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The Easiest 14ers in Colorado for 2024

If you’re a climber who’s always dreamed of scaling 14,000-ft peaks in the alpine wonderland of Colorado, check out these easiest 14ers in the state.


Just because they’re labeled “easy” doesn’t mean these climbs are insignificant — summiting any 14er is a challenging task and a momentous accomplishment!


Take a look to see which mountain you’d like to climb first. 





The Easiest 14ers in Colorado Today 


Option 1: Mt. Sherman


Mt. Sherman, with a height of 14,028 ft, has the lowest elevation of any mountain on this list.


This is a popular Colorado 14er to climb with three possible routes, all of which are moderate difficulty.


The first option is Southwest Ridge, which has a total elevation gain of 2,100 ft and a round-trip distance of 5.25 miles.


The second choice, West Slopes, is 4.5 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 2,150 ft and a round-trip The hardest route is the snowy 8.5-mile South Slope path, which has an elevation gain of 3,100 ft.


Option 2: Pikes Peak

Make your way up Pikes Peak, a 14,115-ft classic Colorado mountain, via either Barr Trail or Crags Trail.


Barr Trail is 13 miles one way with a 7,400-ft elevation gain from the mountain’s base at Manitou Springs to its peak. The hike is doable in one day and typically takes between 6-10 hours to complete.


Dogs are permitted on this trail. Crags Trail, a 13.6-mile hike, is another great option. It has less elevation gain than Barr Trail and offers beautiful views of the Continental Divide and Colorado forest. 


Option 3: Quandary Peak


Quandary Peak is 14,265 feet at its highest elevation, making it a rewarding climb. The Quandary Peak trail is 6.75 miles roundtrip with a total elevation gain of 3,450 feet. The climb is easy without many dangerous drop-offs, but keep in mind that there are always risks involved with climbing, so use caution on your uphill climb and downward descent. 


As you approach the summit, the incline becomes very steep as the trail climbs about 1100 ft. over the final 0.8 mile.


Be prepared for a difficult final section of the climb as you traverse rocky terrain.


When you reach the top, soak in magnificent views of surrounding 14ers, including Mt. Bross and Mt. Lincoln to the south and Pacific Peak and Crystal Peak to the north. 

Keep in mind that Colorado mountains are prone to lightning strikes in summer, and direct hits are typically deadly.


Weather conditions can worsen quickly, so start your hike early in the morning to be off the summit by noon and back in the valley in the early afternoon.


Should lightning begin nearby, get off high points and ridges and avoid any nearby water or metal objects. 


Visit the Hike Quandary website for more information about Quandary Peak shuttle and parking.


Option 4: Gray’s Peak


Gray’s Peak, with an impressive height of 14,278 feet, is the ninth-highest peak in Colorado, the highest point on the North American divide and the tallest mountain visible from the Great Plains.


The easiest path to take up the mountain, the tenth-highest summit in the Rocky Mountains, is from Stephens Gulch Trailhead.

Whichever path you choose, be on the lookout for mountain goats roaming the hillsides. 


June, July and August are the best months to climb Gray’s Peak because there is little snow, and weekdays are the best to avoid crowds. As with Quandary Peak, plan to be off the summit before noon so you minimize the risk of encountering stormy weather. 


Option 5: Mt. Elbert 

The 14,440-ft Mount Elbert towers above the Colorado landscape, challenging hikers to brave the 9.5-mile roundtrip climb. Mount Elbert, the top peak in the Sawatch Range, soars above the San Isabel Forest as the highest 14er in Colorado and the highest in the Rocky Mountains overall.


There are three primary routes up Mount Elbert — Northeast Ridge, East Ridge and Southeast Ridge — but the most common route up the mountain is the Northeast Ridge path. 


The hike up and back down Northeast Ridge includes about 4,700 feet in elevation gain and takes roughly seven hours to complete.


Mount Elbert is busiest between June and September; in winter, there is the possibility of avalanches so check weather conditions before heading up the mountain.

See the USDA Forest Service website for more information about summiting Mount Elbert. 


What Gear Do You Need for a 14er? 

Some of the key gear you’ll need for a 14er includes a hat and gloves, a fleece jacket and a waterproof shell/jacket to stay warm.


Bring along some nylon shorts, climbing pants and hiking boots as well as a sturdy pack where you can store belongings on your climb.


Sunglasses are helpful during the day and a headlamp will light your way at early dawn or dusk hours.


Make sure to also have a compass and GPS to navigate safely. 





The Bottom Line: Easiest 14ers in Colorado 

These five peaks are the easiest 14ers in Colorado, and each offers a truly rewarding climb to the top.


As you plan your next Colorado trip, consider which of these mountains you want to scale first and make sure you bring the right gear along so you can make it up to the summit safely.


When you reach the top, savor the joy of standing over 14,000 feet above sea level as you take in spectacular panoramic views.

 

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