“One of the easiest 14ers, Mt Sherman is rich in mining history.”
— Mike Langenkamp
During the winter months the road is usually closed closer to 11,000 ft.
Mount Sherman, Colorados 46th highest peak, is a great first 14er. It is possible to park as high as 12,000 feet, leaving only a couple thousand feet of elevation gain to the summit and a round-trip run of under five miles.
Features: River/Creek — Views — Wildflowers
Need to Know
While this is one of the easiest 14ers, it's still an alpine run. Bring good footwear, plenty of water, and warm clothing. The average hiker should expect a time of around 5-6 hrs round trip.
Although Mt. Sherman is one of the easier 14ers, it is a difficult run. While the lower parts of the trail are gradual and not too rocky, the boulder field before the summit ridge and the summit ridge itself make for a rocky trip.
The standard route starts at the Fourmile Creek trailhead and heads up the southwest ridge. From Fairplay, drive south just one mile on 285. Turn right onto County Road 18 and drive 10 miles to the Leavick upper parking area at 11,200 ft. In good conditions, the gate at Leavick is open and 4WD and burly 2WD cars can make it up to 12,000 ft, with various pulloff spots along the road.
From the Leavick upper parking area, begin up the road, passing a gate at 12,000 feet which leads to the Dauntless Mine and some old wooden buildings at 12,300 feet.
Continue northwest into a basin below Hilltop Mine and follow the old road up to the mine at 12,900 feet. From here, head west as the grade increases and run up loose rock along a rough trail to the 13,140-foot-high saddle between Mount Sherman on the right (north) and 13,748-foot Mount Sheridan on the left (south).
Next, navigate to the right on Mt. Shermans southwest ridge, following braided trails along the ridgeline. After a few hundred feet the ridge begins to narrow but stays wide enough to avoid any danger. There are some scrambly spots than can be avoided with good route finding skills. Continue up along the ridge crest to the mountains long, flat summit. Find the summit cairn and the summit register (a PVC pipe attached to a pole), sign your name and enjoy the views.
Flora & Fauna
For many decades, Mt. Sherman was a mining mecca, so you shouldn't be too surprised to see nothing but rocks, pika, and marmots.
History & Background
In January 1967 an Aspen-bound charter flight crash-landed on the summit after experiencing violent down-drafts during an unexpected storm. Parts of the Cessna 310 can still be found on the mountain. Landing in deep winter snow, none of the passengers were harmed. It ultimately took twenty hours for a rescue team to reach the downed aircraft by helicopter. Everyone was rescued and pilot Jimmy Williamson ended up having the unexpected honor of being the first person to land an airplane on a 14er!