If you’re new to Boulder or just new to hiking, you might be wondering what a 14er is and why there’s so much buzz about them. Simply put, a 14er is any peak with a summit above 14,000 feet. In order to be officially ranked, the peak must also rise at least 300 feet above the saddle of the nearest 14er. Our fair state is home to a whopping 54 official 14ers (or 58 if you include the unranked peaks).
Colorado’s 14ers offer a uniquely epic challenge that many hikers are eager to tackle. Physical exertion at high altitude? Check. Extreme terrain and unpredictable weather? Check. Unparalleled 360-degree views of the Rocky Mountains? Check and mate.
While some 14ers require technical skills and serious gear, many are simple walk-ups (Class 1 or 2) requiring little more than trail shoes and the will to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Here in Boulder, we’re fortunate to have several of these “beginner 14ers” within a 2-hour drive. So what’s holding you back from bagging your first 14,000-foot peak?
As the saying goes, if you can walk, you can hike. And if you can walk uphill for a really long time at altitude, then you can hike a 14er. Assuming you put in the training, of course. Luckily for us, Boulder is one of the best training grounds in the world. With 150 miles of trails and 5 summits right in town, you’ll be ready to go in no time. Read on for the Boulderite’s guide to hiking your first 14er.