The Colorado Front Range 14ers: A Guide
Ready to climb some Front Range 14ers and enjoy these spectacular summit views? My Guide has everything you need to plan your next hike or climb, including route guides, safety info, and Leave No Trace tips. Get started below and click a peak to see its route in detail.
Discover the Colorado Front Range 14ers: Your Ultimate Guide
Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the Front Range 14ers – six awe-inspiring peaks that pierce the Colorado skyline. Whether you are a seasoned alpinist or a novice hiker, our guide will provide you with essential insights about these monumental peaks. From their histories to the trails that lead to their summits, prepare for a journey like no other into the heart of the Rockies.
Getting to Know the Six Colorado Front Range 14ers
The term “14er” refers to mountains that reach an elevation of at least 14,000 feet. The Front Range 14ers consist of six such peaks – Pikes Peak, Mount Evans, Mount Bierstadt, Grays Peak, Torreys Peak, and Longs Peak. These towering mountains, part of the Southern Rocky Mountains, offer a thrilling challenge to hikers and climbers around the world.
Longs Peak, the northernmost and tallest of the Front Range 14ers, stands at a formidable 14,259 feet. Known for its challenging Keyhole Route, this mountain is not for the faint-hearted. Its steep cliffs and unpredictable weather add to its difficulty level, making it a favorite among experienced hikers and climbers – but not a good first choice.
At 14,115 feet, Pikes Peak is a Front Range 14er that is as historically significant as it is grand. Known as “America’s Mountain,” it was the inspiration behind “America the Beautiful.” Besides its rich history, Pikes Peak is also easily accessible, with a cog railway and an auto road leading to the summit, making it a perfect starting point for beginners.
Grays Peak is one of two twin peaks just west of Frisco, Colorado – the other is Torreys Peak. Named after an early botanist who explored the region, it is one of the easiest and most popular 14ers near Denver and the Front Range metro area. You will need a 4WD vehicle to make it to the upper trailhead, or you will need to add several extra miles to the trek.
Located less than a mile from the summit of Grays Peak rises its twin, Torreys Peak. Also named after a famous botanist, it is slightly more difficult than its easier twin summit. Most people choose to climb them both in one day, as it only adds an extra 1-2 miles to the overall distance. It’s a great way to bag two 14ers in a single day.
Mount Evans is the closest 14er to Denver, looming nearly 9,000 feet above the city and great plains below. The standard route to the summit starts from Summit Lake – but a road to the summit means you can also drive to the top if you don’t have time or the ability to do it as a hike. The peak is in the process of being re-named to Mount Blue Sky.
Mount Bierstadt is named after Albert Bierstadt, a famous artist who first climbed the peak and painted it – one of the first significant paintings of the region. The route starts from Guanella Pass, crossing through Willows before climbing the gradual west slope of Bierstadt. The peak is also climbed frequently in winter as it has very limited avalanche risk.
Gearing Up for the Front Range 14ers
Tackling the Front Range 14ers requires rigorous preparation, a high fitness level, and a profound respect for nature. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your journey.
Training and Fitness
Training is a crucial aspect of a successful hike up the Front Range 14ers. It’s recommended to start with lower elevations and gradually work your way up. Building up your stamina and getting used to the altitude will go a long way in ensuring a successful and enjoyable hike.
If you don’t exercise regularly, you might want to consider doing some cardio workouts to improve your stamina. Walking, hiking, jogging, swimming, and biking are all good ways to improve your cardiovascular health and fitness.
Hiking and Climbing Gear
Good gear is not just a convenience; it’s a necessity. A sturdy pair of hiking boots, a reliable backpack, weather-appropriate clothing, ample water, and high-energy snacks are just a few essentials. Don’t forget your map, compass, and first-aid kit! Check out my complete 14er packing list to make sure you don’t forget anything.
Safety Tips for the Front Range 14ers
Checking the weather forecast and understanding the signs of altitude sickness is crucial before embarking on your hike. Keep an eye out for headaches, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and confusion. Never hesitate to turn back if conditions become unsafe or if you’re feeling unwell.
Remember, your safety is paramount – the mountains will always be there for another day.
Leave No Trace and Protect the Peaks
Preserving the natural beauty of the Front Range 14ers is a responsibility we all share. Adhere to the principles of Leave No Trace, which include disposing of waste properly, leaving what you find, respecting wildlife, and being considerate of other visitors in the outdoors. Learn more.
Looking for more information about the Front Range 14ers and other peaks across Colorado? Here are some additional resources, websites, and articles to check out.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
A: There are six mountains in the Colorado Front Range that reach an elevation of at least 14,000 feet, hence earning the title of “14ers”. These are Pikes Peak, Mount Evans, Mount Bierstadt, Grays Peak, Torreys Peak, and Longs Peak. Each of these Front Range 14ers offers a unique hiking experience and stunning views.
A: The Front Range is a mountain range of the Southern Rocky Mountains of North America, located in the central part of the state of Colorado, and southeastern Wyoming. It is home to a series of peaks that include six mountains over 14,000 feet, known as the Front Range 14ers. These mountains include Pikes Peak, Mount Evans, Mount Bierstadt, Grays Peak, Torreys Peak, and Longs Peak.
A: The term “Front Range” is rooted in the area’s history and geography. For settlers moving westward in the 19th century, these mountains were often the first range they would encounter in Colorado, forming the “front” of the Rocky Mountains. The Front Range serves as a prominent landmark and divider between the Great Plains to the east and the Rocky Mountain region to the west.
A: Mount Bierstadt is often considered one of the easiest 14ers in the Front Range, making it a popular choice for beginners. Its trail is well-maintained, relatively short, and not as steep compared to other 14ers. However, “easiest” is a relative term when it comes to 14ers. Even the less difficult peaks require a good fitness level, adequate preparation, and respect for the altitude and weather conditions.
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