The Complete Guide to the Colorado 14ers
Scroll down to see all the Colorado 14ers arranged by sub-range, click the button below to view them by difficulty, or search for a specific peaks in Colorado that you are interested in climbing. Click here to view the California 14ers, including Mount Whitney and Mount Shasta
Reach Your Next Summit with Maps, Resources & Guides
Each of the 14ers in Colorado has one standard route, the most well-established and usually safest way up the mountain. While there are many routes (more than a dozen on some peaks), the Standard Route is the best place to get started for most beginners. Access all my route guides using my maps and menus below.
Explore the 14ers by Range!
Front Range 14ers
The six Front Range fourteeners are the closes to Denver – but that also means they are the busiest.
Sawatch Range 14ers
The Sawatch fourteeners are the tallest in the state, including Mount Elbert -the tallest in the Rockies.
The Tenmile-Mosquito Range is home to iconic places like Breckenridge and the Decalibron.
Sangre de Cristo 14ers
The 10 Sangre de Cristo 14ers loom above the San Luis Valley and Great Sand Dunes National Park.
San Juan Range 14ers
The rugged San Juan range is the largest in Colorado, home to some of the state’s most rugged 14ers.
Elk Mountains 14ers
The six Elk Mountain 14ers are the state’s most dangerous and difficult due to the rotten, loose rock.
San Juan Range 14ers
Elk Range 14ers
Sangre de Cristo Range 14ers
Climbing the 14ers in Colorado: What You Need To Know!
Each of my Colorado 14er route guides includes a topographical map and trailhead map, weather information, and a detailed description of the hike, scramble or climb. I also include helpful advice and links for first time fourteener climbers. My 14er route guides page is still a work in progress – thanks for your patience as I continue writing and uploading more 14er route guides to the website.
New to the Colorado fourteeners? There are 53, or 58 of these high, 14,000-foot peaks, depending on how you define them. Fifty-three peaks are both named and ranked, meaning they rise at least 300 feet above any neighboring peaks. However five additional peaks are officially named despite not meeting the 300 feet traditional rule. This brings the total for many people to 58.
Most of the 14ers in Colorado can be summited in a single day on a hike or scramble. However about 15 of the fourteeners require scrambling or climbing along exposed routes where falls are likely fatal. Anyone seeking to ascend these difficult peaks should start with some of the easier peaks and work their way up as they gain skill and experience. Most people take anywhere from 5-15 years to climb all of the fourteeners. Taking your time is likely a good idea. I’m here to support your with route guides, articles and advice to get started.
There are many risks while climbing even easy fourteeners. The weather on the 14ers in Colorado is variable with snow possible any month of the year. The summer is known for dangerous afternoon thunderstorms for those exposed above tree line. Altitude sickness can cause problems and trips and falls can lead to serious danger when temperatures plummet at night. Make sure you plan ahead and bring the right gear to stay safe while you are hiking and climbing the fourteeners. My 14er route guides include a bit of advice to stay safe and links to my Beginners Guide, resources and other articles to help get started.
Looking for more resources for climbing the 14ers in Colorado? Visit summitpost.com and 14ers.com for literally hundreds of Colorado guides. For 13er route guides, visit www.climb13ers.com/. There are also many great guide books available on Amazon or from retailers like REI or your local outdoor gear supplier.
How were the 14ers in Colorado Created?
The Colorado Rocky Mountain were created 80 million to 55 million years ago during the Laramide orogeny, a significant North American mountain-building period. As oceanic crust in the Pacific Ocean was pushed under the coast, it pushed up the land further inland, building a broad, high plateau reaching 20,000-25,000 feet in elevation. At the end of this period the region looked much like Tibet: a broad plateau with few peaks, as erosion had not had time to do its work yet
Over the past 55 million years, water and ice have eroded and removed the top 6,000-10,000 feet of rock, washing out the sentiment across the high plains. Glaciers carved the most rugged landforms, including most of the rocky summits of the 14ers in Colorado. While many people imagine these pointed peaks were pushed up into thee sky, it was very much the opposite: The 14ers in Colorado were created through subtraction as trillions of ton of rock, dirt, and soil were washed away, leaving behind the mountains we know and love.
There were once many 14ers in Colorado. However following millions of years of erosion there are only 58 that are officially named or ranked by the USGS. Erosion hasn’t stopped, so that number could potentially drop someday – especially as sea levels rise due to global climate change.
Where are the 14ers in Colorado Located?
These peaks are scattered throughout the state, including seven different sub-ranges of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Most of the 14ers are located on public land, usually national forest land. Just over half are located on Wilderness land, which has special guidelines in place regarding group size, campfires, pets, and other details. It is important to know what land you are on so you can follow proper guidelines during your hike or climb.
Several of the 14ers are privately ownd, either partially or completely. Most of these lands are old mining claims from the nineteenth century, passed down from generation to generation. However there is no active mining on any of the 14ers, with the exception of a small gem mine on the slopes of Mount Antero in the Sawatch Range.
Frequently Asked Questions
Read our Comprehensive 14er FAQ Guide. Our experts have provided more than 40 answers to common questions and concerns among those new to these high peaks.