5 Colorado 14ers You Could Hike This Summer
Hiking to the top of a Colorado 14er isn't for everyone, but if you're a hiker up for a challenge, one of these hikes is a great place to start.
Colorado's 14ers are ranked by difficulty from 1 to 5, the most difficult and requiring technical climbing. Most hikers can do Class 1 or Class 2 ascents, but Class 3 and above require a particular level of skill and fitness.
Several of Colorado 14ers are classified as Class 1, meaning they are "easy" hikes that follow a good trail. Don't be fooled by the term "easy". When it comes to hiking a 14er, there's nothing easy about it. Some "easy" hikes are more challenging than others, and just because you have hiked in the Colorado National Monument doesn't mean you are necessarily ready for a 14ers. But, if you have done 3-4 mile hikes, regardless of their difficulty, chances are you could handle a 14er.
Anytime you are climbing, you're going to be using muscles that don't normally get that kind of use, so it's advisable to do some training and preparation before tackling a big hike. The amount of effort required on a particular hike will be determined both my distance and elevation gain.
If you think you are ready to take on a Colorado 14er and mark it off your bucket list, here are 5 hikes you could do this summer. You'll be rewarded with absolutely breath=-taking views from the top as you gaze over the Colorado Rocky Mountains - and a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
Handies Peak is located in the San Juans and is a good option for 14er rookies. The roundtrip distance is just under 6 miles, though with an elevation gain of 2500 feet you'll be enjoying a steady uphill climb to the summit at 14,408 feet. Your exposure risk and rockfall potential is very low. You could reasonably expect to easily complete this hike in under 4 hours.
There are several different routes to the summit of Gray's, but the northern slope route is rated Class 1. This isn't rated as a difficult hike, but it's a long hike with a substantial elevation gain of 3000 feet. Roundtrip distance is going to be 8 miles, and it's going to be a steady uphill climb on a good trail. The hike time for an average hiker will be 4 1/2 to 6 hours.
You'll find Gray's peak by taking the Bakersfield exit off of Interstate 70.
Quandary Peak is one of the most popular hikes in Colorado. It's not an extremely long hike - 6.75 miles - but your elevation gain is 3,450. You'll start out hiking through an area of forest area before the trail rises above timberline. There's always potential to see some wildlife on this hike, including Colorado mountain goats.
You'll find the trailhead east of Breckenridge and quite possibly a full parking lot on summer weekends.
Yes, you could hike to the top of Colorado's highest mountain. Wouldn't that be a feather in your cap?
It's rated as a Class 1 hike, and you have a good trail to follow, but this one will be a challenge. The trail on the northeast ridge is 9.5 miles with an elevation gain of 4700 feet to the summit of 14, 433. Based on recorded user hike times, you could expect do this hike in about 4 hours - maybe 5.
The 9-mile roundtrip hike to the summit of Mt. Bross will take you to 14,172 feet, with an elevation gain of 2900 feet. Compared to some of the other Class 1 hikes, this seems to be one of the less difficult ones, though it's still going to take you about 4 hours to complete.
You'll find the trailhead south of Breckenridge and to the south of Quandary Peak.