The highest point in Colorado, Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401 meters), is located in the Sawatch Range. The mountain is also the highest in the Rocky Mountains and the second highest peak in the contiguous United States.
The first Europeans to see the spire-like peaks of Colorado's Rocky Mountains were Spanish explorers who passed through the area in the early 1700s. They gave the mountain a name derived from the indigenous people in the area: Montana del Sol, or "Mountain of the Sun."
During the nineteenth century, these mountains captivated the imaginations of overland migrants who traveled to the newly acquired territories in the west. The mountains' names evoked the rich mineral resources in the region and served as distant landmarks for those journeying west.
The most famous of the Front Range Fourteeners is Pikes Peak, which lies within the city of Colorado Springs. Its summit is a short drive away from downtown and is a popular destination for hikers.
Another favorite of hikers is Blanca Peak, which is situated in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and is the fourth highest mountain in the state. Its first ascent was made in 1874 and since then, it has been climbed by both professional climbers and casual walkers with no prior mountaineering experience.
Some hikers have been known to make the mistake of climbing Mount Massive, which is a mere 1443-foot taller than Blanca Peak, in an attempt to challenge the status quo. They believe that Mount Massive has more merit as the state’s highest peak, so they attempt to stack rocks at its summit to increase its height.