The Best Family-Friendly Colorado 14ers, Ranked By Difficulty

The Best Family-Friendly Colorado 14ers, Ranked By Difficulty

The Best Family-Friendly Colorado 14ers, Ranked By Difficulty

Family bonding doesn’t get much better than hiking a 14er in beautiful Colorado. You can push yourselves, enjoy beautiful vistas, and create lifelong memories. Start planning with this guide to the best family-friendly Colorado 14ers.

The Colorado Rocky Mountains are known for their beautiful vistas, great skiing, and, most importantly, some of the tallest peaks in the US. There are 58 “14ers'' for you and your family to choose from. 

So, what is a 14er?

A 14er is a mountain that’s over 14,000 feet high. One of the favorite pastimes of Coloradians from around the state is to check off each and every one. However, not all 14ers are made the same. 

The Colorado 14ers can range from technical rock climbing where a rope is needed, to scenic drives that take you right to the summit. In order to set your family trip up for success, pick from the many family-friendly Colorado 14ers to choose from.

Just remember, you have to start pretty early to avoid getting caught in the midday thunderstorms that are common during Colorado summertime. It’s best practice to plan on being down from the summit of any hike before noon. With that in mind, plan a trip that fits your families fitness level and age range with the most mellow 14ers in Colorado!

The 10 Best Family Friendly Colorado 14ers

Pikes Peak

Round Trip Length: 0 miles

Elevation Gain: 0 feet

Why It’s a Great Colorado 14er  for Families

You can drive straight to the top! From there, explore as much (or as little) as your family wants. Fun and beauty for all skill levels. 

Need To Know: 

The Pikes Peak Highway is open year-round, as long as the snow doesn’t shut it down. However, parking is limited on the summit. So, if you plan to drive to the top of Pikes Peak, you are asked to limit your time parked at the top to 30 minutes so everyone can enjoy getting to the summit.

Mount Evans

Round Trip Length: 0.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 135 feet 

Why It’s a Great Colorado 14er  for Families:

 You can drive nearly all the way to the summit of this peak on a paved road. The drive delivers you to a parking area at 14,130 feet, just shy of the actual summit. From there, it’s just a short walk to the top. If you’re up for more of a challenge, try out the two-mile hike from summit lake. You can even have an older family member meet your family at the top so you don’t have to hike back down.

Need To Know: 

There is a fee to park your vehicle at the top, so prepare in advance for that. Also, even though it is a short walk to the top, elevation can be difficult for people who aren’t accustomed to it. It’s best to spend time at high elevations, above 9,000 feet, a few days before summiting a 14er.

Mount Democrat 

Round Trip Length: 4 miles

Elevation Gain: 2,150 feet 

Why It’s a Great Colorado 14er  for Families: 

Mt. Democrat is one of the most mellow, family-friendly 14ers that you’ll find. The hike itself has only a few steep sections and mostly follows a moderate grade, or more casual slope.

Need To Know: 

Because it’s easier, Mt Democrat is typically busy through the spring and summer months. If you are feeling enthusiastic, (or want a goal to work towards through the years) you and the family can take on the the “Decalibron'' by summiting the three other neighboring peaks in one trip.

Mount Sherman

Round Trip Length: 5.25

Elevation Gain: 2,100 feet 

Why It’s a Great Colorado 14er  for Families: 

This fourteener is only a two hour drive from Fort Collins, making it another great option for a day trip. On the way to the summit, you can spot historic mining structures. If you keep your eyes peeled, you can even see the remains of an aerial tram that used to transport ore from the mines high on the slopes down to the milling site below.

Need To Know: 

If you want to make it an even more memorable excursion, you can choose from several family-friendly campgrounds along Park County Road 18 on the way to the trailhead from Fairplay. 

Handies Peak

Round Trip Length: 5.5 Miles

Elevation Gain: 2,500 feet

Why It’s a Great Colorado 14er  for Families: 

This is one of the shortest hikes by mileage so it’s ideal for younger kiddos. This is also a great hike for the whole family because of the abundance of wildflowers in the summer months. Make sure to bring your camera, because you won’t want to miss this photogenic hike.

