Which 14er has the best grub?
It’s a complicated question with many factors—nevertheless, Toppeak devised this hierarchy of 14ers by the food options you’ve got by each peak.
Enjoy! And feel free to comment below.
#54 Pikes Peak
World famous donuts at the Summit House? Not sure about the “world famous” part, but they do give Dunkin Donuts a run for their money. Other than that, the Summit House is pretty “meh” as far as delighting your culinary senses. Sorry Pikes Peak, we’re not just going to give you the best restaurants in the Springs area.
Sorry collegiate peaks, but Harvard and Yale have nothing on Alamosa, home to the fine learning institution of Adams State! But when Trip Advisor has the #1 restaurant of 38 as “The Red Slipper”, and this is the finest picture they can offer, we’ve got a culinary problem. Extra mayo anyone?
#52 (8 way tie between Belford, Columbia, Harvard, La Plata, Oxford, Yale, Huron, Missouri)
Buena Vista would not be Buena Vista without Pancho’s, period. Basic Décor? Check. Cheap? Check. An upgraded Taco Bell with burgers? Check! There’s a reason why hikers, climbers, and locals flock to this place for decades.
By the way, notice the sign “Buses welcome” on the top left of the picture? Are there eating establishments that discriminate against buses? Is there bus racism going on in Buena Vista? Not at Pancho’s!
#44 San Luis
As far as the food goes in Creede, well…maybe drive on to South Fork or Del Norte? At least at Arp’s—Creede’s finest— you get antlers on the ceiling!
#43 (tie between El Diente and Mount Wilson)
The town of Rico has 265 people. And its got the Enterprise Bar and Grill, longtime local favorite, and home of Taco Tuesdays… every—yes, you guessed it, Tuesday! It’s also the 6th oldest bar in Colorado. They must be doing something right, right?
#41 (3 way tie between Antero, Shavano, and Tabeguache)
Salida has a surprisingly good mix of eats to choose from…at least you may think so if you’re accustomed to the culinary desert of the San Luis Valley. But if you’re from the front-range, you may just have to settle for the Patio Pancake Place. Could you do better? Probably. Will you do better in Salida? Probably not.
#38 (tie between Culebra and Lindsey)
If you’re looking to get induced into a food coma after hiking Mount Lindsey or Culebra, you have but few options in Fort Garland. While Silver Sage Steakhouse isn’t exactly Ruth's Chris or Morton’s…you CAN get a steak!
#36 (tie between Bross and Lincoln)
200 years ago South Park was filled with buffalo. Now you can have a half-way decent buffalo burger in South Park at the South Park Saloon! This is the one place that seems like Kansas right in the middle of the mountains. Got beer? Yes. Got pizza? Yes. Got Mexican? Heck yes. This is Alma’s finest, self-proclaimed highest saloon in North America!
#34 (tie between Ellingwood and Little Bear)
Don’t worry about not finding Lu’s Mainstreet Café in the town of Blanca. It’s on Main Street. And it says CAFÉ. Word has it there is great green chili here, if you’re into that sort of thing.
#32 (tie between Sunlight, Eolus, and Windom)
Maybe the ghost town of Needleton used to have great Tex-Mex? Anyhow, since Chicago Basin doesn’t have Chicago pizza, you’ll have to settle for Philly Cheesesteak at Handlebars Restaurant and Saloon in Silverton.
#29 (tie between Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, and Kit Carson)
Where can you get a locally raised yak burger? In the town of Crestone, population 143. Do you think they have more yaks in Crestone than people?
#26 (tie between Elbert and Massive)
Leadville may be one of the highest towns in America, but the food scene may be one of the lowest. High Mountain Pies does have some decent pizza though. Who knew little Italy would be found in little ole Leadville?!
Ridgway boasts of Colorado Boy Pub and Brewery. Solid beer and pizza. Need I say more? Probably deserves a higher ranking, but hey, it’s starting to get competitive now...
#23 Holy Cross
Next time you’re in Red Cliff try Mango’s Mountain Grill. Word has it some of the best sweet potatoe fries in Colorado. Besides, it’s the only restaurant in town, so do you really have a choice?
You haven’t experienced Westcliffe until you’ve experienced Chappy’s. The signature food of Chappy’s is a Saltine cracker. Ok, that's not true. But you believed it for a second, didn't you?
#21 (tie between Democrat and Sherman)
Fairplay is a rich man’s Hartsel. And Millonzi’s has surprisingly good Italian. Their deck even overlooks the Mosquito range.
Going to Beau Jo’s in Idaho Springs is a pretty decent option no matter which way you look at it. But if you’re in the mood for Mexican, Chinese, seafood, Italian, or Indian? You’re in luck, just drive down to the Denver food scene. But sorry Mount Evans, we’re not just going to give you Denver, you’re stuck with Idaho Springs.
#18 (tie between Bierstadt, Grays, and Torreys)
Question: What’s better than eating Alpine Nachos at 8,530 feet? Georgetown’s Alpine Restaurant and Bar would rank higher, but Georgetown is actually something of a poor man’s Breckenridge. Which is actually better than a rich man’s Hartsel.
#15 (tie between Handies, Redcloud, and Sunshine)
Lake City isn’t just for rich Texans. It’s for anyone wanting to be served scratch made comfort foods in an upscale environment at Climb Elevated Eatery. Chicken and waffles anyone?
Estes Park has some good options, but we’re going with Smokin Dave’s BBQ. Because who doesn’t want tender ribs and baked beans after hiking a 14er?
#11 (tie between Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre)
Ouray’s True Grit Café was established in 1985 and has been serving hungry tourists and locals with homemade fare ever since with some pretty tasty dishes like their chicken fried steak.
#9 Castle Peak
There’s a secret in Crested Butte—great pizza, great wings, and a unique atmosphere help make the Secret Stash a must visit!
Nathrop is home to Princeton Hot Springs and The Princeton Club restaurant at Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort. A small but varied menu could include delights such as baked brie, kobe beef burgers, or whatever else is on their seasonal menu.
You’ve got your choice of cuisine in Breckenridge, which is pretty well established as the Aspen of the Ten Mile Range. Want to enjoy a great bowl of soup after your hike? Try Soupz On. Or try Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant for some good Mexican food. Any way you look at it, Breckenridge is a place you can find craft beers, enormous pastries, and an all around solid food scene.
#6 Wilson Peak
Telluride would be #1 on any other list, if it weren’t for Aspen. Go with the Chop House and get oysters and the ribeye bison.
#1 (tie between Maroon Peak, North Maroon Peak, Capitol, Pyramid, and Snowmass)
Aspen is the Portland of the Rockies with every single food and drink you could ever imagine. Innovative burgers, boutique ice cream, world class sushi…all available to you just hours after ascending to the top of a 14er. Aspen is #1 when it comes to 14er eating!