there were some clouds moving in from the west so I decided to make the climb back up to the summit of Mt. Flora and head back down the trail. It is amazing how quickly the weather can change in the High Country.

In 25 minutes I was back on the summit and could clearly see the rain clouds to the west.

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The trail heading down from the summit across the open tundra.

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Back down on the saddle looking back up to Mt. Flora.

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As I continued back down the trail, Highway 40 came back into view.

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Just as I was arriving back at the car close to noon it was starting to rain so I timed it pretty good. It was a beautiful hike but I’ll have to come back again in July when the alpine wildflowers are in bloom. I’ve seen pictures of this hike from that time of year and the flowers do look amazing and it looks like Mt. Flora does live up to its name!

 

 

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