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Fourteeners: Before It's Too Late!

Marissa D'Orazio's picture

Trailhead of Grays: View from the trail head of GraysTrailhead of Grays: View from the trail head of GraysASPEN, CO -The mornings in Aspen are getting frostier and the nights more crisp. This can only mean one thing, summer's on its way out and it's time to take full advantage of the last few warm weeks we've got left. Colorado, known primarily by its visitors for winter activities, is actually home to some of most exciting and enjoyable summers found across the United States. Agreeable, seventy-something temperatures and sunshine for days are paired with landscapes fit for the gods. Summer activities in Colorado give the winter classics a serious run for their money. Among the top contenders: whitewater rafting, mountain and road-biking and my personal favorite, hiking fourteeners! Not for the weak in spirit or strength, conquering these massive mountains leaves climbers with a true sense of accomplishment and self-reliance.

View from Gray's Peak: View of Gray's on the way to the Summit.View from Gray's Peak: View of Gray's on the way to the Summit.

A fourteener is a mountain that tops out above 14,000 ft. These peaks have a large significance in Colorado, because 53 of the 67 fourteeners in the contiguous United States, reside here. The Elk mountain range surrounding Aspen is home to seven classified fourteeners. Best of all, there's still time to summit them all before the winter winds hit! It's important to be well-prepared with enough water, power food and layers to enjoy the experience. These hikes are challenging, invigorating and yield impressive views. Remember to abide by the leave no trace standards, in order to help preserve the mountain environment we all respect and enjoy.

The hikes of the Elk mountain range vary in difficulty, length and height and include:

Castle Peak and Conundrum Peak: Castle is the highest peak in the Elk mountain range with neighboring Conundrum, just 1/2 mile away
Height: 14,265’, and 14,060'
Trip length: 13 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 4,600'
Difficulty: Class 2

Maroon Peak
Height:14,156’
Trip Length: 12 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 4,800'
Difficulty: Class 3

Capitol Peak
Height:14,130'
Trip Length: 17 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 5,300'
Difficulty: Class 4

Snowmass Mountain
Height:14,092’
Trip Length: 22 miles
Elevation gain: 5,800 ft
Difficulty: Class 3

Pyramid Peak
Height: 14,018'
Trip Length: 8 miles
Elevation gain: 4,500'
Difficulty: Class 4

North Maroon Peak
Height:14,156'
Trip Length: 12 miles
Elevation gain: 4,800'
Difficulty: Class 3

With summer coming to a close, its time to make moves and start checking these hikes off your to-do list. Remember to bring plenty of supplies, good company and your game face. Happy hiking!- Marissa D'Orazio

For more information, check out
Leave no trace: http://www.lnt.org/aboutUs/index.php
14ers: http://www.14ers.com/