Colorado 14ers: Mount Belford, Mount Oxford and Missouri Mountain - Backpacker

Colorado 14ers: Mount Belford, Mount Oxford and Missouri Mountain

String together three Sawatch summits on this popular circuit with long alpine traverses overlooking the Continental Divide.

-Mapped by Timm Paxson

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 16.4


Log Cabin

Location: 38.9814987182617, -106.374015808105

An old log cabin which was built just below treeline in Missouri Gulch.
©Timm Paxson

Missouri Gulch

Location: 38.977840423584, -106.373054504395

The view north down into Missouri Gulch.
©Timm Paxson

Looking south toward Missouri Mountain from Missouri Gulch

Location: 38.9635963439941, -106.37718963623

The trail climbs the tundra on the far side of the rocky bluff in front of the main ridge.
©Timm Paxson

Views of the saddle

Location: 38.9560928344727, -106.38037109375

The trail climbs to the saddle at the top of this ridge. The trail is hidden behind the lower rock feature rising up from the tundra.
©Timm Paxson

Huron Peak

Location: 38.9539756774902, -106.386528015137

Views of Huron Peak to the west from the ridge saddle.
©Timm Paxson

La Plata Peak

Location: 38.9538803100586, -106.38671875

Views of La Plata Peak to the northwest from the ridge saddle.
©Timm Paxson

Missouri Mountain

Location: 38.9525299072266, -106.385948181152

Looking southeast along the Missouri Mountain ridge towards the summit.
©Timm Paxson

Views of the trail

Location: 38.9520492553711, -106.384986877441

The trail up the ridge to Missouri Mountain's summit.
©Timm Paxson

Missouri Mountain summit views

Location: 38.9475288391113, -106.378639221191

Mount Harvard (14,420), Mount Columbia (14,073), and Mount Yale (14,196) command the summit view to the south.
©Timm Paxson

Summit Views

Location: 38.9478149414062, -106.378639221191

Looking east from the summit of Missouri Mountain, views stretch toward Mount Belford (14,197) and Mount Oxford (14,153).

Summit Views of La Plata Peak

Location: 38.9477195739746, -106.378730773926

Looking north along the ridge toward La Plata Peak (just right of center).

Rocky gully

Location: 38.9542617797852, -106.380172729492

Looking up at scree-filled gully.
©Timm Paxson

Missouri Mountain from Elkhead Pass

Location: 38.9517631530762, -106.366508483887

©Timm Paxson

Trail from Elkhead Pass

Location: 38.9513778686523, -106.364776611328

The trail first leads east from Elkhead Pass, then bends around to the north to reach Oxford and Belford.
©Timm Paxson

Views of Mount Oxford

Location: 38.9599418640137, -106.359970092773

Mount Oxford as seen from just below the summit of Belford.
©Timm Paxson

Mount Oxford summit

Location: 38.9648475646973, -106.338890075684

The view to the west from Oxford's long summit.
©Timm Paxson

Mount Belford's summit

Location: 38.9610977172852, -106.36247253418

Views to the east, looking back at Belford's summit.
©Timm Paxson

Pecks Peak

Location: 38.9629249572754, -106.365455627441

Looking north down the trail toward Pecks Peak.
©Timm Paxson

Views into Missouri Gulch

Location: 38.9657135009766, -106.368049621582

Missouri Gulch from the
west face of Belford.
©Timm Paxson

Grave near the trail

Location: 38.997184753418, -106.374496459961

The only grave left in the cemetery near the trailhead.
©Timm Paxson


Location: 38.9978866577148, -106.375015258789

From Missouri Gulch trailhead, head S and cross bridge over Clear Creek


Location: 38.9935111999512, -106.372932434082

Begin ascent into Missouri Gulch through steep switchbacks


Location: 38.9855918884277, -106.373115539551

Cross stream on log bridge; continue S through Missouri Gulch


Location: 38.9814987182617, -106.373924255371

Pass an old log cabin, then leave forest behind; watch for deer on slopes


Location: 38.9742279052734, -106.37321472168

Bear R @ Belford-Oxford fork, or find campsites near trail


Location: 38.9701957702637, -106.373573303223

Head S through alpine tundra; stream flows beside trail; cairns lead the way


Location: 38.9557838439941, -106.376564025879

Bear R and ascend grassy slopes where the trail to Elkhead Pass heads to the SE; follow cairns


Location: 38.9550552368164, -106.386299133301

Head S from the saddle; look W for views of Huron Peak; La Plata Peak silhouetted to the NW


Location: 38.9529838562012, -106.386840820312

Head SE on rocky ridgeline towards summit


Location: 38.9475593566894, -106.378540039062

Missouri Mtn. summit (14,067 ft.): Mounts Harvard, Columbia and Yale command the summit view to the S. Look E for views of Mt. Belford and Mt. Oxford


Location: 38.9512214660644, -106.382766723633

Optional descent: Glissade down several scree fields; then head NE across alpine tundra to reconnect with Elkhead Pass Trail


Location: 38.955078125, -106.376274108887

Turn R @ jct. onto Elkhead Pass Trail; head SE towards pass; cairns lead the way


Location: 38.9516143798828, -106.366325378418

From Elkhead Pass, head NE following cairns


Location: 38.9580497741699, -106.358169555664

Veer R @ Y; follow ridgeline to the NE toward Belford-Oxford Saddle


Location: 38.9593658447266, -106.350845336914

Continue NE along saddle, then ascend Oxford's W ridge to summit


Location: 38.964771270752, -106.338798522949

Mt. Oxford (14,153 ft.): Enjoy views from Oxford's broad summit. Retrace steps to WPT 14 and turn R to tackle Mt. Belford


Location: 38.9607086181641, -106.360694885254

Mt. Belford summit (14,197 ft.): Relish panoramas from 14,000 ft. for the third time; head NW to descend Belford


Location: 38.9631576538086, -106.36572265625

Descend grassy slope on switchbacks


Location: 38.9710464477539, -106.370536804199

Continue NW to WPT 5; turn R and retrace steps to trailhead