Tallest in the State

WHAT ARE 14'ERS?

Colorado has 58 mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet (known as "fourteeners" or "14ers" locally) — the most of any state. Outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels will find peaks ranging from easy to very difficult, with hiking trails for exploring the state's scenery, wildlife and rugged beauty.

Hiking a Colorado 14er

Some of the Colorado's best-known fourteeners include the tallest, Mount Elbert; Pikes Peak, which inspired the poem "America the Beautiful"; and Longs Peak, which resides inside Rocky Mountain National Park. See a full list of 14ers and their elevations and an awesome infographic that describes what makes them so special to Coloradans.

The reward for reaching the summit of one of these 14ers? Some of the most breathtaking views you'll find anywhere on the planet, as well as stargazing opportunities. But it's important to know a few things before you head out to these massive Colorado fourteeners.

There is a debate about exactly how many 14ers there are in Colorado. The Colorado Geological Survey says there are 58 peaks that exceed 14,000 feet in elevation. Others use this logic: To qualify, a peak must rise at least 300 feet above the saddle that connects it to the nearest 14er peak (if another exists nearby). You can make up your own mind!

If you're looking for a bit more solitude, we recommend detouring from the very popular 14ers to a few of 580-plus 13ers in Colorado, which pack just as much adventure punch in slightly less elevation. (Read about a couple who has climbed all Colorado 13ers on the Colorado Outdoor Adventure Blog.)

BE AWARE OF THE EFFECTS OF ALTITUDE

While climbing up a fourteener can lead you to breathtaking views, the thinner air can lead to altitude sickness. Altitude sickness is brought on by a lack of oxygen to your body and a failure to acclimate to air that has less oxygen. It can be caused by going too high, too fast.

The problem is, everyone's body has a different rate of acclimating, so it's important to be aware of any changes you feel. The most widely felt symptom is a headache, but other symptoms include shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, marked fatigue and weakness. If you experience any of these, just follow the simple guidelines below and let others know you're not feeling 100 percent. Symptoms often improve once your body adapts to the higher elevation, but you need to be patient — and most importantly, keep hydrated and take it easy.

• Drink plenty of water; replenishing fluids helps to stabilize your body.
• Take it easy; don’t over-exert yourself.
• Experts recommend eating a high carbohydrate diet while at altitude.
• Keep alcohol intake and smoking to a minimum.
• Remember that altitude sickness can affect anybody, even top-flight athletes.
• Most importantly: if you're not feeling well, let someone know.

LEAVE NO TRACE

Colorado has the great fortune of having these 58 majestic fourteeners right in our backyard. But every year, an increasing number of hikers and climbers attempt to ascend one of these peaks, impacting the alpine environment. It is up to those who love these mountains to minimize damage to their fragile ecosystems. The Leave No Trace (LNT) program is dedicated to building awareness, appreciation, and most of all, respect for our public recreation places. It is not based on rules and regulations as much as attitude and awareness.

Please be sure to follow the Leave No Trace principles so that future generations can continue to enjoy Colorado's breathtaking mountains:

• Rest on rocks, not on vegetation.
• Leave what you find, including flowers and berries.
• Pack out all food; don't throw it on the ground.
• Conduct bathroom stops at least 200 feet from bodies of water.
• Pack out toilet paper in plastic bags.
• Stay on designated trails and don't cut across switchbacks.
• Walk through puddles on the trail, not around them, to avoid creating wider or multiple trails.
• Spread out when walking in areas where there is no trail.
• Avoid loose rock debris covering a slope; use the most stable route.

Colorado Fourteeners Initiative began inventorying 14er summit trails in 2011 to help answer a few related questions about the long-term sustainability of Colorado’s 14er summit trail network:

What are the conditions of the planned 14er summit and approach trails built since CFI’s inception in 1994 that reflect an investment of many millions of dollars, as well as those of the many unplanned 14er trails that hikers have literally trampled into the high-altitude tundra?

How are the conditions of both planned and unplanned trails changing as more people climb the 14ers each year and the forces of nature continue to erode these built features?

