Mount Flora: 13er Hike Review

You are currently viewing Mount Flora: 13er Hike Review

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.). 


Mountain Information

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.

Mount Flora

  • Summit Elevation: 13,146ft.
  • Range: Front
  • Sub-Range: Central Front
  • Location: Arapaho National Forest
  • Nearest Town: Empire / Winter Park

Trail Guide

Route Information

  • 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.
Difficulty – 0
Scenery - 0
Crowds - 0
Fun Factor - 0

Route Overview

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.  

Planning Tips

Getting There

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.

Weather Forecast

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!


Hiking Boots

The Vasque Torre hiking boots are incredibly lightweight, provide excellent traction, and are quite affordable for their versatility. We like the Vasque Torre’s for everyday hiking that includes a bit of scrambling. In addition, with the “GORE-TEX” construction, you don’t have to worry about damp feet if the weather turns or you have to splash through streams or puddles along the way.

Hiking Pants

We love prAna’s hiking pants for their quality and versatility. Indeed, their Zion (for men) and Halle (for women) are great on- and off-trail, especially for travel. Constructed with a durable UPF-50 fabric, a water-repellant finish, and utility pockets, these have become a staple in our wardrobe. Remember that it can be rather chilly at alpine elevations, so consider hiking pants rather than shorts (both for warmth and sun protection).

Hiking Shirt

It can get chilly during alpine outings, particularly when you start early in the morning. Therefore, we typically opt for a long sleeve but lightweight shirt to keep us warm when it’s cold, but keeps us cool when we are working up a sweat later in the day. The no-cotton rule applies to shirts just as it does for pants and other articles of clothing.

Our preferred hiking shirt in the summer is Outdoor Research’s Echo Hoody because of its UPF sun protection qualities and lightweight (4oz.) breathable construction. The shirt has a hood for added neck protection and has thumbholes to protect your hands from sun exposure, if you opt to not wear sun gloves. Outdoor Research also makes different varieties of the Echo shirt (e.g., quarter zip, long sleeve without hood, t-shirt, etc.) if you prefer another style.

Insulated Jacket

The Arc’teryx Atom is easily our favorite insulated jacket. Yes, there may be lighter weight alternatives on the market, but we love the style, fit, packability, and function. Wear the Atom during early morning starts or when you reach the mountain summit. It’s a great addition to an outdoors wardrobe and comes in handy when the temperature dips.

Hiking Socks

For most of our hiking needs, we like Darn Tough socks over the multitude of options on the market. They last long and have an ironclad guarantee. In addition, Darn Tough has a variety of designs, ankle lengths, and cushioning options to choose from. We like the Hiker quarter length with light cushioning.

Headwear/Face Covering

We often wear a Buff as a neck gaiter to protect from the sun, given its UPF 50 protective construction. Buffs are also a great option to use as a face covering on the trail. In fact, there are 12+ ways of wearing a Buff, so it’s a versatile piece of gear.

Day Pack

To summit Mount Flora, we like Deuter’s Speed Lite for its lightweight design and versatility. This pack comes in a variety of sizes (we like around 20L) and has enough storage for a day hike, with ample compartments to aid in equipment/content organization. In addition, side pockets are available to store Nalgene bottles or other equipment, but it also is hydration reservoir compatible. We think the 21L version has the perfect capacity, but again various sizes are available.

Trekking Poles

Although trekking poles are optional and a matter of preference, we prefer to use them for added stability. We recommend choosing the lightest weight poles your budget can afford. The Black Diamond Distance Z is our top choice due to its extremely lightweight construction. If you are seeking just one pole, rather than two, consider Gossamer Gear’s LT5, which can be purchased individually.

recommended books

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.

Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. We may receive a small commission if you buy a product or service through an affiliate link. This revenue helps us provide readers with helpful content to plan amazing adventures.