What mountain comes to mind first when you think of the Colorado high peaks? For many people, the answer is Pike’s Peak, which is near Colorado Springs.
With 58 peaks of Colorado exceeding 14,000 feet, you’ll find a 14er out there to hike that meets your difficulty expectations. Some are remarkably easy, while others are exceptionally challenging.
Each trail allows you to explore the rugged beauty of the Rockies, the San Juans, and more while enjoying the wildlife and scenery.
With pushpin maps or a Colorado 14er poster to remember each adventure available, you can customize each trip up a fourteener in numerous ways. Here are the hikes to try when you’re spending time in the state this year.
1. Mount Elbert This hike takes you to the tallest summit in Colorado. If you take the Northeast Ridge route, you won’t need technical skills to complete the ascent. With proper planning and some fitness, you can enjoy a long day outside in the fresh air. Get started early (before 6 AM) to avoid getting caught in an afternoon storm. Three false summits are out there, so make sure you follow the trail to the end.
2. Mount Evans You’ll find six 14ers along the Front Range to climb. This summit is less than two hours from Denver, and it’s only 2.4 miles up to the top. If you don’t have the time to traverse the entire mountain, you can drive most of the way to the top. Most people take the No. 51 trail because you’ll summit Mt. Spalding’s 13,842 feet along the way.
3. Mount Sneffels The San Juan Mountains deliver some of the best wildflower trails in the state, especially in the middle of the Summer. If you climb this 14er, you’ll find the lower trailhead is already at 11,300 feet. You’re also close to Ouray, which is one of the state’s old mining towns. Since it’s a Class 3 trail, you’ll need some gear for exposed scrambling. The snow stays until early June most years, but the reward is a view that stretches all the way to Canyonlands State Park in Utah.
4. Longs Peak It’s only 90 minutes from Denver, located in Rocky Mountain National Park. The journey is difficult, requiring between 10 to 15 hours to complete the round trip while being at altitude. Bring your helmet and gear for the last part of the trail, where you’ll need to climb steep granite. If you want to turn this trek into a weekend adventure, reserve a site at Boulder Field, located about two miles from the summit.
5. The DeCaliBron Hike When you take on this adventure, you’ll have four 14ers to remember from your trip to Colorado. This 7-mile loop includes Mounts Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, and Bross. Although the route isn’t overly technical, you will feel the altitude when spending all day above 13,000 feet. Bring plenty of water and hope for a clear day because you can see the Elk Mountains with the skies cooperate.
Climbing a Colorado 14er with family, friends, or by yourself can be a fantastic experience. When you commemorate it with CO mountains wall art or another memory souvenir, you can think back to these times whenever you want!