What are the highest priorities for building out the 14er summit trail network by constructing new, planned summit routes and reconstructing existing trails that are not fully hardened?

Over three field seasons, Ben Hanus, now CFI’s Field Programs Manager, hiked 42 summit trails while conducting detailed, foot-by-foot, GPS-based baseline inventories noting the condition of existing constructed trail features, the extent of natural resource problems, and the complexity of performing needed trail improvements.

The result is a GIS database containing more than 20,350 data points regarding 10 different factors, from on-the-ground issues such as the extent of erosion and trail widening, to the amount and accessibility of natural rock source needed to improve these wilderness trails.

The result is CFI’s first Colorado 14ers Report Card, which ranks the condition of 42 existing 14er trails — both planned and unplanned.

  1. Together, CFI has estimated that bringing all of these trails up to ideal, long-term sustainable conditions will cost at least $24 million — $6 million to improve 26 Forest Service-planned routes and $18 million to build 16 new planned trails where only user-created routes exist today.
  2. A further 16 routes remain to be inventoried.
  3. Some trails travel several miles from trailhead to summit, while others are short approach trails that end at the start of more technical climbing. Since each route covers unique high-alpine terrain with different rock, soil, and vegetation types, they offer unique challenges. 
  4. Front Range: The five Front Range 14ers closest to Denver (Mounts Bierstadt and Evans, and Grays, Torreys, and Quandary Peaks), which together see about 100,000 annual hiker use days, are projected to take more than $6.3 million to bring to long-term sustainable conditions. Peak-specific report cards show the relative conditions of these trails, as well as the costs to fully harden the trails.

Front Range 14ers Overview

Mount Bierstadt (Guanella Pass route)

Mount Evans (Chicago Lakes and Guanella Pass routes)

Grays and Torreys Peaks (Stevens Gulch route)

Quandary Peak (East Slopes and Blue Lakes routes)

Elk Mountains: The Elk Mountains near Aspen contain some of Colorado’s most challenging 14er routes. The CFI-built trails tend to be short and among the highest-rated in the state since they only serve as approach routes that transport climbers through fragile alpine tundra zones to the harder scrambling on rock above. The estimate to bring inventoried routes up to ideal conditions is $1.5 million, almost all of which involves reconstructing the route on Snowmass Mountain (F grade), which CFI plans to begin in 2019.

Elk Mountains 14ers Overview

Capitol Peak

North Maroon Peak

Pyramid Peak

Snowmass Mountain

Sawatch and Mosquito Ranges: These 14ers are close enough to climb in a day from the Denver metro area, but do not receive quite as much use as the Front Range peaks. Nevertheless, trail impacts can be quite severe on specific routes. Here are grades for a few representative peaks. Significant resources have been devoted to Mount of the Holy Cross in recent years, while Mount Elbert’s three routes –including two that are graded F– need $3.6 million to repair, make this the most expensive 14er in the state.

Mount of the Holy Cross

Mount Massive

Mount Elbert

San Juan Mountains: The 13 peaks of the San Juan Mountains are the most distant 14ers, receive the lightest amount of hiker traffic, yet are in the worst condition of the five major ranges with an average grade of D+. The trails in Chicago Basin are among the better maintained in the state, but higher-use 14ers such as Uncompahgre and Sneffels have significant work remaining. Here are a few peak-specific report cards:

Mount Sneffels

Uncompahgre Peak

Windom and Sunlight Peaks

Because the baseline trail condition inventories were collected using GPS-based information, CFI is able to show the trail conditions in more lifelike ways using Google Earth flyover videos. Here are examples that show the range of conditions on three disparate peaks:

Capitol Peak: The short 14er-specific trail from Capitol Lake to the Capitol-Daly saddle is short and in fair condition (B) due to a sustainably designed route that has seen frequent attention and receives little hiking use. Bringing this trail up to long-term sustainable condition is estimated to cost under $125,000. Watch the Capitol Peak Google Earth flyover video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWn9Owmh4zs

