13 Easiest 14ers In Colorado To Solo Hike
So you’re looking for the easiest 14ers in Colorado?
You’ve come to the right spot! With heaps of summits under my belt, I can confidently say that these are the easiest and best 14ers in Colorado to hike.
The 13 Easiest 14ers To Solo Hike In Colorado
There are 55 mountains spread over the entire state of Colorado that exceed 14,000 feet. These mountains, or “14ers” as they are typically called, are a fun feat to summit.
In this blog post you’ll find some of the safest 14ers to solo hike.
1. Quandary Peak
I summited Quandary Peak on a brisk winter day in February. Although I didn’t hike this mountain solo, the trail was so straightforward and easy that it could have been conquered alone.
As you begin your hike, preserve some energy for the elevation gain and steep inclines just below the summit. Apart from that, this hike is a standard route and you won’t encounter any sketchy slopes.
Depending upon the time of year, the trail ranges in length from 6.75 miles to 7.25 roundtrip. This is by far the best 14er to summit in the winter months and it’s even easier in the summer!
Pro tip: Always, always, ALWAYS bring enough clothes. It might be 80 degrees at the trailhead, but at the summit, it could drop to 30 degrees. Always carry a hat, gloves, windbreaker, and extra layer to put on at the summit.
Additionally, if you decide to hike Quandary Peak in the winter, bring a pair of snowshoes. You won’t need them past tree line but below treeline, you will be happy you brought them.
Located just south of Breckenridge, Quandary Peak is one of the closest 14ers to Denver in Colorado.
Use the map above to navigate to Quandary Peak.
2. Mount Democrat
A nice and easy 14er in Colorado and a member of the DeCaLiBron Loop, Mount Democrat is a great hike for people of all skill levels.
DeCaLiBron stands for Mount Democrat, Mount Cameron, Mount Lincoln, and Mount Bross.
All four 14ers are located just steps from the next, making it possible to summit four 14ers in one day. This is a simple hike for those in good shape and a great option if you’re a beginner. Just take some precautions on the loose rock near the summit.
If you decide to hike DeCaLiBron in the summer, you’ll share the trail with hundreds of other hikers, making it safe as a solo hiker.
If you decide to climb Mount Democrat without completing the rest of the DeCaLiBron group, then the entire hike will be about 4 miles roundtrip.
If you decide to complete the entire loop, you’re looking at a pretty long hike of approximately 7.25 miles roundtrip.
I started by summiting Democrat. After returning to the saddle, I then made my way to the summit of both Cameron and Lincoln on the right side. Next up is Mount Bross.
DeCaLiBron is located 2 hours west of Denver and 2 hours north-west of Colorado Springs. This is one of the closest 14ers to Denver and would make for an easy day trip hike.
3. Mount Cameron
Many hikers don’t consider this a true 14er since the saddles between the surrounding mountains aren’t low enough.
However, many people do count Mount Cameron as a true 14er.
Regardless if this is a “true” 14er or not, this is a really fun hike to conquer in Colorado and the views are incredible on a clear day.
If you decide to hike only to the top of Mount Cameron without summiting the other peaks, you’ll clock in at about 4.5 miles roundtrip.
Mount Cameron is part of DeCaLiBron. You’ll park in the same parking lot for this hike that you would for Mount Democrat, Mount Lincoln, and Mount Bross.
5. Mount Lincoln
The highest peak in the DeCaLiBron group is Mount Lincoln.
Be prepared to scale a narrow ridge to get from Mount Cameron to Mount Lincoln and back. Although this isn’t class 3 scrambling, be careful with your footing.
To the top of Mount Lincoln from the parking lot is approximately 5.5 miles. You’ll need to summit either Cameron or Bross first before reaching the peak of Lincoln.
Start this hike in the same parking lot as Mount Democrat and Mount Cameron.
6. Mount Bross
And last but not least, Mount Bross is the final 14er in the DeCaLiBron group. Standing at 14,177 feet, Mount Bross is typically the forgotten one of the four because it actually sits on private property.
Although many hikers ignore the signs, summiting this mountain without permission is technically illegal.
I’ve heard that many hikers have received fines for ascending to Mount Bross’ peak.
From the trailhead to the peak, you’ll clock in at about 3.5 miles and experience one of the easiest 14ers in Colorado.
Just south of Mount Democrat, Mount Cameron, and Mount Lincoln, you can start your hike to the top of Mount Bross from the same trailhead as the rest of the group.
7. Grays Peak
One of my favorite hikes so far is Grays Peak, it’s also one of the easiest hikes out of Colorado’s 14ers.
Although you’ll likely run into many other hikers on the trail, this is a trek you won’t want to miss. Stand on the summit of the continental divide and soak in the beauty of the surrounding Rockies.
Note: Driving up to the parking lot can be rough. I wouldn’t recommend attempting to reach the trailhead without a 4WD vehicle.
