What's a 14er?

WHAT ARE 14ERS?

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.

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 ALTITUDES

While climbing up a fourteener can lead you to breathtaking views, the thinner air can lead to Mountain sickness


 


 

Altitude sickness or Mountain 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.


 

Crowd Expectations

Leave  No Trace

This is a simplistic grouping of peaks.

Just because a peak is in a less-crowded group, you may still feel crowded due to route difficulty or terrain features.

Little Bear Peak is a good example:

Climbers often feel the route is crowded when there are more than just a few people climbing in the crux area.

Generally, if a route is rated Class 3 or more difficult, it is best to climb on off-peak days when there will be less climbers.

Currently, Longs Peak is the only Class 3-rated peak (Keyhole route) that frequently has hundreds of climbers on summer weekends.

It should also be noted that there are is no "official" list kept of how many people climb each of the 14ers.



Large Crowds

Grays Peak
Mt. Bierstadt
Quandary Peak
Torreys Peak
Mt. Democrat
Mt. Lincoln
Mt. Elbert
Mt. Bross
Mt. Cameron
Mt. Sherman
Mt. Evans
Pikes Peak
Longs Peak
Mt. Belford



Moderate Crowds

Huron Peak
Mt. Massive
Mt. Yale
Mt. Shavano
La Plata Peak
Mt. Princeton
Mt. Oxford
Mt. of the Holy Cross
Mt. Harvard
Missouri Mountain
Tabeguache Peak
Mt. Antero
Handies Peak
Redcloud Peak
Humboldt Peak


 Small Crowds

Mt. Columbia
Uncompahgre Peak
Sunshine Peak
Mt. Sneffels
Castle Peak
Wetterhorn Peak
Blanca Peak
Challenger Point
Mt. Lindsey
San Luis Peak
Kit Carson Peak
Crestone Needle
Conundrum Peak
Crestone Peak
Ellingwood Point



Not Usually Crowded

Windom Peak
Sunlight Peak
Pyramid Peak
Snowmass Mountain
Maroon Peak
Mt. Eolus
Capitol Peak
Wilson Peak
Little Bear Peak
North Maroon Peak
Mt. Wilson
Culebra Peak
El Diente Peak
North Eolus

 



 

 

We can drive to these peaks!

Front  Guanella Pass  Mt. Bierstadt, Mt. Evans
Front  Longs Peak  Longs Peak
Front  Loveland Pass  Torreys Peak, Grays Peak
Front  Manitou Springs  Pikes Peak
San Juan  Cross Mountain  Mt. Wilson, Wilson Peak, El Diente Peak
San Juan  Needleton  Mt. Eolus, Windom Peak, Sunlight Peak, North Eolus
San Juan  Purgatory  Mt. Eolus, Windom Peak, Sunlight Peak, North Eolus
San Juan  Vallecito  Mt. Eolus, Windom Peak, Sunlight Peak, North Eolus
Sawatch  Avalanche  Mt. Yale
Sawatch  Denny Creek  Mt. Yale
Sawatch  Fish Hatchery 
     
Sawatch  La Plata Peak  La Plata Peak

Maroon Lake

Mountain  Range and Link  Peaks to see
Elk             Maroon Lake  Pyramid Peak, Maroon Peak, North Maroon Peak

Echo Lake

Front  Echo Lake  Mt. Evans, Mt. Bierstadt

Echo Lake Trailhead

BillMiddlebrook

Location: Front Range

39.65666° N, -105.5968° W
14ers: Mt. Evans, Mt. Bierstadt
Road:  0 (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD paved road to the trailhead.
Directions: Take Exit 240 at Idaho Springs on Interstate 70.

Drive south on Colorado 103 for 13.5 miles at Echo Lake. You can park near the lake (by the picnic area) or drive up to the Echo Lake Lodge and park in one of the parking lots near the entrance to the Mt. Evans road (Colorado 5).


Winter: Open year-round.

Elk Park

 

Front  Elk Park 

Pikes Peak

 

Elk Park Trailhead

BillMiddlebrook

Location: Front Range
14ers: Pikes Peak
Road:  0 (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2wd paved to the TH
Directions: From the intersection of I-25 and Highway 24 in Colorado Springs, head west on Highway 24 for 9.4 miles.

Take a left at the stoplight for Fountain Avenue (an above road sign will indicate the turn for the Pikes Peak Highway). Go 0.4 miles down Fountain Avenue and take a left onto the Pikes Peak Highway.

A sign over the road will say Pikes Peak Highway. Stay on this road for .8 mile where you will reach the toll gate.

The cost is $10 per adult, $5 per child (6-15) with a $35 max per car. From the gate drive 12.3 miles and look for a gate on the left side of the road just after passing treeline. Park near this gate. This is the old access gate to the top of the old Pikes Peak ski area.


Winter: Weather permitting 9 am to 3 pm. Call the Pikes Peak highway for updates on road status. 719-385-7325.

Evans Peak and Summit Lake

Evans/Summit Lake

Bill Middlebrook

Location: Front Range

39.59882° N, -105.64039° W
14ers: Mt. Evans, Mt. Bierstadt
Road:  0 (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD paved to the TH.
Directions: Take Exit 240 at Idaho Springs on Interstate 70. Drive south on Colorado 103 for 13.5 miles to Echo Lake. Pay the entrance fee and drive 9 miles up the Mt. Evans road (Colorado 5) to the Summit Lake parking area.
Winter: Closed at Echo Lake Lodge.

Front Range Evans & Summit Lake Mt. Evans, Mt. Bierstadt

Grouse Canyon Trail

Grouse Canyon

BillMiddlebrook

Location: Sawatch Range
14ers: Mt. Princeton
Road:  0 (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD paved to the TH.
Directions: From U.S. 285 south of Buena Vista, take Colorado 162 towards the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. Continue about 10 miles and turn right onto Country Road 292. Drive less than 1/2 mile and turn right onto another road. The trailhead is a few hundred feet up the road.
Winter: Usually open year-round.

Sawatch  Grouse Canyon  Mt. Princeton