Every true Coloradan has made the trek up at least one of the Colorado 14ers, some have made the trek up all of them. While the “official” number of 14ers is still debated from time to time, we did the research to determine where the 53 most legitimate ones got their names. For tips on how to climb and where to find each of the Colorado 14ers, just click the links! Enjoy!
1. Humboldt Peak – 14,070 feet
Humboldt Peak was named after Prussian geologist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt. He once held an altitude record for reaching over 19,200 feet on Mt. Chimborazo, a record that stood for 36 years. Oddly enough, while he was an expert in mountains and plate tectonics in the United States, he never got the chance to visit the mountain named after him.
2. Huron Peak – 14,012 feet
Huron Peak is named after the Huron Nation, an indigenous group of people in North America known for their extensive trading with early European settlers.
3. Kit Carson Peak – 14,171 feet
Also known as Kit Carson Mountain and sometimes called Crestone Peak by the locals, Kit Carson Peak was named after frontiersman Christopher Houston “Kit” Carson, a legend thanks to his exaggerated stories hitting it big time as dime novels.
4. La Plata Peak – 14,343 feet
A 14er noteworthy for being surrounded by ghost towns once built around the silver mining industry, “la plata” means “silver” in Spanish.
5. Little Bear Peak – 14,043 feet
One of the most difficult 14ers to climb due to its technical nature, Little Bear Peak is named after a nearby lake.
6. Longs Peak – 14,259 feet
The northernmost 14er in Colorado, Longs Peak is named after explorer and inventor Stephen Harriman Long. As an inventor, he is most known for his design improvements on the locomotive, while as an explorer, he’s known for covering over 26,000 miles in 5 expeditions…during the 1800s.
7. Maroon Peak – 14,163 feet
Part of the Maroon Bells, along with North Maroon Peak (which is over 14,000 feet but not 300 feet prominent), Maroon Peak gets it’s name from the unique color of the rock the forms it. Unlike other limestone and granite mountains that make up most of the Rockies, the Maroon Bells consist of mudstone that’s hardened into rock over many years. On a side note, the “Bells” aspect of the name comes from the shape of these mountains, looking like bells.
8. Missouri Mountain – 14,074 feet
While it’s not totally confirmed, the general assumption behind how Missouri Mountain was named comes from the origins of early miners working the land, many of which had travelled from Missouri.
9. Mount Antero – 14,276 feet
Notably one of the most stunning Colorado peaks, Mount Antero was named to honor Chief Antero, leader of the Uintah band of the Ute indigenous group.
10. Mount Belford – 14,203 feet
The reasoning behind Mount Belford’s name is pretty unique being that it’s all about red hair. Colorado’s first congressman, James Burns Belford, was known for his vibrant personality, boisterous speeches, and bright red hair. Early miners in the area felt like this mountain resembled his persona, including the bright red dash of rock on top.
11. Mount Bierstadt – 14,065 feet
While we’d like to assume that Mount Bierstadt gets its name from the German translation into “Beer City”, it’s actually named after Albert Bierstadt. He was an American landscape painter who also happened to make the first recorded summit of the peak in 1863.
12. Mount Bross – 14,178 feet
One of the Colorado 14ers summit that’s actually closed to the public (and has been since 2005), Mount Bross was named after William Bross, a man who owned property in the area. Bross was notably a politician and publisher, founding the Democratic Press.
Curious about more 14ers? Keep on reading through the links below:
[Part 1] Blanca Peak – Handies Peak
[Part 3] Mount Columbia – Mount Princeton
[Part 4] Mount Shavano – San Luis Peak
[Part 5] Snowmass Mountain – Windom Peak