Colorado's Fourteeners attracting more hikers than ever

I've been doing some hiking around Grand Junction during my first two years here. However, I've not taken on anything too ambitious. I get winded hiking up Devil's Kitchen in the Colorado National Monument. I can't imagine trying to tackle one of Colorado's famous Fourteeners. I was shocked when I saw how many are taking the challenge. The numbers are impressive.

In 2017, an estimated 334,000 people took on a Fourteener. That's a 7.4% increase from the previous year.

The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative is the foundation that tracks such data. It's no surprise that the summits on the front range are the most visited. There are more people on that side of Colorado. More than half of the Fourteener use occurs on the 11 summits nearest Denver and the front range cities.

There’s a is new leader atop the popularity charts. While Mount Elbert, the highest summit of the Rocky Mountains in North America, was the most hiked in years past, now more hikers are taking on Mount Bierstadt. The Colorado Fourteeners Initiative estimates 35,000-40,000 hikers take on this 14,065 beast just off I-70 last year.

35,000-40,000 hikers: Mount Bierstadt

25,000-30,000: Grays and Torreys Peaks

20,000-25,000: Mounts Elbert and Sherman, Quandary Peak

15,000-20,000: Pikes and Long's peaks, Mounts Evans, Lincoln, Bross, and Democrat

7,000-10,000: Mount Massive

Credit: Out There Colorado