Fourteen 14ers Loved by Colorado

Colorado has more than 50 mountain peaks above 14,000 feet. These 14 are the most loved, appreciated, revered and feared.

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1. Crestone Needle | 14,197 feet – Sangre de Cristo Range

You’ll never forget the drive into Crestone. The Sangre de Cristos absolutely loom over the San Luis Valley. It’s one of the most beautiful mountain vistas in Colorado. The Crestone Needle lies at the heart of this jumble of steep peaks – one of the state’s most coveted summits for climbing. The most famous route is the Ellingwood Arete, a class 5.7, grade III technical climb highlighted in the 1979 book Fifty Classic Climbs of North America. The real climb starts at the idyllic South Colony Lakes, which also is an excellent basecamp and fishing spot.


2. Wilson Peak | 14,017 feet – San Juan Range

The highest point in San Miguel County, but significantly shorter than nearby Mount Wilson, Wilson Peak was named after A.D. Wilson, one of America’s best-known 1800s mountaineers and geographers. Wilson first came to the area with the U.S. government survey led by Ferdinand V. Hayden.

Often photographed in snow above golden bands of Aspen trees, stunning Wilson Peak has played a prominent role in Rocky Mountain advertising, its image used extensively by Coors Brewing Co. and Jeep in their television advertising campaigns. If any Colorado peak is a film star, this is it.


3. Mount Evans | 14,264 feet – Front Range

Yes, you can drive to the top of a 14er. From Idaho Springs, the 14-mile road to the summit of Mount Evans was completed in 1927 as a tourist attraction to compete with the Pikes Peak road. Today it’s known as the highest paved road in America. Mount Evans also garners attention as the closest 14er to Denver, so you’ll enjoy plenty of company on the summit in summer.

According to geologists, Mount Evans formed 1.7 billion years ago as granite pushed up through metamorphic rocks. The peak grew again twice – 300 million years ago and 65 million years ago. Today the peak is a massive weathered bulk so large it creates its own, often violent, weather systems that travel toward Denver and the eastern plains.


4. North Maroon Peak | 14,014 feet – Elk Range

Giving Pikes Peak a run for its money in the 14er popularity contest, the Maroon Bells near Aspen are perhaps the most photographed mountains in Colorado. From Maroon Lake, a U-shaped valley frames the pyramid summits of Maroon and North Maroon Peaks perfectly. The view stuns people.

The climbing route up North Maroon Peak stuns people too. The route offers steep, loose, dangerous terrain, leading to the nickname the “Deadly Bells.” The Maroon Bells are Colorado’s deadliest mountains, including a streak of misfortune in 1965 that saw eight climbers die in one year. The peaks continue to average one climber death a year. Watch your step!


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