Climbing a fourteener is a popular Colorado bucket list item and summer is the perfect time to cross this item off of your list. Climbing a fourteener is not easy. You should expect 8 to 12 hours of hiking and be acclimated to the elevation and also carry some common sense to the mountain. That said, we compiled some fourteeners that are a bit more beginner-friendly.
- Grays Peak: This 8 mile round-trip hike has an elevation gain of 3,000 feet and hits a maximum elevation of 14,270 feet. The solid, gentle trail makes it good for beginners.
- Torreys Peak: Neighbors to Grays Peak, Torreys Peak is also an 8 mile round-trip hike with a maximum elevation of 14,267 feet. Torreys is a short, gentle climb with little eposure.
- Quandary Peak: Its proximity to Denver and Breckenridge make this fourteener a popular mountain during the summer. The trail is well-marked and takes climbers on a relatively tame ascent. The trip is 7 miles round-trip with a 3,450 feet elevation gain. Maximum elevation is 14,265 feet.
- Mount Bierstadt: Bierstadt offers hikes a mostly-gently climb, although several sections are steep. With a 2,850 feet elevation gain, this trail is 7 miles round-trip and hits a maximum elevation of 14,060 feet.
- Mount Elbert: Mount Elbert is the highest peak in Colorado, at 14,433 feet, with stunning views of Leadville and Turquoise Lake. The trip is 9 miles round-trip and has an elevation gain of 4,700 feet.
Now that you have some options to choose from, it’s time to share some key tips before you start your adventure.
- Start early! The biggest reason for an early start is the weather. Afternoon thunderstorms are common at elevation, and the storms move quickly, which means lightning is a big issue.
- Wear layers. When rain, wind and temperature drops are common, layering is the best option. Start with a moisture-wicking shirt with a long-sleeve layer to protect your arms. Be sure to keep a fleece layer, along with a down or synthetic jacket, and a rain and wind shell, in your backpack.
- Don’t forget about food and water! Bring 1 to 3 quarts of water for your hike and keep extra water in your car for when you return. When it comes to food, pack granola bars, beef jerky, fruit, your favorite salty foods and gels. Be sure to pack a more substantial meal with protein and fat for the summit.
- Tell someone your plan. Make sure you tell someone when you are leaving, if you are camping, when and where you are hiking, and when you plan to return.
After you tackle one of these fourteeners, stop by one of our locations for some R&R! And, tag us in a picture on Instagram. If a fourteener is not on your bucket list but you still want to hike, check out our previous blog with some can’t miss summer hikes!