I’m a Colorado local here to guide you to the easiest 14ers in Colorado, But first, let’s get one thing straight: none of the Colorado 14ers are “easy” hikes, just relatively easier. Climbing any of these mountains is a strenuous undertaking — it’s both a physical and mental challenge!
Before you arrive at any 14er trailhead, build endurance and do your research. Check recent trip reports and weather predictions, pack the essentials, and pick a beginner-friendly trail.
All of the peaks listed in this guide are Class 1 or Class 2 climbs. Class 1 climbs are standard walking routes, while Class 2 climbs may involve some exposure, loose rock, and scrambling. My guide also shares the distance and elevation gain of each mountain, and I give tips to help support a successful summit.
Table of Contents
- 21 Easiest Colorado 14ers
- Mount Bierstadt
- Grays Peak
- Torreys Peak
- Quandary Peak
- Mount Sherman
- Mount Elbert
- Handies Peak
- Huron Peak
- Mount Blue Sky (aka “Mount Evans”)
- Pikes Peak
- Mount Antero
- Culebra Peak
- San Luis Peak
- Redcloud Peak
- Humboldt Peak
- Mt. Shavano & Tabeguache Peak
- Mount Princeton
- Uncompahgre Peak
- La Plata Peak
- Mount Massive
- Mount Lincoln, Mount Bross, & Mount Democrat
- FAQs About Easiest Colorado 14ers
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21 Easiest Colorado 14ers
Elevation: 14,065 ft
Mt. Bierstadt is not only widely considered the easiest 14er in Colorado to hike, but it’s also one of the easiest 14ers to get to from the Denver metro area. It’s only about 60-90 minutes away from the Front Range, with a paved road and designated parking.
The trail itself is 7 miles round-trip with a 2,850-foot elevation gain, which is fairly low for a 14er. Most of it is well-marked, until the end when you’ll be hiking over some rocky terrain to get to the summit.
This is an extremely popular trail. You’ll want to go on a weekday and get there very early (before 6 am) to ensure you have parking and aren’t waiting in line to hike to the top. A free permit, available at the trailhead, is required to climb.
👉 My Favorite Gear: Trekking poles are a huge help, taking pressure off your knees and helping to navigate rocky terrain!
Elevation: 14,278 ft
Grays Peak is under 90 minutes from Denver and the Front Range. It’s easily accessible, though there is a dirt road at the end so it’s helpful to have a high-clearance vehicle.
The hike from the Grays Peak trailhead is relatively gentle with a 3,000-foot elevation gain. Grays Peak is commonly paired with Torreys Peak, meaning a first-timer could bag two peaks their first time out!
Again, due to its proximity to Denver, this is an extremely popular hike and you’ll want to be on the trail early.
📚 Related Reading: Hiking Essentials Checklist (26 Things to Pack on a Hike)
Elevation: 14,267 ft
Hikers often pair Grays and Torreys Peaks together. Once you’ve hiked Grays, it’s just a matter of crossing a short, wide saddle to the top of Torreys Peak. The biggest challenge of this hike is finding parking and avoiding crowds, so try to go on a weekday and get there by 5 am.
Elevation: 14,271 ft
Quandary Peak is near Breckenridge, so you might want to check out where to stay in Breckenridge to make things easier in the morning. The hike climbs 3,450 feet in elevation and is another very popular hike. In fact, it was the most-climbed 14er in 2020. Most hikers opt for the East Ridge, which is a fairly straight slog with a broad ridgeline.
👉 My Favorite Gear: Sunscreen at these elevations is a must!
Elevation: 14,043 ft
Mt. Sherman is a good first-time 14er. It’s usually the one my sons’ Boy Scout troop does. If they can wrangle a group of 13-year-old boys to the top, it has to be fairly straightforward!
The road to the trailhead is dirt, and you’ll want a high-clearance vehicle if you don’t want to add distance to your route. Sherman is near Leadville, where you’ll find plenty of places to stay before your hike.
Elevation: 14,439 ft
Mount Elbert is considered one of the easiest 14ers in Colorado because there’s not much exposure. The trail is simple to follow, without much rock scrambling or route finding. However, with a 4,700-foot elevation gain, it’s still a grueling 9.5-mile hike!
There are several routes to the summit, but beginners should stick to either the South Mt. Elbert Trail or the North (Main) Mt. Elbert Trail. When you’re done, you can brag you’ve climbed the highest peak in Colorado!
Elevation: 14,058 ft
Handies Peak is known for being one of the prettiest and easiest 14ers in Colorado! It’s in the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado. Book one of several places to stay in Silverton or Lake City to get an early start.
📚 Related Reading: Halfway to Heaven is a reporter’s account of trying to hike all of Colorado’s 14ers as a middle-aged dad. It’s funny, but also has some interesting info and stories about each peak.
Elevation: 14,012 ft
Huron Peak is near Buena Vista and is a beautiful trail. It’s best hiked in late spring or summer — peak season for hiking 14ers. You will want a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get to the trailhead. The hike is 6.5 miles round-trip and has a 3,500-foot elevation gain.
Mount Blue Sky (aka “Mount Evans”)
Elevation: 14,265 ft
Mount Blue Sky is the new name of the peak formerly known as Mount Evans, per an official name change made in September, 2023.
Technically, I suppose you could drive to a parking spot at the top of Mount Blue Sky, walk a few feet to the sign, and claim you summited!