Mount Lindsey: This longer trail was never planned and, as a result, is overly steep and heavily eroded. Despite receiving modest hiking use, it is in poor condition (D-) and in need of a full reconstruction. Bringing this trail up to long-term sustainable condition is estimated to cost between $1 million and $2 million. Watch the Mount Lindsey Google Earth flyover video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dnu1zQFR-jY

Mount Bierstadt: The Bierstadt summit trail is in very poor condition (F) due to the confluence of several problems: exceptionally high use (estimated at 35,000-40,000 hiker use days annually — the highest in the state), the fact that almost the entire trail covers vegetated slopes and is prone to becoming wet and muddy, and the almost total lack of native rock source with which to harden the trail.

Despite a projected six seasons of major trail reconstruction work, CFI estimates that a further $3.3 million is required to sufficiently build out this trail. Watch the Mount Bierstadt Google Earth flyover video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1ZuDIgsjTE

Additional peak-specific report cards for inventoried routes in the Elk Mountains, Sawatch Range, San Juan Mountains, and Sangre de Cristo Range will be posted over the coming week.

CFI plans to continue assessing the changing conditions and amount of hiking use on the 14er summit and approach trails through the Sustainable Trails program.

  • Fletcher Peak is a 13,951 ft peak

    https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=11766

  • Quandry Peak view from Fletcher

  • Incredible Access!

...breathtaking in more than one way!

Here are the 58 different unique 14,000 ft + peaks!

The most difficult to  scale are at the top and the drivable peaks are at the bottom...below this list is the set of 500+ 13'ers in order of their difficulty!
 Avg.
Rank     
Peak / Route
       
 ROUTES   Mountain Name ELEV. Mountain Range
1 Grays Peak  14,270’ 
9
Front 
2 Torreys Peak  14,267’ 
11
Front 
3 Mt. Evans  14,264’ 
14
Front 
4 Longs Peak  14,255’ 
15
Front 
5 Pikes Peak  14,110’ 
30
Front 
6 Mt. Bierstadt  14,060’ 
38
Front 
1 Quandary Peak  14,265’ 
13
Tenmile 
1 Mt. Lincoln  14,286’ 
8
Mosquito 
2 Mt. Cameron  14,238’    Mosquito 
3 Mt. Bross  14,172’ 
22
Mosquito 
4 Mt. Democrat  14,148’ 
28
Mosquito 
5 Mt. Sherman  14,036’ 
45
Mosquito 
1 Mt. Elbert  14,433’ 
1
Sawatch 
2 Mt. Massive  14,421’ 
2
Sawatch 
3 Mt. Harvard  14,420’ 
3
Sawatch 
4 La Plata Peak  14,336’ 
5
Sawatch 
5 Mt. Antero  14,269’ 
10
Sawatch 
6 Mt. Shavano  14,229’ 
17
Sawatch 
7 Mt. Belford  14,197’ 
18
Sawatch 
8 Mt. Princeton  14,197’ 
20
Sawatch 
9 Mt. Yale  14,196’ 
21
Sawatch 
10 Tabeguache Peak  14,155’ 
25
Sawatch 
11 Mt. Oxford  14,153’ 
26
Sawatch 
12 Mt. Columbia  14,073’ 
35
Sawatch 
13 Missouri Mountain  14,067’ 
36
Sawatch 
14 Mt. of the Holy Cross  14,005’ 
51
Sawatch 
15 Huron Peak  14,003’ 
52
Sawatch 
1 Castle Peak  14,265’ 
12
Elk 
2 Maroon Peak  14,156’ 
24
Elk 
3 Capitol Peak  14,130’ 
29
Elk 
4 Snowmass Mountain  14,092’ 
31
Elk 
5 Conundrum Peak  14,060’    Elk 
6 Pyramid Peak  14,018’ 
47
Elk 
7 North Maroon Peak  14,014’    Elk 
1 Uncompahgre Peak  14,309’ 
6
San Juan 
2 Mt. Wilson  14,246’ 
16
San Juan 
3 El Diente Peak  14,159’    San Juan 
4 Mt. Sneffels  14,150’ 
27
San Juan 
5 Mt. Eolus  14,083’ 
32
San Juan 
6 Windom Peak  14,082’ 
33
San Juan 
7 Sunlight Peak  14,059’ 
39
San Juan 
8 Handies Peak  14,048’ 
40
San Juan 
9 North Eolus  14,039’    San Juan 
10 Redcloud Peak  14,034’ 
46
San Juan 
11 Wilson Peak  14,017’ 
48
San Juan 
12 Wetterhorn Peak  14,015’ 
49
San Juan 
13 San Luis Peak  14,014’ 
50
San Juan 
14 Sunshine Peak  14,001’ 
53
San Juan 
1 Blanca Peak  14,345’ 
4
Sangres 
2 Crestone Peak  14,294’ 
7
Sangres 
3 Crestone Needle  14,197’ 
19
Sangres 
4 Kit Carson Peak  14,165’ 
23
Sangres 
5 Challenger Point  14,081’ 
34
Sangres 
6 Humboldt Peak  14,064’ 
37
Sangres 
7 Culebra Peak  14,047’ 
41
Sangres 
8 Mt. Lindsey  14,042’ 
43
Sangres 
9 Ellingwood Point  14,042’ 
42
Sangres 
10 Little Bear Peak  14,037’ 
44
Sangres 


