Colorado’s 14ers saw an average hiking increase of 20% — The Know

Colorado’s tallest peaks got hammered even more than usual by hikers and climbers last summer due to the rush to get outdoors during the pandemic.

A Golden-based nonprofit dedicated to the welfare of the big peaks is gearing up to provide some timely trail maintenance this summer. Colorado Fourteeners Initiative scaled back from big group projects last year to adhere to distancing requirements. But hikers didn’t take a break.

The group’s preliminary data indicates there was an average increase of 20% in hiking use last summer on the 54 peaks higher than 14,000 feet, said Brian Sargeant, Fourteeners Initiative development and communications manager. Hiker days soared as much as 70% on some of the more popular and accessible peaks, he said.

Anyway you slice it, it was a record year for hikers on the high peaks. “Lots of people means more work for us,” Sargeant said.

The nonprofit has about 15 projects on the books, often with partners. Projects range from a single-day effort on Summit County’s Quandary Peak, one of most highly visited in the state, to multiday undertakings in the more isolated San Juan Mountains.

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