Ascending Majestic Colorado “14ers”
The Centennial State is heralded by many for its truly majestic beauty. A large part of that magical scenery comes from the 58 mountain peaks (the most of any State) that exceed 14,000 feet. They are so amazing, in fact, that they are known as the “14ers.”
Whether a beginner or an expert, lovers of the Great Outdoors and those wishing to experience the excitement of a Colorado hike, can find peaks ranging from easy to highly difficult within the “14ers.” In addition, there are an abundance of trails that give people the ability to explore both the rugged terrain and wildlife that can only be found in “them thar hills.”
Some of the best-known “14ers” include the tallest that goes by the name of Mount Elbert. Pikes Peak is also among the group, which was the actual inspiration for “America the Beautiful.” But no matter which “14er” a hiker chooses, the grand reward is always the same: they will experience the most breathtaking views on Earth.
Mount Democrat in Ascending Majestic Colorado “14ers”
While each and every “14er” is incredibly scenic, some are certainly difficult to climb. After all, fields of boulders, high altitudes that make the head a bit faint, and miles of jagged rock and less than perfect terrain can make the ascension a true challenge. But if you’re looking for suggestions of the most popular “14ers” to tackle, lists have been created to make your selection process easier.
Being that the journey is just as important as the destination, there are various summits that offer thrills and instill amazing memories once you’ve taken that climb.
The most popular, although not the most difficult, is Mount Elbert. As previously stated, its 14,433 feet make it the “grandfather” of them all. It is Colorado’s highest ascension and a true gentle giant among the “rough and tumble” terrain. Easy access can be had to the mountain’s large, rounded dome; several trails lead you up Elbert and offer vanilla-scented air that permeates from the pine forests as you take the hike and emerge from the trees to gasp at the awesome views of the Sawatch Range.
Elbert even carries with it some fascinating facts. Named to honor Samuel Elbert, who served as the Governor of the Territory of Colorado from 1873 to 1874, the first hiker to reach the peak of Mount Elbert is on record as happening in 1874. Categorized as a Class 1 or 2 hike, the climbing trails available are not difficult compared to others. But don’t take that to mean it’s easy. After all, 4,400 feet of elevation must be made over 4.5 miles, but the paths remain well-maintained and will place you directly in the heart of the highest mountain range in the U.S.
Another popular, yet far harder “14er” to climb is Capitol Peak. At 14,130 feet, this is categorized as a Class 4. Challenging beyond belief, hikers take an 18-mile round trip over solid rock and tough terrain. Passing through gorgeous aspen forests that end at Capitol Lake, a steep pass leads to an incredible path to the summit. Making it even more enjoyable is the fact that once you experience the thrill of making it to the top, hikers still have the added thrill of making it back down.
For expansive views that include alpine grasslands, San Luis Peak is one “14er” that’s located in a remote section of the San Juan Mountains. This is most definitely a mountain to climb when looking for absolute peace and isolation from the outside world. From fields of wildflowers to babbling creeks, the summit is absent of almost all man made landmarks, making San Luis Peak feel as if you’ve entered a world that remains untouched.
If looking for the opposite of isolation, Longs Peak (14,255 feet) has grown to be the most popular challenging “14er” for climbers. This means the crowds are usually there, but this classic hike is one that experts all want to experience. After a quite lengthy 5.5 mile approach, a magical Keyhole rock feature is passed “through.” On the other side, it seems like the world completely changes. Leaving the fields behind, hikers scramble up steep inclines, traverse dark bands of rock, and usually end up crawling to the summit. And although this is a 14 mile round-trip, there are still many who attempt to ascend to the top of Longs Peak in one day.
The “14er,” Blanca Peak (14,345 feet) is a hike where the scenery is most definitely different. In fact, in order to climb, one must first traverse the sand dunes that sit at the foot of the mountain. A hiker goes through a variety of ecosystems, and end up enjoying everything from the desert tundra to lush forests. In other words, this is one where you’ll never get bored.
If you wish to add a fun railroad trip to your hike, Windom Peak (14,082 feet) is one of a trio of “14ers” that is most often accessed by utilizing the coal-powered train that runs along the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Midway through the adventure, hikers disembark into the goat-friendly San Juan Mountains. Windom is a steep climb. And although it’s easier than the ones standing on either side of it, the trip to the top is most definitely unique.
And those are just a few cool picks for the hiker who wishes to take up the challenge and explore those majestic mountains known as the Colorado “14ers.”
Quandary Peak, Video Trail of the Trail: Click Here
Quandary Peak Trail Photo One: Click Here
Mount Yale, a Video Trail of the Trail One: Click Here
Mount Yale, a Video Trail of the Trail Two: Click Here
Mount Yale, a Video Trail of the Trail Three: Click Here
Mount Yale, a Video Trail of the Trail Four: Click Here
Mount Yale, a Video Trail of the Trail Five: Click Here
Mount Yale, a Video Trail of the Trail Six: Click Here
Mount Yale Hike Photo Essay One: Click Here
Mount Yale Hike Photo Essay Two: Click Here
Mount Democrat Hike Video 1-1: Click Here
Mount Democrat Hike Video 1-2: Click Here
Mount Democrat Hike Video 1-3: Click Here
Mount Democrat Hike Video 1-4: Click Here
Hike to Pikes Peak Summit, video trail of trail One: Click Here
Hike to Pikes Peak Summit, video trail of trail, Two: Click Here
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