The Leadville and Twin Lakes area is a great base camp from which to climb 14 of Colorado’s famed 14ers, starting with the state’s highest peak.
For a successful climb, please read and heed the safety and comfort tips below, and study your route before leaving.
At 14,433′, Mt. Elbert is Colorado’s highest peak and the second highest in the continental United States. You can see its V-shaped summit for miles, and from its top, you can see even farther.
Climbing Mt. Elbert means a great workout, stunning views, and a chance to climb perhaps higher than you’ve ever been.
Mt. Massive may be Colorado’s second-highest peak, at 14,421’, but it also has more land mass above 14,000′ than any other peak in the lower 48.
Climb to its chunky summit and enjoy plenty of rarified air. For a more mellow hike, take a trail from the Leadville National Fish Hatchery into the forested Mt. Massive Wilderness. You can make a loop or, a few miles in, hop on the Colorado Trail.
Just like to gaze? Check out the view while lounging at Turquoise Lake or on a patio in Leadville. Sunsets over Mt. Massive are spectacular, with front-row seats from high spots in Leadville’s East Side Mining District.
Mt. Sherman (14,036’) is one of the easier 14ers to climb–if any 14er is easy, that is. Sneak up Iowa Gulch, just 20 minutes outside Leadville, for a quiet climb to the ridge before meeting climbers ascending from the other side.
A no-frills hike, this trail up Mt. Sherman has an industrial feel, starting above treeline near power lines and old mine sites. You’ll trace a rocky ridgeline on top, with stupendous views off either side.
More 14ers Nearby
All these 14ers are within an hour’s drive:
- Huron Peak (14,003′)
- La Plata Peak (14,336′), Southwest Ridge
- Missouri Mountain (14,067′)
- Mt. Antero (14,269′)
- Mt. Belford (14,197′)
- Mt. Columbia (14,073′)
- Mt. Harvard (14,420′)
- Mt. of the Holy Cross (14,005′)
- Mt. Oxford (14,153′)
- Mt. Princeton (14,197′)
- Mt. Yale (14,196′)
Safety and Comfort
Don’t forget to check the latest weather forecasts, peak conditions, trailhead status, and important safety information before hitting the trail. Make sure you have essential gear for your climb. Plan to start early, keep an eye on the weather, and be back to treeline ahead of afternoon storms.
To make you more comfortable and increase your chances for a successful summit, spend the night in Leadville or Twin Lakes to acclimatize, and spend the night after to celebrate and rest up.
Once you’re prepped for your climb, get ready to see the world from on high!