Photo by Scott Hardesty / Aurora Photos/age fotostock
Colorado has more “fourteeners”—mountain peaks higher than 14,000 feet—than any other state (53, compared to No. 2, Alaska, with 29). The northernmost of those Rocky Mountains giants is also one of the most popular, mostly since it’s so easy to see from the lowlands. A prominent diamond shape sits below the summit and is a favorite rock-climbing wall. But those keen to hike it usually start in the dark hours of the early morning to tackle the standard 8.4-mile Keyhole route. The trail starts at 9,400 feet and gains more than 5,000 feet. Around 11,000 feet, the trees thin out and the view down the slope appears, as does a nice look at the distinctive diamond face. The trail continues around a subpeak called Mount Lady Washington, and into the boulder field that leads up to the namesake Keyhole—the gateway to the last push to the summit.