Criteria used to generate this list
Climbing Difficulty The difficulty, amount and duration of the route's most difficult climbing moves.
Terrain Stability:  Loose rock often increases the difficulty.
Exposure Exposure (along the immediate route) that causes careful and concentrated climbing.
Trail?:  A trail obviously makes a route easier.
Elevation Gain The total elevation gain required to summit and return to the TH.
Distance:  The roundtrip mileage to complete the route.

If 14er's are to big try a modest 13er!

Color Key:

 Most Difficult   RED
 Difficult          YELLOW
 Moderate        Black
 Easiest            Black

 

14er Photos

Feb. 23, 2018

14er Report Card from an independent and reliable source

Colorado Fourteeners Initiative began inventorying 14er summit trails in 2011 to help answer a few related questions about the long-term sustainability of Colorado’s 14er summit trail network:

What are the conditions of the planned 14er summit and approach trails built since CFI’s inception in 1994 that reflect an investment of many millions of dollars, as well as those of the many unplanned 14er trails that hikers have literally trampled into the high-altitude tundra?

How are the conditions of both planned and unplanned trails changing as more people climb the 14ers each year and the forces of nature continue to erode these built features?

What are the highest priorities for building out the 14er summit trail network by constructing new, planned summit routes and reconstructing existing trails that are not fully hardened?

Over three field seasons, Ben Hanus, now CFI’s Field Programs Manager, hiked 42 summit trails while conducting detailed, foot-by-foot, GPS-based baseline inventories noting the condition of existing constructed trail features, the extent of natural resource problems, and the complexity of performing needed trail improvements.

The result is a GIS database containing more than 20,350 data points regarding 10 different factors, from on-the-ground issues such as the extent of erosion and trail widening, to the amount and accessibility of natural rock source needed to improve these wilderness trails.

The result is CFI’s first Colorado 14ers Report Card, which ranks the condition of 42 existing 14er trails — both planned and unplanned.

Together, CFI has estimated that bringing all of these trails up to ideal, long-term sustainable conditions will cost at least $24 million — $6 million to improve 26 Forest Service-planned routes and $18 million to build 16 new planned trails where only user-created routes exist today.

A further 16 routes remain to be inventoried.

Some trails travel several miles from trailhead to summit, while others are short approach trails that end at the start of more technical climbing. Since each route covers unique high-alpine terrain with different rock, soil, and vegetation types, they offer unique challenges.

Download the full Colorado 14ers Statewide Report Card and Press Release.

Front Range: The five Front Range 14ers closest to Denver (Mounts Bierstadt and Evans, and Grays, Torreys, and Quandary Peaks), which together see about 100,000 annual hiker use days, are projected to take more than $6.3 million to bring to long-term sustainable conditions. Peak-specific report cards show the relative conditions of these trails, as well as the costs to fully harden the trails.


