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The Top Five 14ers Near Telluride

Added: Jan 30, 2019
Category: Explore Colorado

A number of famous peaks near Telluride draw mountain climbers from all over the world, but it's hiking Colorado's "14ers" (mountains with an elevation over 14k feet), that puts hikers and mountaineers in a special club.

Here are SilverStar's "top picks" of the best Colorado hiking trips near Telluride with some fun facts and details on bagging each peak.

Windom Peak

Rated by experts as one of the more accessible 14ers for beginners, getting to the trailhead of Windom Peak can be a romantic experience if you first take the historic Narrow Gauge locomotive to Needleton. The train will drop you off next to a suspension bridge that crosses the Animas River nestled deep in the Weminuche Wilderness. Experts in the climbing community say, "The hardest route is an easy Class 3, maybe even Class 2+. The easiest route is mostly Class 1 and a bit of Class 2." Rated a Class 1, the distance is 17 miles round-trip for one ambitious day or spread out over several days.

Mt. Wilson

Set roughly 10 miles southwest of Telluride, the Wilson Group is a series of three 14ers with Mount Wilson standing at 14,246 feet, making it the second-highest peak in the San Juan Mountains range. The range at the top is absolutely breathtaking (and is Telluride's most photographed) with a 360-degree panorama, but Mount Wilson is one of the top-10 hardest Colorado 14ers to summit requiring an advanced Class IV climb. Mt. Wilson's Southwest Slopes and East Slopes are shorter (12.50 and 12 miles, respectively), and the North Slopes are 16 miles round trip.

Wilson Peak

If you've ever watched a TV commercial for Coors Brewing Co., you've seen Wilson Peak featured prominently in the advertisements and on its logo. Its base is accessible by four-wheel drive roads 11 miles west of Telluride. Summer is the most popular time of year to summit the peak. Wilson Peak requires Class 3 technical climbs, with some scrambling over rocks, but overall, a stunning climb with a round-trip distance of around 10 miles.

El Diente

El Diente, Spanish for "The Tooth," looks like a pointy canine from an elevation of 14,165 feet, and is one of the more challenging climbs of the Colorado 14ers (although well worth the dramatic vistas!). With a nearly 17-mile drive from Telluride, all routes involve at least Class 3 scrambling on loose talus with a round trip distance of 12 miles. Via the connecting ridge, you can ascend El Diente and descend Mount Wilson, but it will be a very long day.

Mt. Sneffels

Even though this peak nestled in the San Juan Mountain sounds as though it were named after a Sesame Street character, this 7.6 mile out-and-back trip is considered a punishing hike. With about a Class 3 difficulty, Mt. Sneffels affords a beautiful view of wildflower meadows near the trailhead but requires talus-hopping up steep slopes toward the summit in order to get a view of "America's Switzerland."

Hiking in Colorado is but one gem that makes up Telluride's vast appeal. For more great ideas on how to enjoy the area's four seasons, contact SilverStar Telluride Luxury Rentals at 970-728-3001.

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