13 Top-Rated 13ers Near Denver (2023)

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You’ve scoped out the hikes in Denver proper, and are looking to expand your itinerary. You’ve adjusted to the elevation, and now it’s time to take it up a notch… literally.  This list of 13ers near Denver is the perfect guide for the adventurer seeking to get out of the city and into the clouds.

Varying in length and difficulty, 13ers near Denver are the perfect opportunity to explore your hiking passion. Start with a moderate route like Mount Flora, and when you’re ready to level up, check out the Apache – Navajo Traverse.

As for any elevated trek, if you stay aware of difficulty levels and weather conditions, you’re guaranteed to have a great time. See you up there!

🚨 As always, because of the difficulty of these hikes, be sure that you’re fully prepared to do these hikes and that you check the weather in advance.

🚗 Click here to rent a car for your trip to Denver!

While public transportation is alright in Denver, it’s truly easiest to get around by car. (Trust us, we didn’t have a car our first year living there… not fun!)

13ers Near Denver

Meeker Ridge

⌛ Distance from Denver: 1 Hour, 40 minutes

🥾 Elevation: 13,869 Ft

Mount Meeker, featuring Meeker Ridge, is a little bit over an hour and a half away from Denver. With gorgeous views and fantastic, complex terrain, maneuvering Meeker Ridge is a great accomplishment.

You’ll need to take the 10.4 mile Longs Peak & Chasm Trails. When you top out, you will be at 13,869 feet! Be sure to check the weather before you head up, though, because with over 4,000 feet of elevation gain on the trek, the conditions at the top can be very different from where you started.

This climb is located within Rocky Mountain National Park, so all the park rules apply. Most notably, you’ll have to leave any pets at home.

Additionally, you’ll need to acquire the Rocky Mountain National Park pass, or pay a day fee, to get into the park. If attending between May 26-Oct 22, 2023, you’ll need to make a reservation prior to heading up.

Insider tip: Enter the park before it opens to beat the crowds and get into the park for free.

Mount Sniktau

⌛ Distance from Denver: 1 Hour

🥾 Elevation: 13,625 Ft

Peak of a snowy mountain range on a sunny day.

For those of us looking for gorgeous views but moderate difficulty, Mount Sniktau is the perfect choice. Topping out at 13,625 feet, Mount Sniktau’s four mile hike is a much more manageable accomplishment.

Located an hour from Denver, right off of Loveland Pass, the hike is accessible both in difficulty and in location. Short and sweet, Mount Sniktau is one of the easiest 13ers near Denver.

Atlantic Peak – West Ridge

⌛ Distance from Denver: 1 hour, 30 minutes

🥾 Elevation: 13,850 Ft

If you’re looking for a bit of a challenge without doing anything too crazy, this Class 2 hike could be the trek for you. This 7-mile adventure is a good middle ground for hikers excited about a challenge but seeking a reasonable time investment.

Only an hour and a half from Denver, Atlantic Peak West Ridge ranks strongly in the competition for the closest 13er to Denver.

Mount Parnassus

⌛ Distance from Denver: 1 Hour

🥾 Elevation: 13,574 Ft

Rocky peak of a mountain overlooking a large mountain range.

Only a short hour’s drive, Mount Parnassus is absolutely one of the most approachable thirteeners near Denver. This 7-mile hike is also rated as Class 2, meaning you can expect a bit more difficulty than a walk in the park, but nothing too difficult.

It’s recommended to start the trek at Watrous Gulch, which offers a generous parking area. And thankfully, you can bring your pup along on this adventure!

As with all 13ers near Denver, be diligent in regard to the weather. Depending on the time of year you visit, there may be road closures that make it difficult or impossible to reach the trailhead.

Be sure to thoroughly scope out the weather differences between Denver and Mount Parnassus before heading out!

East and West Buffalo Peaks Loop

⌛ Distance from Denver: 2 hours, 20 minutes

🥾 Elevation: 13,300 ft (Slightly more for West Peak)

View overlooking a snowy valley at the bottom of a mountain range.

East and West Buffalo Peaks Loop is one of the longer 13ers near Denver, but worth every step. This 16-mile loop is located about two and a half hours away from Denver, but is a very worthy full-day adventure.

Due to its length and steep elevation gain, East and West Buffalo Peaks Loop is one of the less crowded options for a thirteener near Denver.

This trek is generally thought to be one of the more difficult 13ers near Denver, and therefore, be sure you’re prepared for the adventure before you head up! A lot of the trail is unmarked, so a GPS system is recommended to make sure you stay safe.

This hike involves the use of hand scrambling, so beginner hikers are encouraged to find a lower class endeavor.

The Citadel

⌛ Distance from Denver: 1 Hour

🥾 Elevation: 13,294 ft

Snowy mountains with green trees scattered throughout it.

Located in Arapaho National Forest, The Citadel Summit trail is a tough but satisfying 13er near Denver. This out-and-back adventure through the forest is a beautiful way to spend a day.

