Aug 8, 2022 - Things to Do

Colorado 14ers saw decline in hiker traffic in 2021

Mt. Elbert, Colorado's highest 14er, looms in the distance. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Mt. Elbert, Colorado's highest 14er, looms in the distance. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado's iconic 14ers saw hiker traffic fall 27% in 2021.

By the numbers: About 303,000 people climbed the state's 54 mountains above 14,000 feet in elevation last year, according to the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, which uses remote sensors to log traffic.

  • That's about 112,000 fewer hikers than the prior year.

Yes, but: The steep decline is partly due to the fact the mountains saw record traffic in 2020, amid the pandemic.

  • The 2021 figures still represent an increase from 2019.

Between the lines: Limited access and trail closures on some 14ers are part of the problem, the Colorado Sun reports. "The most popular signature mountains closest to the Front Range were sort of knee-capped in terms of access," said Lloyd Athearn, the initiative's director.

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