Bag Your First 14er in Colorado


As you get into hiking you will see that there are all types of it. We started off hiking short distances, then got into longer distances, then added elevation and some overnight excursions. A lot of avid hikers then start seeing what kind of challenges come with hiking up. Colorado has 54 peaks that are noted 14,000 feet but some may argue that there are 58. Many challenge themselves to climb all 58, others just one to see what it feels like standing at 14,000'.

The next challenge is climbing Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in the contiguous 48 states. But back to this. What if your goal is to do one 14er. Which is the best for a beginner or first timer? We would highly suggest Mt. Democrat.

Hiking to the peak of Mt. Democrat

I should start with just because the height of the mountain is 14,000' or more, it doesn't mean that the hike has 14,000' in elevation gain. There is still a lot, but most start high up. This hike actually starts at around 12,000' which is a challenge in its own. You will definitely feel the altitude. If you can, stay the night in the area to acclimate.

When some hear that you start at 12,000' they will argue that you didn't actually climb a 14er, It isn't always about the distance or about how high you climbed. It is about making it to the top. At 12,000 feet you have 40% less oxygen and it decreases as you go up. Muscles don't work the same, lungs don't work the same and joints don't work the same. So even going from 12,000' to 14,000'+ is qualified enough to be a challenging hike. Some may just want to experience that altitude.

This hike is very much doable!

The hike starts at a large parking lot. Take some time here to gather your things and bring the necessities. Even though it is a short distance you still need water, snacks, hat, hiking poles for balance, chapstick and anything else you typically bring on a hike. Water and snacks will help if you start feeling a little off from the altitude.

The trail is very well maintained Even in the month of June it's still in great shape after the winter months.

The hike is beautiful and the first amazing view you get is half way up.

You will definitely hit snow, so be prepared and it's fun to take some time for snowball fights! At this point, you are also very close to the top.

When you reach the peak make sure to get that picture to show proof you made it. It's absolutely a great achievement. Plus the views you get are like none other.

If you are lucky enough, you will get to see some mountain goats! We got these two just chilling around the peak, checking out all the humans coming by.

If you have any questions about bagging your first 14er do not hesitate to ask. I had an incredible time and it made me add the rest to my bucketlist!

Let us know your favorite 14er in Colorado!

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We became full time RVers in 2016 to explore the US. Now roaming in a van we highlight hikes, road trip attractions and free camping.


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