Mount Belford

Mount Belford. Photo Credit: Simpsora – OutThere Colorado.

Across a tundra valley from its shorter neighbor Missouri Mountain, Mount Belford is usually climbed in conjunction with Mount Oxford, only 1.5 miles away, for the simple reason you have to go over Belford to get to Oxford. The summit is a good place to catch your breath and have a snack, but your journey is far from over. Oxford awaits.

“Can’t we just go down from here?” I asked my wife (then my girlfriend) as we stood atop Mount Belford. The route to Oxford seemed a ridge too far, especially knowing that we would have to re-climb Belford afterwards to get back down to the trailhead. “Do you really want to climb up here again to do Oxford?” she said. I agreed, and on we went. “It is not the mountain we must conquer, but ourselves,” said someone once. I concur.

Pro Tips

  • There’s no camping at the trailhead, but plenty of spots up and down Chaffee County Road 390.
  • The Missouri Gulch trail starts with endless miserable switchbacks. Why not backpack up it and climb Missouri one day and Belford and Oxford the next? That way you’ll never have to do the switchbacks again.
  • Resist the urge to descend without hitting Oxford. After all, you’re right there.
  • Recommended season(s): Summer – early fall.

    —R. Scott Rappold


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