For many people, the Rocky Mountains are the most familiar of the world’s tall peaks. This ultra-long range stretches 3,000 miles from New Mexico all the way north to British Columbia. Along the way, some of its highest peaks are in Colorado, including Mount Elbert, at 14,440 feet. In fact, there’s an entire culture around climbing “14ers” — mountains over 14,000 feet tall — in the state.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can climb a 14er for yourself. The easiest one for most folks is Mount Bierstadt, outside of Idaho Springs, since it “only” has an elevation gain of 2,850 feet. Just because it’s the easiest mountain to climb doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easythough: Reaching the top is still a toast-worthy feat, even if you don’t need technical climbing gear to get there.
Also in Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is an ideal place to take in staggering peaks. The town of Estes Park is a great base camp for all your adventures here.