Front Range 14ers Overview
Mount Bierstadt (Guanella Pass route)
Mount Evans (Chicago Lakes and Guanella Pass routes)
Grays and Torreys Peaks (Stevens Gulch route)
Quandary Peak (East Slopes and Blue Lakes routes)

Elk Mountains: The Elk Mountains near Aspen contain some of Colorado’s most challenging 14er routes. The CFI-built trails tend to be short and among the highest-rated in the state since they only serve as approach routes that transport climbers through fragile alpine tundra zones to the harder scrambling on rock above. The estimate to bring inventoried routes up to ideal conditions is $1.5 million, almost all of which involves reconstructing the route on Snowmass Mountain (F grade), which CFI plans to begin in 2019.

Elk Mountains 14ers Overview
Capitol Peak
North Maroon Peak
Pyramid Peak
Snowmass Mountain

Sawatch and Mosquito Ranges: These 14ers are close enough to climb in a day from the Denver metro area, but do not receive quite as much use as the Front Range peaks. Nevertheless, trail impacts can be quite severe on specific routes. Here are grades for a few representative peaks. Significant resources have been devoted to Mount of the Holy Cross in recent years, while Mount Elbert’s three routes –including two that are graded F– need $3.6 million to repair, make this the most expensive 14er in the state.

Mount of the Holy Cross
Mount Massive
Mount Elbert

San Juan Mountains: The 13 peaks of the San Juan Mountains are the most distant 14ers, receive the lightest amount of hiker traffic, yet are in the worst condition of the five major ranges with an average grade of D+. The trails in Chicago Basin are among the better maintained in the state, but higher-use 14ers such as Uncompahgre and Sneffels have significant work remaining. Here are a few peak-specific report cards:

Mount Sneffels
Uncompahgre Peak
Windom and Sunlight Peaks

Because the baseline trail condition inventories were collected using GPS-based information, CFI is able to show the trail conditions in more lifelike ways using Google Earth flyover videos. Here are examples that show the range of conditions on three disparate peaks:

Capitol Peak: The short 14er-specific trail from Capitol Lake to the Capitol-Daly saddle is short and in fair condition (B) due to a sustainably designed route that has seen frequent attention and receives little hiking use. Bringing this trail up to long-term sustainable condition is estimated to cost under $125,000. Watch the Capitol Peak Google Earth flyover video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWn9Owmh4zs

Mount Lindsey: This longer trail was never planned and, as a result, is overly steep and heavily eroded. Despite receiving modest hiking use, it is in poor condition (D-) and in need of a full reconstruction. Bringing this trail up to long-term sustainable condition is estimated to cost between $1 million and $2 million. Watch the Mount Lindsey Google Earth flyover video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dnu1zQFR-jY

Mount Bierstadt: The Bierstadt summit trail is in very poor condition (F) due to the confluence of several problems: exceptionally high use (estimated at 35,000-40,000 hiker use days annually — the highest in the state), the fact that almost the entire trail covers vegetated slopes and is prone to becoming wet and muddy, and the almost total lack of native rock source with which to harden the trail.

Despite a projected six seasons of major trail reconstruction work, CFI estimates that a further $3.3 million is required to sufficiently build out this trail. Watch the Mount Bierstadt Google Earth flyover video.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1ZuDIgsjTE

Additional peak-specific report cards for inventoried routes in the Elk Mountains, Sawatch Range, San Juan Mountains, and Sangre de Cristo Range will be posted over the coming week.

CFI plans to continue assessing the changing conditions and amount of hiking use on the 14er summit and approach trails through the Sustainable Trails program.

Apr. 4, 2018

Incredible both size and numbers!

Each route contains detailed directions, maps, satellite imagery, elevation profile, and photos taken during an ascent.

The mission of our news letter is to provide access to information, photos, routes and an active forum, all in an open environment that's easy to use.

Ours is about providing information to anyone interested in Colorado's high peaks.