Stars above cabin

Experience Twin Lakes, Colorado

Outdoor Adventures in the Rocky Mountains

Hiking Central Colorado 14ers in Twin Lakes

IF YOU’VE NEVER STOOD atop one of Colorado’s “14ers,” the views — and the lack of oxygen — will leave you breathless. For hikers who like to challenge themselves, Twin Lakes offers a bounty of 14,000-foot peaks for bagging. 

Mt. Elbert, Colorado’s tallest peak, greets guests in the Wolf Den’s backyard. Peeking over the eastern slope of Elbert, Mt. Massive (Colorado’s second tallest peak) stands visible from Twin Lakes. Other 14ers in the Leadville, Twin Lakes and Buena Vista area include: La Plata, Mt. Sherman, Mt. Belford, Mt. Antero, Huron, and the Collegiate Peaks (Mts. Columbia, Harvard, Oxford, Princeton and Yale). 

Choosing the Wolf Den for your basecamp means you’re a short driving distance from a litany of 14er trailheads. Not to mention that sleeping at nearly 10,000-foot elevation at the Den will help jump-start your acclimation for high-altitude activities. 

Sunrise mountains and lakes

Above: The view of sunrise over Twin Lakes and Mt. Elbert Forebay from treeline of Mt. Elbert. Tip: Bring a thermos of hot coffee and enjoy sunrise with a warm beverage!

Why climb a 14er?

The challenge itself will check all the boxes for athletic adventure seekers. Prepare to feel breathless, both from physical exertion and the thinning high-altitude air. Panoramic views await you at the mountain summit, as well as an amazing sense of accomplishment — memories that will last much longer than a traditional vacation souvenir

For those who live in lower elevation areas, which describes about 95% of our guests, please consider the following: your cardiovascular health, fitness, and any prior experience with altitude-related illness. It’s not a bad idea to chat with your physician before setting out to hike a 14er.

Woman hiking in mountains

Ready to start planning?

Check out first and dive into details like parking, route planning, gear lists, recent trip reports and much more. I also use the Facebook group to ping other hikers for timely suggestions that might be left out of older trip reports.

The No. 1 tip that I share with our guests, other than pointing them to the treasure of information at, is to plan on a very early start. (Though it depends on the mountain, we like to start as early as 5 a.m. to reach treeline around sunrise.) And do not forget to check the weather. I recently started using OpenSummit, a sister app to the excellent OpenSnow, and I really appreciate the detailed weather and wind forecasting.

Women on top of mountain

Not ready to hike a 14er on your own?

Come back and visit for one of the Wolf Den’s Zen at the Den Yoga + Hiking Retreats, feature a guided group hike to alpine destinations in Twin Lakes. In 2023, we’ll be hiking to the top of Hope Pass, which is a great way to see how you might feel on a longer 14er hike. This can serve as a great way to test your mettle before setting out to bag a summit.

After your summit trek, the Wolf Den awaits with a bubbling hot tub to ease sore muscles and celebrate your summit success.

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