Summer of Summits: Huron Peak, Missouri Mtn, Mount Oxford & Mount Belford

This summer we’re attempting to summit as many 14,000+ ft mountains in CO as possible, and we’re reaching the trailheads by bike! Join us on our Summer of Summits.

Day 30 – 24 miles by bike / +1900 ft elevation gain

Thanks to Thermarest’s warranty and Trailhead Outfitters in Buena Vista, I was able to make a quick exchange of my busted sleeping pad for a brand new one. We spent a couple hours in town killing time while my bike got a brake adjustment, then we were on our way to the next trailhead.

We took off for our 24 mile ride mostly north up Highway 24, then about 8 miles on county road 390 to Missouri Gulch Trailhead to access Mt Belford, Mt Oxford, and Missouri Mountain. 4 more miles further on the same road gave us access to Huron Peak via Lulu Gulch. We found a stealth campsite between the two trailheads and setup camp for the next couple nights. We decided to tackle Huron Peak first.

Missouri Gulch Trailhead
County Road 390 leads to Missouri Gulch and Huron Peak Trailheads

Day 31 – 11 miles hiking / +3900 ft elevation gain; 6 miles biking / +600 ft elevation gain

Though most people do Huron Peak as an “out and back” trail, we noticed our All Trails app has a route making a loop through Lulu Gulch. We decided to do a couple extra miles to change up the scenery. We went up Lulu Gulch just as the sun was rising. The first section of trail was basically a 4 wheel drive road with long sweeping switchbacks. Once we were above treeline, the road ended and the ridge walk began. This route was clearly lightly traveled, and the trail was undefined. We essentially just followed the ridgeline from saddle to saddle until it connected to the main trail.

Lulu Gulch to Huron Peak
Taking a break on the way up
Huron Peak from Lulu Gulch
Views of Huron Peak from Lulu Gulch

Once we joined the main trail, we noticed more people above and below us. We headed towards the home stretch to the summit in awe of the surrounding views. We reached the summit around 9:30 and didn’t have to rush down. The weather was perfect, and, for once, the wind wasn’t too strong.

Huron Peak homestretch
Huron Peak homestretch
Huron Peak
Almost there!
Huron Peak Summit - 14,003 ft.
Huron Peak Summit – 14,003 ft
Huron Peak trail from Lulu Gulch
Looking back on our route up via Lulu Gulch

About a half hour later, we headed down taking the main trail back to our bikes. The trail was incredibly well made with nice switchbacks followed by a short set of rock steps. Eventually, we wound through the woods and back to our bikes. We rode the three miles back to camp and enjoyed the day resting up for tomorrow’s big ascent.

Heading down Huron Peak's main trail
Heading down Huron Peak’s main trail
Huron Peak left, the Three Apostles right
Huron Peak left, the Three Apostles right

Day 32 – 16 miles hiking / +7300 ft elevation gain; 2 miles biking

We got up at 3:00 am to ensure we’d be off the summits before the afternoon on a big day of hiking. We rode the bikes 1 mile to the trailhead and took off into the woods at 3:30 by the light of our headlamps. We decided to head towards Missouri Mountain first. Time, miles, and elevation gain fly by for me in the dark as I’m only concentrating on the five feet in front of me. As we exited treeline, the moon and stars sparkled above which slowly faded as day broke behind Mount Belford. The light illuminated the valley and revealed the mountain we were ascending.

Sunrise behind Mt Belford

Sunrise behind Mt Belford
Sunrise behind Mt Belford

We reached Missouri’s ridge just as the first beams of light were hitting the tops of the peaks on the other side. Huron glowed in the sunshine. The views were incredible but were accompanied by a harsh, bitter wind. We rode the ridge for a while with a short stretch of slick, loose gravel. At about 6:30, we reached our first summit of the day.

Climbing Missouri Mountain
Rock scrambling on Missouri Mountain
Sunrise from Missouri Mountain
Sunrise from Missouri Mountain ridge. Huron Peak glowing in the morning light far left.
Riding the ridge to the summit
Windy summits aren't that fun, Missouri Mountain
Getting blown around on Missouri Mountain
Missouri Mountain Summit - 14,067 ft
Missouri Mountain Summit – 14,067 ft

We didn’t linger long as the wind wasn’t too inviting. I scurried as quickly as I could back down the ridge to the other side of the mountain to escape the cold. We retraced our steps down the Missouri Mountain spur trail, then continued climbing up Elkhead Pass and the back side of Belford.

Views of Missouri Mountain from Elkhead Pass
Views of Missouri Mountain from Elkhead Pass with the nearly full moon above the summit

The trail took us just shy of Belford summit with a fork towards Mount Oxford. We headed towards Oxford which took us down a steep 500 ft to a saddle then up 500 ft to the summit. The wind was still cutting as we were exposed above treeline, but the air was warming as the morning grew on.

Heading towards Mt Oxford
Heading towards Mt Oxford

At 9:30, we reached our second summit. The wind was fierce, but we were grateful to enjoy our snacks in a rock nest. Views of Mt Harvard were directly to the south with Princeton and Yale in the distance. Other than the wind, the weather seemed to be holding out with barely any clouds in the sky.

Views from Mt Oxford Summit
Views from Mt Oxford Summit, Mt Harvard left
Mt Oxford Summit - 14,153 ft
Mt Oxford Summit – 14,153 ft

After our break at the summit, we headed back towards Mt Belford for our third and final summit of the day. We retraced the 500 ft down then the super steep and slick 500 ft back up.

Views of Mt Belford from Mt Oxford
Heading to Mt Belford from Mt Oxford

Oxford to Belford took just about an hour. It was at this summit that we saw the most people. We found another nice wind block and enjoyed the last summit, pleased with our day’s work. It was finally time to head down the mountain.

Mt Belford Summit - 14,197 ft
Mt Belford Summit – 14,197 ft

The main trail up Belford that we were now descending has a long series of short steep switchbacks. Heading down the switchies was a slow go as welwe for sturdy footholds among the slick gravel.

Heading down Mt Belford
Heading down Mt Belford

Slowly but surely we made it back to the valley we had traversed by head lamp and eventually under treeline. From summit to trailhead took about two hours. All in all, the hike took 10 hours and consisted of 16.4 miles of hiking with 7300 ft of combined elevation gain between the three summits. After, we rode the 1 mile back to camp eager for lunch. #23, #24, #25 in the bag!!

If you’re keeping track…

653 Miles by Bike / +54,800 ft elevation gain

183 Miles Hiking / +75,200 ft elevation gain

25 – 14,000+ ft Summits

We are Bekah and Sean, out on an adventure to summit as many CO 14ers as possible this summer and reaching them via bicycle! Follow along here or on Instagram as we complete our Summer of Summits.

8 Comments on “Summer of Summits: Huron Peak, Missouri Mtn, Mount Oxford & Mount Belford

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