However, to really gain your bragging rights, begin at the Summit Lake parking area. The hike from Summit Lake to the top of Mount Blue Sky is 5.5 miles round trip with a 2,000-foot elevation gain. You’ll also summit a 13er on this hike, the 13,842-foot Mount Spalding.
Elevation: 14,115 ft
Like Mount Mount Blue Sky, you can drive to the top of Pikes Peak. But if you’d like to do things the challenging way, the trail is 13 miles one way, which gains 7,400 feet in elevation. Many hikers break this up into two days, with a stop at Barr Camp where they’ll feed you dinner and breakfast to get you fueled for the summit.
Elevation: 14,275 ft
Antero is a 7-mile hike with 2,400 feet of elevation gain. It’s a fairly rocky trail to the summit. The largest aquamarine in Colorado was found on this mountain. While there are prospecting caves and rock-hunting opportunities, there are a lot of claims. You can get in plenty of trouble if you grab rocks from someone else’s claim.
👉 My Favorite Gear: If you want to document your epic trip up the mountain, this GoPro is a great option!
Elevation: 14,049 ft
Culebra is on land owned by the Cielo Vista Ranch. The ranch allows people to hike here for a considerable fee, but this cuts down on crowds. There’s no defined trail to the summit here, and you’re surrounded by beautiful scenery as you find your way to the top.
San Luis Peak
Elevation: 14,022 ft
Creede is the nearest town to San Luis Peak, but this is a hard 14er to reach! It will take about 2 hours once you’re off the paved road to make your way to the trail and you definitely want a 4-wheel drive. The hike itself is a pretty simple climb, and you’ll cover 12.6 miles and 3,454 feet of elevation.
Elevation: 14,041 ft
Redcloud Peak is considered one of the easier 14ers, although some hikers combine it with the 14,013-foot Sunshine Peak for a more challenging day. This is also an interesting hike, thanks to the red rocks that give the peak its name.
Elevation: 14,070 ft
You’ll want a four-wheel drive vehicle for this hike, or you’ll need to hike quite a few extra miles from the 2WD lot. The hike from the 4WD lot is 10.7 miles round trip, with an elevation gain of 4,222 feet. Technically, it is an easier hike without much exposure, trail-finding, or screen, but it is a long, grueling journey uphill.
Mt. Shavano & Tabeguache Peak
Elevation: 14,162 ft
Many climbers summit Mount Shavano and continue on to Tabaguache Peak from there. The trail is uphill and there are lots of rocks, but it’s easy to follow. The mountains are near Salida, and you’ll want a four-wheel drive vehicle to get to the trailhead.
Elevation: 14,196 ft
The hike up Mount Princeton is seven miles long with a 3,339-foot elevation gain. It’s a popular, scenic mountain with lovely views. To get an early start, you’ll want to stay in Buena Vista or Nathrop the night before. After your hike, consider soaking at Mount Princeton Hot Springs, one of the best hot springs in Colorado!
⚠️ Warning: The drive to the Mt. Princeton Towers, where many hikes start, is rocky with high exposure. You must have a 4WD vehicle and experience driving in the backcountry. Otherwise, start from the lower lot, but note this adds distance to your trip.
Elevation: 14,308 ft
Found in the San Juan Range, Uncompahgre is best hiked in late spring or summer. You’ll follow Nellie Creek for a good way, and also get great views of the surrounding Colorado mountains. You’ll need to climb one of two chutes up a cliff to continue following the trail, so it’s best to try this peak after you have some experience climbing other 14ers.
La Plata Peak
Elevation: 14,360 ft
La Plata is an 8.6-mile hike with a 4,350-foot elevation gain. The hike is near Leadville and accessed from Independence Pass, one of the best Colorado road trips. You’ll need to watch for rock cairns to follow the trail to the top.
Elevation: 14,429 ft
The hike to the summit of Massive is a 13.1-mile trail that gains 4,537 feet of elevation. The hike is near Twin Lakes and follows the Colorado Trail for a short time before heading toward the summit.
Mount Lincoln, Mount Bross, & Mount Democrat
Elevation: 14,295 ft
If you hike the Decalibron Loop, you’ll hit four peaks over 14,000 feet tall: Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln, and Bross. However, Mt. Cameron was demoted from being an “official” 14er a while back.
Don’t lead off with this hike, but once you’ve tried a few 14ers, it’s a good option. Be aware that descending Mt. Bross involves a lot of loose rock. To avoid this, hike the loop counter-clockwise.
FAQs About Easiest Colorado 14ers
Can a beginner hike a 14er?
A beginner can definitely hike a 14er. However, beginners shouldn’t just pull up to the trail and start walking. It’s helpful to research ahead of time to determine the best beginner Colorado 14ers and when to hike them. It’s also very helpful to do a few practice hikes to work up to the distance and elevation gain of a 14er.
As a beginner, it’s also a good idea to hike a 14er with someone who has done one before. In fact, it’s always smart to hike Colorado 14ers with someone else so you can watch each other for altitude sickness, go for help in case of injury, and for other safety reasons.
What is the easiest 14er to a summit in Colorado?
Quandary Peak is among the easiest 14ers to a summit in Colorado. It’s a Class 1 peak, which indicates a mountain with well-marked trails. There isn’t any rock scrambling, either. The hike is 6.75 miles long, one of the shortest for a Class 1 fourteener, and you’ll have a 3,450-foot elevation gain.
Hopefully, this article has helped you to determine the easiest 14ers in Colorado, and perhaps inspired you to hike one or two of them! It’s definitely an only-in-Colorado experience you’re sure to remember for a long time.
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