Mount Flora (13,146ft.) is a 13er mountain located in Colorado’s central Front Range, within the Arapaho National Forest. Located along the Continental Divide at Berthoud Pass just off of US-40, Mount Flora is about 15 minutes from Winter Park and is a moderately challenging, gorgeous hike.
The standard route to the summit of Mount Flora begins at the Berthoud Pass parking area and ascends via the southwest ridge. At 6.4 miles roundtrip, with approximately 1,729ft. of elevation gain, the hike is mostly along a Class 1 trail with a small bit of easy scrambling to reach the summit. If you’re looking for a longer hike and bigger challenge, consider adding in nearby Mount Eva (13,130ft.) and Parry Peak (13,391ft.).
HIKE REVIEW SERIES: Mount Flora
Mount Flora, located in Colorado’s Arapaho National Forest, was named by 19th century botanist Charles Parry in honor of the Latin word “flora,” meaning flowers. Parry named many peaks in the area, including Parry Peak after himself and others often in honor of famous botanists such as Asa Gray (Gray’s Peak), John Torrey (Torrey’s Peak), and George Engelmann (Engelmann Peak).
Best accessed via Berthoud Pass, a previous ski resort area, the ascent of Mount Flora takes adventurers along the Continental Divide. Indeed, at an elevation of 13,146ft., Mount Flora is an incredibly popular 13er mountain given its close proximity to Denver (about 1 hour) and the Winter Park ski resort.
- Summit Elevation: 13,146ft.
- Range: Front
- Sub-Range: Central Front
- Location: Arapaho National Forest
- Nearest Town: Empire / Winter Park
- Route: Southwest Ridge
- Class: 1
- Type: Out-and-Back
- Trailhead: Berthoud Pass
- Trailhead Elevation: 11,307ft.
- Route Length: 6.4 mi.
- Elevation Gain: 1,729ft.
The Class 1 Southwest Ridge route to Mount Flora begins on the east side of US-40 at Berthoud Pass, with the trailhead adjacent to the Continental Divide/Berthoud Pass sign at the parking area. This trail serves double-duty as the start toward Mount Flora, but is also the trail to Colorado Mines Peak (an adjacent, 12,197ft. mountain). This section of trail is wide and shaded, with a few switchbacks for about .8 miles until you reach the junction with the Mount Flora Trail (otherwise known as the Continental Divide Trail).
The Mount Flora Trail heads in a northeasterly direction with open views down to the windy road of US-40 and the mountains to the west. Neighboring Colorado Mines Peak and its summit weather station will come more into view. In a little less than a mile from the Mount Flora junction, an extraordinary view of Blue Lake will be to the east. The ascent along the trail continues at a steady climb, with Mount Flora’s summit becoming more apparent. Reach Mount Flora’s summit at 13,146ft. after 3.2 miles of moderately challenging hiking and be rewarded with expansive Front Range mountain views. Double back on the descent to return to the Berthoud Pass trailhead.
From I-70, take exit 232 toward US-40 / Empire / Granby. Pass through the small town of Empire along Us-40 and eventually ascend the steep, switchback road toward Berthoud Pass. The Berthoud Pass parking area is on the east side of US-40, about 15 minutes from Empire.
The hike to Mount Flora begins at the expansive parking area at Berthoud Pass, just off of US-40. Though this parking area is quite large and can easily fit about 80 vehicles, it is very popular with tourists and hikers alike being along the Continental Divide. We recommend a weekday visit or an early morning arrival on the weekend to avoid the busiest times.
There are a few good campsite options to choose from near Berthoud Pass. Idlewild Campground, managed by the US Forest Service is closer to Winter Park and has 24 first-come, first-served sites. The Midland Campground, also near Winter Park and managed by the US Forest Service, has one large group site that is reservable in advance. And yet another option, closer to Berthoud Pass, is Robbers Roost Campground, which offers 11 first-come, first served sites.
Dogs are permitted on leash. There is some slight scrambling required to reach the summit of Mount Flora, but most dogs should have no issue. If you do opt to bring your pet, please be considerate of others by keeping your pet on leash and picking up/packing out any dog waste.
Always check the weather forecast before venturing into alpine country. Thunderstorms and lightning are frequent occurrences in Colorado during the summer time. Plan ahead and if the weather does not look ideal, try your Mount Flora 13er summit adventure for another day. Safety first!
RECOMMENDED HIKING APPAREL AND GEAR
We recommend bringing along a topographical map of the area, such as the “Winter Park, Central City, Rollins Pass (National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map).” This hike is close to US-40, but a good topo map is always nice to have in addition to a GPS device, if you’re using one. In addition, we included a couple of our favorite field guides for plant and bird identification to aid in the enjoyment of your outdoor adventure. Lastly, we included Gerry Roach’s “Colorado Thirteeners: From Hikes to Climbs” guidebook, which does not cover Mount Flora specifically, but does provide an amazing amount of information on other 13er hikes in Colorado that may be of interest.
- Winter Park, Central City, Rollins Pass (National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map)
- Colorado’s Thirteeners: From Hikes to Climbs
- Rocky Mountain Wildflowers Field Guide
- Roadside Geology of Colorado
- Mammals of Colorado Field Guide
- American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of Colorado
- Sibley Birds West: Field Guide to Birds of Western North America
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