Endure the steady switchbacks for just over 3 miles. The entire trail (without summiting Torreys Peak) is approximately 7.2 miles roundtrip. – Make sure to bring plenty of water!
Grays and Torreys Peaks are located on the Front Range just two hours west of Denver. This is one of the easiest 14ers to reach for a day hike from the big city.
8. Torreys Peak
Meet Torreys Peak. This is Grays Peak’s twin sister. Those who summit Grays Peak typically tackle Torreys in the same day.
As mentioned above, be aware that this is a popular route. Finding solace on this mountain would be nearly impossible.
But the positive thing about the popularity of this trail is that there is always someone there to help if you need it. This is especially important if you are hiking solo.
Note: I had trouble with the weather on this hike. Be sure to start as early as possible (5am would be ideal) and use good judgment when storms approach. I descended in time but I was definitely pushing it.
As far as I know, there is only one way to reach the top of Torreys Peak and it requires you to summit Grays Peak first.
Be prepared for an 8.5 mile out-and-back trail. You’re going to have a long day ahead of you, so I recommend getting an early start – especially in winter when the sun sets earlier.
This Colorado 14er is located directly next to Grays Peak. You’ll park in the same parking lot for these twin mountains.
9. Mount Bierstadt
Another 14er I summited in the winter, Mount Bierstadt is one of the easiest mountains to climb in Colorado. The rocky trail is well-marked with steady switchbacks to the top.
I would NOT suggest attempting this mountain solo in the winter but it is a perfect solo hike in the summer. Also, summer is peak season for hiking, so if you encountered any difficulties, you’d be sure to find another friendly hiker to lend you a hand.
In the summer, the hike is around 7 miles roundtrip.
Since Guanella Pass is not plowed in the winter, the roundtrip hike for Bierstadt in the winter is anywhere from 12-14 miles.
Another Front Range Colorado 14er, this mountain is located just an hour and twenty minutes from Denver.
If you’re driving in from the city, this might be the easiest 14er to reach.
10. Handies Peak
On the other side of the state you’ll find Handies Peak, one of the best beginner 14ers to solo hike in Colorado.
This class 1 hiking trail is moderately steep, but well worth the effort. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the San Juans at the top.
Although this hike is considered easy, take note that the drive to get here won’t be. A 4×4 vehicle is strongly suggested because of the rough terrain.
The steep trek is approximately 5.5 miles in total.
Reaching the San Juan Range from Denver is not a piece of cake.
Pack your camping gear because this 6-hour drive would be impossible for a day hike from the big city.
Note: To reach Handies Peak from Silverton, Telluride, or Durango, you’ll need to go ALL the way around to Co-149 S unless you have a high clearance 4X4 vehicle.
11. Mount Evans
Did you know there are 14ers in Colorado that you can drive up? How easy is that?
Too easy for me!
While others drove, I continued to hike. This was an awesome hike because it felt like I truly earned it.
The loop trail that takes you to the top of Mount Evans is approximately 4 miles round trip. Stop at Echo Lake in the Mount Evans wilderness area for some beautiful photos of the surrounding peaks.
For an added bonus, summit Mount Bierstadt at the same time for a total of 11.5 miles.
Although Mount Evans and Mount Bierstadt are physically touching each other, they have separate trailheads.
Just 60 miles from Denver, it’ll take you approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes to reach the parking lot for Mount Evans.
12. Mount Elbert
Not only could you summit a 14er, but you could stand on the top of Colorado at the same time.
Confused? Let me explain.
Mount Elbert is the tallest mountain in Colorado and one of the easiest 14ers to solo hike. Being able to say you’ve reached the highest point in the Rocky Mountain state is pretty rad.
Hiking to the top and back of Mount Elbert is 9 miles long. This might seem like a long distance to hike, but the trail is moderate and it’s a great beginner’s peak.
Spend the night in Leadville before attempting to summit Mount Elbert. From Denver to the trailhead, you’re looking at 3 hours of driving.
13. Mount Sherman
You’ll find Mount Sherman in the Mosquito Range just south of the ski resort town of Breckenridge.
This mild hike won’t pose a threat to many hikers, but it is worth reaching the peak. You’ll love the scenic views of the surrounding mountain peaks from the top.
In addition to the spectacular views, prepare yourself for a crowd; this is a very popular hike and you won’t be the only one at the summit.
Mount Sherman is a short 5-mile 14er with a prominence of only 850 feet.
Just south of Quandary Peak and DeCaLiBron, Mount Sherman is located relatively close to Denver, too.
Read next: 11 Steamboat Springs Hiking Trails with the Most Rewarding Views
Easiest 14er in Colorado Close To Denver
The closest 14er to Denver and also one of the easiest 14ers in Colorado is Mount Bierstadt.
Being just 1 hour and 20 minutes from downtown Denver, Mount Bierstadt makes for the perfect day trip hiking adventure.
