Environment

Colorado's Most Popular Fourteeners Today

Mount Bierstadt.
Mount Bierstadt. 14ers.com
The third annual 14ers.com analysis of the most popular Colorado fourteeners shows that their use by hikers continues to go up in most major ranges in the state and particularly along the Front Range, where the numbers are nearly as elevated as the peaks themselves.

Click the top image to see a slideshow of the Colorado fourteeners with the most hiker use (plus a bonus second-place finisher) in all seven ranges represented in the study, conducted by the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative.

The first CFI study covered the year 2015, and it estimated the number of hiker-use days at 260,000. In the analysis for 2016, that total went up to 311,000. For the latest report, based on data from 2017, the figure has risen to 334,000 — a more than 22 percent increase over just two years.

Note that 334,000 hiker use days doesn't necessarily translate to 334,000 individuals, since some people scale multiple fourteeners in a single day.

Use estimates went down in only two ranges: the Sawatch, which fell from 115,000 in 2016 to 89,000 last year, and Sangre de Cristo, down from 17,000 to 13,000 over the same span. In the Elk Mountains, meanwhile, the days of use held steady at approximately 9,000.

But hiker usage at four other ranges is up, with the Front Range fourteeners — Mount Bierstadt, Torreys Peak/Grays Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak and Longs Peak — experiencing a genuine boom. Around 72,000 hiker-use days were recorded in 2015, and 75,000 in 2016. Circa 2017, the estimate is 110,000, an increase of almost one-third.

Continue to see 14ers.com hiker use estimates for every Colorado fourteener, as well as those for both 2015 and 2016, illustrated by photos from the website. That's followed by a methodology to explain how the digits were calculated.

click to enlarge Torreys Peak/Grays Peak. - 14ERS.COM
Torreys Peak/Grays Peak.
FRONT RANGE FOURTEENERS IN 2017

Best combined estimate: 110,000
2016 estimate: 75,000
2015 estimate: 72,000

1. Mount Bierstadt — 35,000-40,000#
2016 estimate: 20,000-25,000
2015 estimate: 20,000-25,000

2. Torreys Peak/Grays Peak — 25,000-30,000*
2016 estimate: 20,000-25,000
2015 estimate: 20,000-25,000

3 (tie). Mount Evans — 15,000-20,000
2016 estimate: 10,000-15,000
2015 estimate: 10,000-15,000

3 (tie). Pikes Peak — 15,000-20,000
2016 estimate: 15,000-20,000
2015 estimate: 7,000-10,000

3 (tie). Longs Peak — 15,000-20,000
2016 estimate: 7,000-10,000
2015 estimate: 7,000-10,000

TENMILE RANGE FOURTEENER

Best estimate: 24,000
2016 estimate: 18,000
2015 estimate: 18,000

Quandary Peak — 20,000-25,000
2016 estimate: 15,000-20,000
2015 estimate: 15,000-20,000
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts