For those more extreme hiking enthusiasts, it is 14er season! The weather is warm, the snow and ice are (hopefully) melted at the top of the mountains, and the famous Colorado 14ers are calling our names!
For those who are unfamiliar with the term / phrase 14er, an explanation is due. In short, a 14er is a Colorado hike where the summit or peak of the trail is above 14,000 feet.
Typically, there will be a very big elevation gain from the bottom to the summit, and the feeling of conquering the great Colorado mountains attracts many hiking enthusiasts from around the globe.
However, these hikes are not for the beginner hiker. Generally speaking, 14ers are extremely taxing on the body, in some cases require some technical knowledge, and take a long time to complete.
Having said this, our creekside cabins in Colorado are conveniently located near an abundance of many great 14ers, which is why we wanted to bring them to the surface.
If you are an experienced hiker in the Evergreen area or visiting us from a different location, here are our top 5 14ers near our creekside cabins in Colorado.
1/2. Creekside Cabins in Colorado 14er – Gray’s & Torrey’s Peak
Gray’s and Torrey’s Peak is the only Colorado 14er where you get 2 for 1! That is, most hikers are able to summit the two peaks on the same day, as they are located right next to each other.
When going up the main trail head, Torrey’s Peak is the peak on the right hand side, and Gray’s Peak is on the left hand side.
From the parking lot, this 14er is about 8.1 miles long with an elevation gain of about 3,600 feet.
Gray’s and Torrey’s Peak is located about a 1 hour drive from our creekside cabins in Colorado.
3. Creekside Cabins in Colorado 14er – Mount Bierstadt
Located fairly close to Gray’s and Torrey’s Peak, Mount Bierstadt is one of the easier 14ers in Colorado, and features some beautiful scenery along the way.
On your way to the top, enjoy the the sights of Frozen Lake, and at the top of Abyss Lake and potentially some mountain goats!
Mount Bierstadt is around 7 miles up and back with an elevation gain of roughly 2,730 feet.
This 14er is located about 1 hour away from our creekside cabins in Colorado along the beautiful Guanella Pass Road.
4. Creekside Cabins in Colorado 14er – Mount Evans and Mount Spalding Loop
Located in Mount Evans Wilderness, the Mount Evans and Mount Spalding Loop Trail is another easier 14er for advanced hikers that want to try one for the first time.
On this loop, you will summit both Mount Evans (above 14,000 feet) and Mount Spalding (just under 14,000 feet), so almost another 2 for 1 like Gray’s and Torrey’s.
From this 14er, you will also get stunning views of Summit Lake, which is tucked right between Mount Evans and Mount Spalding.
The total hiking distance for this 14er is about 4.2 miles with an elevation gain of just under 1,800 feet, again making it an easier 14er suited for first timers.
Also, if you don’t want to hike all the way to the top, you can also try the Mount Evans Summit Trail, where you drive nearly all the way to the top but then are able to check out the views from the top without the hike.
Whichever you chose, this trailhead is about 1 hour away from our Colorado cabins.
In our opinion, however, the view is more worth it if you hike to the top on foot!
5. Creekside Cabins in Colorado 14er – Quandary Peak
Last but certainly not least, Quandary Peak Trail makes our top 5 list for 14ers near our creekside cabins in Colorado.
Located about 1.5 hours from our cabins, Quandary Peak is a 6.6 mile 14er with an elevation gain of approximately 3,400 feet.
Quandary Peak is known for frequent mountain goat sightings and gorgeous mountain views throughout the duration of the hike, so you don’t want to miss this one!
General 14er Tips
While 14ers are a great time if you do them correctly, it is important to keep in mind that 14ers are not your typical hike.
Many of the more difficult 14ers (none of which were mentioned here) have taken human lives, so keep in mind that especially with 14ers you are hiking at your own risk.
In order to minimize risk on any 14er trail, we recommend following these general guidelines that we have developed from our own experience:
1. Don’t Go Unless You Really Want To
This may sound basic, but 14ers are truly a more involved challenge, and unless you are really determined to do it in the first place, you should just stick with safer, more normal hikes.
2. Leave Super Early
When hiking 14ers, it is imperative that you hit the trail as soon as possible in the morning to avoid afternoon thunderstorms and wind. From experience, the last thing you want to do is be stuck in a thunderstorm high up in the mountains.
Give yourself plenty of time, much more than you think you need, so that you return safely before any adverse weather conditions may begin.
In some cases, that means starting as early as 2-3 AM, but again, this is much safer than being caught in a storm.
3. Check the Weather
Going off the last point, we highly recommend completing 14ers when it is sunny and clear outside.
By doing so, you will reduce the chance of getting caught in any type of storm or dangerous weather conditions and you will also stay much warmer.
If you see any type of rain, snow, wind, sleet, or hail predicted on the forecast, pick another day to do your 14er.
The last important note to mention is to come prepared with more than you think you need.
Water, food, jackets, sunscreen, and shoe spikes are all critical to bring with you to make sure your body is fueled up and protected at the higher elevations.
Even on sunny days, bring a warm jacket because in the snap of a finger the hike can get very cold and windy. It is also important to consider that it is already a lot cooler on these hikes due to the elevation.
For those who don’t know, shoe spikes are metal strappings that you can put around your hiking boots in the event of snow and ice. Near the tops of the mountains, even in the summer time, there is oftentimes snow and ice present. Therefore, having good shoe spikes will help prevent slipping and falling down the mountain.
In conclusion, 14ers are a great, fun activity to try as a more experienced hiker living or visiting Colorado.
The wildlife, nature, views, and sense of accomplishment make conquering the summits of these 14ers or others a venture you will remember forever.
The 14ers listed in this article are easier 14ers that are located near our cabins in Colorado. However, the state of Colorado has a total of 58 14ers.
For a more comprehensive look at all Colorado 14ers, feel free to visit this web page, as we only scratched the surface here today!
However, it is important to consider that 14ers are not ordinary hikes, and that being prepared, leaving early, and checking the weather are crucial components to completing the hikes safely.