There are 3422 named mountains in Colorado. The highest and the most prominent mountain is Mount Elbert.
Spanning over 3,000 miles from Canada to New Mexico, the Rocky Mountains dominate Colorado’s landscape. The Rocky Mountains is a mountain range that is considered to be one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world, and Colorado is home to some of the best of the Rockies. Home to more than fifteen separate mountain ranges, Colorado is best known as the state that houses 58 mountain peaks that rise more than 14,000 feet above sea level (the Fourteeners).
Due to its towering mountain landscape and high plateaus, Colorado is considered the tallest state in the United States. In fact, even its capital, Denver, is nicknamed the “Mile High City,” because its elevation is a mile above sea-level. Although the tallest peak in the contiguous United States is in California, Colorado boasts the highest number of fourteeners in the country, two of which, Pikes Peak and Mount Evans are accessible by car.
Spanning thirteen counties and approximately 150 miles, The San Juan Mountain Range, nicknamed the San Juans by locals, claim the title as Colorado’s largest mountain range and are considered the state’s crown jewel for hiking, backpacking, and other outdoor activities. Spanning across the state’s southwestern corner, the San Juans contain some of the highest and most jagged summits in the continental United States, including thirteen of Colorado’s fourteeners, the highest being Uncompahgre Peak at 14,308 feet. Other notable peaks in the San Juan Mountains include Mt. Sneffels, Redcloud Peak, Handies Peak, Mount Wilson, Mount Eolus, and Wetterhorn Peak.
Another noteworthy mountain range, the Front Range, is home to Colorado’s most populated towns: Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins. Spanning for 200 miles and known as the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, the Front Range runs north-south from the Wyoming state line to Pueblo, Colorado. Rising nearly 10,000 feet above the Great Plains, visitors can expect to be humbled by towering peaks like Longs Peak, Mount Evans, and Pikes Peak. Within the Front Range, the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway traverses 55 miles of Colorado’s pristine wilderness, alpine lakes, quirky towns and offers views of notable peaks like the rugged Indian Peaks.
Other popular mountain ranges in Colorado include the Sawatch Range, Sangre de Cristos, and the Never Summer Range. The Sawatch Range, in particular, features some of the highest mountain peaks in the region – including Colorado’s highest peak, Mt. Elbert.
The Sneffels Range, which separates the towns of Ouray and Telluride, is one of the most popular hiking areas in Colorado. There are miles of hiking trails available for various levels of fitness. Take the 7.6-mile Blue Lakes Trail to experience beautiful turquoise alpine lakes, pristine waterfalls, and views of the infamous Mount Sneffels, or traverse the more challenging 11-mile trail to Redcloud Peak and Sunshine Peak to experience two of Colorado’s famed fourteeners.
Rocky Mountain National Park offers visitors over 300 miles of hiking trails and a variety of other recreational activities. Make the challenging trek to Mt. Ida, Longs Peak, or Hallett Peak to experience panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains or take a scenic stroll to one of the park’s popular lakes, like Bear Lake or Sprague Lake.
The Maroon Bells are one of the most photographed locations in Colorado. Characteristic of the Rocky Mountains, Maroon Bells offers visitors scenic vistas, pristine lakes, golden aspens, and an opportunity to be surrounded by the peaks of Maroon Bells. The most popular trail from Maroon Lake offers views of two iconic peaks, Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak.
Pikes Peak offers a unique outdoor experience because the peak can be hiked, backpacked, or visitors can simply take a beautiful scenic road to the top. There is even a historic cog railway to the summit. The Barr Trail, a 26-mile trek, is the most popular trail used to summit Pikes Peak, but there are a variety of trails to choose from.
Located just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park is considered one of the most popular tourist destinations in Colorado and an ideal basecamp for Rocky Mountain adventures. Experience wildlife, incredible mountain views, and a quaint downtown in this popular Colorado town. Near Estes Park, visitors can experience world-class hiking, backcountry skiing, and scenic drives.
Known for its world-class ski slopes, Telluride is tucked beneath the San Juan Mountains and offers visitors easy access to some of the state’s best hiking trails and over 2,000 skiable acres. Explore popular hiking paths, like the Bear Creek Trail and Jud Wiebe Trail, or simply drive along the San Juan Skyway to get the total Rocky Mountain experience.
Another popular winter recreation destination, Vail is one of the top alpine resorts in the United States. Located in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, Vail offers easy access to the White River National Forest and Gore Range Mountains. Visitors can also experience a variety of festivals and events or hang out at local museums and alpine gardens.