Need To Know: 

This hike requires a 4WD vehicle to get to the trailhead. There are a couple of creek crossings before you can get to the highest trailhead so make sure your vehicle is high clearance, or else you may find yourself adding some unexpected extra miles to your hike.

Grays Peak 

Round Trip Length: 7.5 Miles 

Elevation Gain: 3,000 feet

Why It’s a Great Colorado 14er  for Families: 

This 14er is only an hour drive from Denver, making it a great day trip. Plus, if you have some extra gas in the tank, you can always head up to Torrey’s, another 14er right next door, to make it a two summit kind of day. Both trails have a gentle slope to the top with very little exposure, keeping this trail safer for children.

Need To Know: 

Because this route is so close to Denver, it is subject to the city crowds. This can be nice for beginners if something goes amiss, but if you are looking for more mountain solitude, it might be a good idea to opt for something else. 

Mount Bierstadt

Round Trip Length: 7 Miles

Elevation Gain: 2,850

Why It’s a Great Colorado 14er  for Families:  

In the summer, any vehicle can easily drive to the trailhead at 11,669 feet. The drive up goes through Guanella pass and is scenic in its own right.

Need To Know:

If you are looking to make a weekend out of this, there is great camping all around the trailhead. Just make sure you book a spot before, because it’s not all dispersed camping. 

Mount Antero

Round Trip Length: 7 miles 

Elevation Gain: 2,400 feet 

Why It’s a Great Colorado 14er  for Families:

This hike is located in the beautiful Buena Vista which literally means “good views” in Spanish. The town of Buena Vista, or “BV” as the locals call it, is a perfect weekend family get-away. There is a river that runs through town and a park that hosts a summer concert series. 

Need To Know: 

Like many of these trailheads, you need a high clearance 4WD vehicle to make it to the upper trailhead. Otherwise, you’ll have a 15 mile hike from the lower trailhead.  

Torreys Peak 

Round Trip Length: 8 miles

Elevation Gain: 3,000 feet

Why It’s a Great Colorado 14er  for Families: 

Like its next door neighbor, Grays Peak, Torreys is a gentle climb with very minimal exposure. Although the elevation gain and mileage is higher than some of the other options, there are plenty of nice places to stop and take breaks which is why it made the list. In July, watch for wildflowers along the trail, especially the state flower of Colorado- the columbine! Keep your eyes peeled for abandoned mines along the trail as well. 

Need To Know:

During the initial section of trail, there is a fork. Don’t turn right! That takes you on a different route to climb Kelso Ridge. Do NOT attempt this dangerous route without proper gear, planning, and preparation. 

Quandary Peak

Round Trip Length: 7 miles 

Elevation Gain: 3, 450 feet

Why It’s a Great Colorado 14er  for Families: 

This hike’s proximity to Denver and Breckenridge makes Quandary a popular choice over the summer. The trail is well-marked and takes climbers on a relatively mellow ascent. Plus, you’ll be minutes from downtown Breckenridge once your hike is over. Post-summit beers, anyone?

Need To Know:

This hike is relatively short, but it gains more elevation than most Colorado 14ers on this list. Consider saving this hike for older children, or working up to it by hiking several mountains with at least 2,000 feet of elevation gain before attempting this summit.

Our Top Picks for family-friendly 14ers near Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs has great access to a wide variety of 14ers. However, there are a couple that stand out as better for a Colorado Springs family. The first is Pikes Peak, because you can easily drive to the top. For a slightly more strenuous adventure and magnificent wildflowers, take the family to check out Handies Peak. It’s a fantastic, scenic drive down to the San Juans. Finally, for a short drive and a medium-level hike, one of our favorite family-friendly 14ers near Colorado Springs is Mount Bierstadt. If you want to make a weekend out of it, check out the fantastic camping near the trailhead! 

Which of these Colorado 14ers are you going to take your family on first? Wherever you go, stay cool and covered with a YoColorado hat!

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