The Top 14er’s to Hike.

posted in: Best Hike Lists | 0

Colorado has 54 official peaks that are 14,000 feet or higher, as well as some other peaks that are too close to other 14’ers to qualify themselves. The highest is Mt. Elbert at 14,433. Many of them can be summitted with a dayhike, but many of them require technical climbing ability and equipment. Some peaks are non-technical in mid-summer but technical the rest of the year.

Here is my list of  the best 14’ers to hike. None of these require technical climbing in mid-summer.


Long’s Peak: The 15th highest fourteener at 14,255 feet is also Colorado’s northernmost, and is one of the few high peaks that is East of the Continental Divide. This mountain is located within Rocky Mountain National Park and is accessed from a trailhead and tent campground off of the Peak to Peak Highway. The Keyhole route is the most popular hiking route to the summit, although there are other routes that are slightly more difficult but less crowded. If the 14 mile total length seems too much for a dayhike, you can backpack camp at the Boulderfield, which is an amazing experience in itself. If you choose to camp at the boulderfield, be sure to make your reservations months in advance.


Mt. Elbert: The highest point in Colorado, near Twin Lakes and Leadville, makes a perfect length dayhike of around 9 miles, with no real difficult sections. Ascend to the summit knowing you will be standing atop the highest piece of land  for over 500 miles in any direction. And on a clear day, you will know it from the views.


Mt. Bierstadt: This mountain near Georgetown is an easy drive up from Denver and an easy 7.4 mile dayhike. Ascend to 14,060 feet and watch the tourist cars crawl like ants to the top of Mt. Evans nearby. Check out my guide and GPS tracks here: Mt. Bierstatd GPS Tracks

Colorado’s Best Fall Color Hikes

posted in: Best Hike Lists | 0

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year to hike. The scenery is quite extraordinary. Maybe not quite as colorful as the east and midwest, but they don’t have the backdrop of high snowy peaks in the distance either. These are my picks for the top fall hikes.

Timing: Timing is critical for these hikes if you wish to see fall colors at their peak. Unfortunately there is no hard and fast guide because it is a little different every year. The Aspens will start changing at the highest elevations in late August. The peak is typically mid-September, and gets earlier as altitude rises.

Most Popular

Kenosha Pass: Every year, huge crowds assemble at Kenosha Pass near Fairplay, directly on route 285. And I have to agree, it truly is the best leaf peeping I’ve seen in Colorado. The area has become so overcrowded, however, that I rarely go there anymore. The crowds really ruin the atmosphere of the place. But if you can get there on a weekday, you definitely should!


Hell’s Hole Trail: Don’t let the name scare you, this is an amazing hike in the Mt. Evans Wilderness west of Idaho Springs. The high elevation means you better do this one early. Mid-September is usually the height of color for this one. There is plenty of colorful ground cover in addition to the Aspens, especially as you get near Tundra level. Hell’s Hole Trail Description


Wheat Ridge Greenbelt: The lower altitude of this trail system near Golden makes for great October sightseeing. It is also paved most of the way and suitable for road bikes and mountain bikes. My favorite place to start is the trailhead just past the the Youngfield WalMart, then head east along Clear Creek through park after park along the Greenbelt. Wheat Ridge Greenbelt Information

Snow and Avalanche Report

posted in: Winter | 0

Colorado maintains an Avalanche Information Center to ensure the safety of anyone who travels in the Colorado winter backcountry. If you don’t know how to read the avalanche report, you don’t belong in the backcountry! It’s that important to your life. There are avalanche awareness courses taught at REI stores and elsewhere that can teach you how to read the avalanche report and provide the basic information you need to make informed decisions in the backcountry.

List of every ski area in Colorado

posted in: Winter | 0

This is a list of every alpine ski area I know of in Colorado. I’m sure I’m missing quite a few of the backcountry sites so let me know and I’ll add them. Click on them to go to the area’s web site.

The dollar signs: indicate approximate relative cost of the commercial areas. Five $$$$$ is most expensive and one $ is least expensive. Of course the resorts with more $ sometimes have more to offer.

The numbers: represent the approximate driving time in hours from Denver, typically rounded UP to the nearest hour.

  Commercial Ski Areas / Resorts

Arapahoe Basin $$$ 1 Monarch $$$$ 4
Aspen-Snowmass $$$$$ 5 Powderhorn $$ 4
Beaver Creek $$$$$ 2Silverton Mountain $$$ 5
Breckenridge $$$$$ 2Ski Cooper $$ 2
Copper Mountain $$$$ 2Ski Granby Ranch $$$ 2
Crested Butte $$$$ 5Steamboat $$$$ 4
Durango/Purgatory $$$ 7Sunlight $$ 3
Echo Mountain $$ 1Telluride $$$$$ 7
Eldora Ski Area $$$ 1Winter Park $$$$ 1
Howelson Hill $ 4Wolf Creek $$$ 5
Keystone $$$$$ 1Vail $$$$$ 2
Loveland Ski Area $$$ 1

The major free and backcountry Areas

Berthoud Pass 1
Flattop Mountain (RMNP) *fee to enter park 2
Hidden Valley (RMNP) *fee to enter park 2
Loveland Pass 1
Ruby Hill Rail Yard 0
St. Mary’s Glacier (year-round) 1
Guanella Pass 1