At 8.9 miles, The Citadel Summit is a hard hike featuring some amazing opportunities for bouldering excursions.

❗ Note that this trail can be a bit tough to decipher and some bushwacking is necessary.

Mount Flora

⌛ Distance from Denver: 58 minutes (officially under an hour!)

🥾 Elevation: 13,142 ft

A small path cutting through the side of a grassy mountain field at sunset.

If you’re trying to find the closest 13er to Denver, Mount Flora is a brilliant option. A trek of moderate difficulty, the Mount Flora trail is a beautiful opportunity for outdoor activities of all kinds.

This hike is only 6.2 miles, so it could be a great option for a city-slicker looking to up their intensity. This hike is also nestled in Arapaho National Forest, with dogs welcome on leash.

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    Isolation Peak

    ⌛ Distance from Denver: 1 hour, 35 minutes

    🥾 Elevation: 13,114 ft

    Coming in at an elevation of 13,114, Isolation Peak is an exciting adventure located in Rocky Mountain National Park. This tough, class 2 hike can be very lengthy depending on the starting point.

    Many backpackers enjoy incorporating this peak as a portion of a multi-day hike. If backpacking, be sure to acquire a permit, which you’ll need to get months in advance!

    Because Isolation Peak is located in Rocky Mountain National Park, refer to the park’s rules and regulations (see Meeker Ridge blurb for details!).

    Apache – Navajo Traverse

    ⌛ Distance from Denver: 1 hour, 20 minutes

    🥾 Elevation: 13,419 ft

    The Apache – Navajo Traverse to the Navajo Peak is one of the more difficult 13ers on this list. The route offers a range of difficulties that can include class 3 scrambling all the way up to class 5 climbs.

    Regardless of the route taken, reaching the Navajo Peak requires technical skills and equipment. While the traverse itself is short, the journey to Navajo Peak from Brainard Lakes is about 10 miles of difficult hiking.

    The trail is easily accessible from Denver, with a trailhead located only an hour and 20 minutes away.

    James Peak

    ⌛ Distance from Denver: 1 hour 20 minutes

    🥾 Elevation: 13,294 ft

    View looking down from the top of a mountain at a dark blue lake.

    James Peak is a fun adventure option for anytime of year. This tough hike is fantastic for experienced hikers, as well as backcountry skiers and snowshoers. The views from this peak are absolutely stunning, and totally worth the hustle up the mountain. James Peak is an 8-mile out-and-back hike, topping out at an elevation of 13,294 ft.

    If you’re looking for some shorter treks up to the top, there are a few other routes that could be for you. The Loch Lomond trail, for example, is only about 5 miles. However, accessing this route requires a vehicle that can traverse difficult terrain, so be sure you’re fully prepared for the journey.

    Square Top Mountain

    ⌛ Distance from Denver: 1 hour, 30 minutes

    🥾 Elevation: 13,794 Ft

    Rocky cliff overlooking a valley with fall colored trees and bright blue lakes.

    Square Top Mountain is beautiful peak and can be found about an hour and a half away from Denver, and offers fantastic scenic views of Pike National Forest. This 7-mile route is a challenging trek, and spikes are recommended, as the last couple of miles are a real pinch.

    If you’re prepared for a challenging endeavor, this is one of the best 13ers near Denver.

    Taylor & Powell Peak via Andrews Glacier

    ⌛ Distance from Denver: 2 hours

    🥾 Elevation: 13,153 ft (Taylor); 13,203 ft (Powell)

    Green and yellow trees covering a snowy mountain.

    Taylor & Powell Peak via Andrews Glacier is an excellent adventure for those of you with a whole day to dedicate to bagging a few fantastic 13ers close to Denver. This 15.4 mile hike maneuvers you past lakes, streams, and mountains, making it a wonderful, diverse trek.

    This hike offers some serious bang-for-your-buck, as you will top out on not one, but two thirteeners! Taylor Peak reaches 13,153 feet of elevation, while Powell creeps up to 13,203 feet.

    Enjoy the views and the confidence that comes with reaching two of the best 13ers near Denver in a single swoop.

    McHenry’s Peak

    ⌛ Distance from Denver: 2 hours

    🥾 Elevation: 13,330 ft

    McHenry’s Peak is a beautiful 13er near Denver, located in Rocky Mountain National Park. This Class 3 scramble is thought to be one of the more difficult 13ers in Rocky Mountain National Park, with difficult terrain and extensive distance.

    A 17.15 mile trek from Glacier Gorge, this adventure can be broken up into a multi-day backpacking trip or a lengthy single-day haul. As stated before, for RMNP treks, be sure to get a reservation or backpacking permit, and you’ll have to leave the pup behind.

    But at just under 2 hours away, this peak is one of the best 13ers near Denver.

    Final Thoughts: Denver 13ers

    If you’re a longtime peakbagger or simply an avid Colorado hiker, be sure to check out some of these amazing 13ers near Denver. With varying lengths and difficulties, there’s certainly a perfect peak waiting for you.

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