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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Lee

Missouri Mountain

September 8, 2023

Missouri Mountain | 14,071 feet

10.5 miles; 4576 feet elevation gain

Total time: 5 hours 10 minutes

Missouri Mountain has a reputation in the 14ers world, most people either love it or hate it. Those who hate it nickname it 'Misery Mountain'. Well, I am happy to say I loved it. I thought this mountain was a great challenge in terms of distance and elevation gain while not exceeding class two terrain. And, the views along the ridgeline were some of the most incredible views I have seen from any mountain. The Sawatch range is just such a stunning place, you are surrounded by so many massive mountains it is breathtaking.

I camped along CR390, near the trailhead, the night before and started around 5:10am. Being September that meant quite a lot of time in the dark which was a little creepy being alone. The first 1.5 miles is in dense forest but the trail is well maintained and very easy to follow. However, it is a series of steep switchbacks that warms you up very quickly. At the first trail split around 2 miles there is a small sign, you take a right here for Elkhead Pass/Missouri Mountain. To the left is the trail for Belford and Oxford. The trail levels off and for a little bit and makes for a nice trail running route for a couple of miles. Around 12,600 feet the real climbing starts. You will make your way up a talus field to a saddle at the northwest end of the Missouri's summit ridge. This section took me much longer than expected and felt never-ending. But, once you gain the ridge the you are rewarded with some of the most incredible views I have ever seen.

The final stretch along the ridge felt very straightforward to me, although as usual felt longer than I expected. There is one difficult class two move, pictured below, which I thought was very chill. Nyx has no issues scrambling up or down this section. I have heard many reports of Missouri's ridgeline being sketchy or challenging for people. It is narrow with a little bit of exposure on either side but I loved it. It had a few scrambling moves with solid rock and overall fun terrain. I reached the summit in 3 hours and the views are absolutely magnificent for 360 degrees. The descent was fairly quick and fun. I trail ran a majority of it, finishing in just over 5 hours including 10 minutes on the summit and a couple snack breaks on the way down. There is plenty of water on this route to filter and restock.

Hike Details:

Trailhead: accessible in any car; rough gravel road to access trailhead.

Camping: dispersed camping along CR 390.

Fees & Reservations: none.

Bathrooms: there are bathrooms at the trailhead.

Trash: no garbage at the trailhead.

Dog-friendly: this route is dog friendly.

Recent Conditions: see peak conditions.

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