As with any tall mountain, it’s a good idea to start your hike early in the morning so that you can get back below the tree-line before bad weather rolls in.
If you choose to hike Mount Bierstadt, that will allow you to conquer a 14er without waking up at 2am in order to reach the trailhead.
Easiest 14er In Colorado During Winter
In my opinion, the easiest 14er to hike in Colorado during the winter was Quandary Peak.
Although this frequently changes, we didn’t have any issue with avalanches or deep snow. The trail was well-marked, even in the snow, and we were able to find the summit without a problem.
To read more about the best winter hikes in Colorado, check out our post: 6 Best Winter Hikes In Colorado.
Important Tip For Solo Hiking 14ers In Colorado
Before we dive in, let’s chat about something very important.
Even for avid hikers, I must say that hiking alone is NEVER a safe option.
Pro tip: You will rarely have phone signal when hiking out in the Colorado wolderness, so purchasing a satellite phone is a smart idea.
This is the satellite phone I recommend: BlueCosmo IsatPhone 2.
A very affordable option when it comes to satellite phones and it can totally save your life.
Weather is unpredictable and extreme conditions can happen in a blink of an eye in Colorado. If you insist on hiking any of the Colorado 14ers, I advise that you bring a satellite phone.
The Wrap-Up: Easiest 14ers in Colorado
These are the easiest 14ers to solo hike in Colorado. Summitting your first 14er is such a huge sense of accomplishment, you’ll feel like a mountain goat!
Please keep in mind, this blog is strictly based on my opinion. As a very experienced and avid hiker based out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, I understand the implications and dangers of solo hiking.
Please, ALWAYS take caution when attempting to solo hike. The weather conditions and temperatures can change very quickly at high altitude.
And if you’ve just arrived in Colorado, you should allow yourself a few days to acclimatize to the high elevations before hiking your first fourteener. This will help you avoid altitude sickness.
Lastly, many of the trailheads are only accessible by dirt roads. In many cases, especially in winter, you will need a four-wheel drive vehicle to reach the trailheads.
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what would it be like to do Decalibron and quandary pk.the last week of September
Both of those peaks should be well-trodden up until the beginning of October. Definitely depends on the weather because sometimes by the third week of September we have snow storms. However, it SHOULD be okay to hike. Especially Quandary. There are some forums you can check on the days prior to your hike to see what others have experienced during that week on the mountains! Best of luck!
Wow thankyou so much for this post. This is just what I was looking for and looks amazing. The only think I have ever hiked is Mt Lassen. Im so excited to possibly go to Colorado and do these mountains. THANKYOU FOR SHARING!!
Absolutely! When I first moved to Colorado a couple of years ago, I couldn’t find any information on 14ers for solo hikers, especially female solo hikers. So I just had to do them myself and find out! Super glad I could provide this information and help others out!
I’m a75 yr old woman who hiked with a group of older women up toward Quandary’s summit…but had to turn back on the saddle because of hail and lightning. I’m going to attempt one again this summer and want to hike the safest one. I’m looking for one with a clear path (not all rocks)..and no steep drop offs. I’m in good shape..have prepped for the climb in RMNP..but at my age..I’d rather take a safe footed hike up. Can you help me?
I can offer advice based on the 14ers I have submitted and I would recommend Mount Bierstadt or Mount Sherman. Both are safe footing hikes for the most part, very straight forward, and both well-trodden. Neither of them are in RMNP but they are both within an hour or two of Denver!
Best of luck! 74 and still summiting 14ers? You are an inspiration! You go girl 🙂
Are you still hiking in Colorado? I just saw this on Pinterest and I have done most of these but am looking for hiking friends since my husband doesn’t like to hike with me!
Hi! No, I’m not still in Colorado unfortunately 🙁 Darn, I wish I was because I use to hike alone and I hated it. Plus it’s super dangerous. We could’ve been hiking buddies! I’m in Oregon and doing some hiking out here. Let me know if you’re ever in Oregon and we can be hiking buddies and I’ll do the same if I am back in Colorado! Cheers!
Did you ever summit Mt. Elbert? It is listed on many sites as a “beginner” 14er, and a friend and I attempted it recently (my first 14er). Thunder storms rolled in on our way up, so she thought it best to turn back…with less than a mile left to the summit 🙁 I’m considering going back alone and doing the alternative route (slightly longer, less gain). I stumbled on your blog, which is awesome by the way, with my google search. Just curious on your thoughts! Thanks 🙂
Thanks for your message! Unfortunately, I moved away from Colorado before I could summit Elbert. A lot of my friends have hiked it though and I’ve heard it’s decently easy. Will you attempted the East Ridge? It’s class 1 so it should be an easy one.
In all honesty, I’m so glad you turned around. Storms are no joke. It’s such a bummer to not summit but it’s better to be alive 🙂 when I’m back in Colorado we should hike together!
Good luck, let me know how Elbert is!