A 14er or "Fourteener" is a mountain that exceeds 14,000 feet of elevation. Colorado has 58 named 14ers, collectively known as the Colorado 14ers. That's the most of any state in the United States! California has 12, Washington has 2 and that includes Mt. Rainier. Then there's Alaska, which has the mighty Denali at 20,310 feet and nearly another 30 peaks/points above 14,000 feet.
For decades, outdoor enthusiasts have been climbing Colorado's 14ers and there are a few thousand people who have climbed all of them. This is no small feat. For some it takes many years to climb them all, requiring many trips to remote portions of Colorado. And for some it can be done in less than a year if they are able to dedicate enough time.
Many of the Colorado 14ers have hiking trails but few have a trail to the actual summit. That means hikers are traveling through fragile high-alpine ecosystems. The U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Fourteeners Initiative (CFI), and other organizations work to maintain the trails to provide a more sustainable way for hikers to travel. The sole mission of the CFI non-profit is to protect and preserve the natural integrity of the 14ers through trail maintainence and public education. Without organizations like the CFI, our 14ers would likely be a mess of broken, dangerous trails.
You don't have to be a mountaineer to see a Colorado 14er, in many parts of the state they are in plain site! If you're anywhere near Denver, you can see Mount Blue Sky, Longs Peak and a few others. From Colorado Springs, you can see "America's Mountain," Pikes Peak. Then, you'll have to get a bit further into the Rockies.
|Scenic Byways||The Colorado Scenic Byways is a collection of 26 roadways that zigzag through historic sites and scenic areas across the state. We've included ones where you can see 14ers or even drive to the summit:|
||One of the most popular drives for visitors to the Front Range area is Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park. It's paved and takes you to an elevation over 12,000 feet as it passes between the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake.||Longs Peak|
|The Mt. Evans Scenic Byway climbs over 7,000 feet in its 28-mile length. It's the highest paved road in North America! It's generally only open between Memorial Day and Labor Day and daily closures may occur due to inclimate weather and snow. Yes, snow, even in summer. Driving up Mt. Blue Sky requires a reservation/fee which can be purchased at Recreation.gov||Mount Blue Sky|
|The paved Guanella Pass Scenic Byway starts off of Interstate 70 in Georgetown and climbs to timberline, taking in spectacular views of Mount Bierstadt. It descends another 12 miles south to reach Grant, on U.S. 285. This is a popular pass in summer but closed in winter a few miles from the top of the pass, on both the Georgetown and Grant sides.||Mount Bierstadt|
||If you're headed to the Lake City area, check out the paved Silver Thread over Slumgullion Pass. If you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle with good clearance and looking for a longer, more scenic adventure, the Alpine Loop is worth the time.||Uncompahgre, Sunshine, Redcloud and Handies Peaks.|
||If you're visiting the southwest part of Colorado, the San Juan Skyway is a must-see. This 235 mile loop takes you through old mining towns, spectacular scenery, and over incredible mountain passes.||Mount Sneffles, Wilson Peak, Mount Wilson, El Diente Peak|
||The Los Caminos Antiguos byway starts in Alamosa and gives you a beautiful tour of Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve with dramatic views of the surrounding 14ers.||Blanca Peak, Little Bear Peak, Ellingwood Point, The Crestone Peaks, Kit Carson Peak|
|Pikes Peak Highway||Pikes Peak and Mount Evans are the only 14ers with a road to the summit. The Pikes Peak Highway is open throughout the year but not always all the way to the summit. The drive requires a ticket/fee so check the road status prior to your visit to make sure you can drive all the way to the summit. The paved and scenic Pikes Peak Highway provides you the opportunity to enjoy 19 miles of mountain terrain, with frequent pull-offs, and possible Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep sightings.||Pikes Peak|
|Summit County||Whether you're visiting Summit County in summer or for a ski trip in winter, you'll likely see some 14ers. From the Lake Dillon area, Grays and Torreys Peaks can be seen to the east. And if you drive east of Breckenridge, on Highway 9, you can see the mightly Quandary Peak from the Guanella Pass area.||Grays Peak, Torreys Peak, Quandary Peak|
|Aspen||Aspen is a beautiful town tucked against rugged mountains, offering some of the best resort skiing in Colorado. The scenery and historic town are worth the drive south from Glenwood Springs. If you visit in summer, be sure to book a bus ride to Maroon Lake to see the infamous Maroon Bells. You won't be disappointed.||The Maroon Bells:
Maroon Peak, North Maroon Peak
|Fairplay-Alma||Fairly close to the Front Range, take a drive up U.S. 285 to reach South Park, a high, flat basin in the center of the state. Driving through South Park, you'll reach Fairplay where you have views of 14er Mt. Sherman. From Fairplay, take Highway 9 north to Alma and up to 11,999-foot Hoosier Pass where you'll find spectacular views of Mt. Lincoln and Mt. Bross. To make a loop back to Denver, continue on 9 past Quandary Peak and to Breckenridge. From there you can continue to I-70 and east back to the Denver area.||Mounts Sherman, Lincoln, Bross, Democrat, Cameron|
|Leadville, Buena Vista, Salida||Even further into the Rockies, take U.S. 24 south from I-70, at Copper Mountain ski resort. Drive over Freemont Pass and down to historic Leadville where you'll see Colorado's two highest peaks, Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive. The 14er views don't end there - continue south on 24 to see 14er after 14er, in the order you see to the right.||Mounts Massive, Elbert, Oxford, Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Princeton, Antero, Shavano|
|Ridgeway||Far away from the Front Range is the San Juan Mountains, a large mountain range containing 14 14ers. Most of these peaks are hidden from roads with the exception of Mt. Sneffels. Sneffels is a prominent peak that can be seen from U.S. 550 between Montrose and Ridgeway. Turn west at Ridgeway and follow Highway 62 to Dallas Divide (a gentle mountain pass) and you'll get the best views of Sneffels.||Mount Sneffels|
|Westcliffe||If you want to see rugged 14ers, Westcliffe is worth every bit of the gas cost. 14er and other peak views from here are simply spectacular since the Sange de Cristo Range abruptly rises over 7,000 feet above the surrounding terrain. If you make it to Westcliffe, be sure to drive 10-15 miles further south on Highway 69 to get the full view of Humboldt Peak and Crestone Needle.||Humboldt Peak, The Crestone Peaks, Kit Carson Peak|
|Ski Resorts||If you're visiting Colorado for a ski trip, you can see 14ers from the tops of many ski areas. The Summit County ski areas have views of Grays and Torreys, Quandary and others. From the top of Vail you have an excellent view of Mount of the Holy Cross. From Aspen resorts you can see The Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak. From the top of Crested Butte, you can see Castle Peak and Conundrum Peak.
Down south, the Purgatory Resort, near Durango, provides views of the elusive Chicago Basin 14ers. From Telluride, you can see the Wilson group of 14ers, which includes the "Coors-can" Wilson Peak.