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Forever Evolving

The Rugged and Remote 14ers of the San Juan Range

The San Juan Range is one of the wildest mountain ranges in Colorado!

Alpine Climbing, Hiking Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Severe

Forever Evolving
Forever Evolving Photo: David Kingham


The San Juan Mountain Range comprises the southwestern portion of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, and it is "the largest mountain range by area in the Centennial State," according to ColoradoEncyclopedia.org. Since this rugged range is so far from the major population centers of Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs, it still retains a very wild and remote character. While tourists do visit here, and small towns like Durango are situated on the edge of the range, in general, the San Juans see much less traffic and are much less developed than other areas of Colorado.

The formation and feel of the San Juans is unique, leading many to consider it the most beautiful range in Colorado. The San Juans feature "steep mountainsides and U-shaped canyons, such as the iconic box canyon that surrounds Telluride," according to ColoradoEncyclopedia.org. The mountain summits soar high above the canyons below, with the San Juans boasting an impressive 13-14 summits (depending on how you count them) above 14,000 feet.

The tallest of these summits is Uncompahgre Peak at 14,309 feet above sea level. Mount Wilson and Sunlight Peak rank among the most technical 14ers in the state, and the combination of El Diente and Mount Wilson is known as one of Colorado's Great Traverses. Do these climbs sound a bit too challenging? Then consider Handies Peak—a very approachable climb with stunning views the entire way!

While the Maroon Bells may be the most photographed peaks in the state, many people consider Mount Sneffels to be "Colorado's most beautiful mountain." Willson Peak is also a notably aesthetic summit, and it features "prominently on all the Coors labels and products," according to Kiefer on SummitPost.org.

Whichever path you choose to the roof of Colorado, you won't go wrong!

Sources: AmericanSouthwest.net ColoradoEncyclopedia.org SummitPost.org Wikipedia.org

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