14er Fest celebrates trails and the adventurers who use them

Trail users and outdoor enthusiasts unite for an adventurous new mountain festival in Buena Vista. Set in one of Colorado’s most scenic small towns, the inaugural 14er Fest features a wild variety of trail treks, clinics, festival camping, live music and local libations, Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

Festival activities connect hikers, off-roaders, mountain bikers, fly fishermen and trail runners with group ‘meet-ups’ on the area’s vast network of mountain trails.

Susan Wood, event coordinator, said, “14er Fest is unique because it’s an event for all trail users. It’s a time for people of all skill levels and ages to hang out, meet new people and try new activities. This is a first of its kind festival in the U.S. and Colorado, as it brings together a diverse group and encourages collaboration.”

The festival name commemorates the fact that Chaffee County has the highest concentration of mountains higher than 14,000 feet in Colorado and the nation. Framed by dramatic views of the Collegiate Peaks, vibrant Buena Vista offers endless opportunities to get out and explore. The fest’s fall date fills a gap between summer festivals and ski season, welcoming everyone at a time when aspen leaves are golden and the weather is ideal.

From the 14er Fest hub on downtown’s East Main Street, fest-goers can visit the vendor booths and gather for a variety of events. Group activities range from beginner to advanced levels and will be led by professional athletes and local volunteer experts. Activities include everything from an hour-long mountain bike ride to a difficult 7-hour off-road journey to alpine lake hikes – and beyond. A full schedule is available on the 14er Fest website and pre-registration is encouraged.

“It’s a chance for people to jump into something they’ve always wanted to try or to get more comfortable and confident in their favorite outdoor pursuit,” said Wood.

All events are free, with the exception of Sunday’s three trail runs. Runners can opt for the family fun run, the 5.8 mile Sleeping Indian Hill Climb or the mega-challenging 28K trail run.

Numerous clinics offer education and inspiration in specific skills from GPS route planning for off-roading excursions to cooking in the backcountry and more.

“We have a lot of local knowledge represented here. Fest-goers can learn a good deal about Central Colorado’s trails and mountains by taking part in the events.”

Live outdoor music rocks downtown in early evening, followed by the late night music scene at the historic Lariat Bar and Grill. The DeadPhish Orchestra plays on Friday night, with Bonfire Dub and Friends on Saturday night.
The Beer Garden is sponsored by the Ark Valley Libation Society, a collaboration including Elevation Brewery, Soulcraft Brewery, Moonlight Pizza and Brewpub, Eddyline Brewing, Vino Salida, Deerhammer Distilling Company and Woods High Mountain Distillery. The group promises a new release of a signature 14er Fest beer just for the occasion.

Buena Vista is blessed with boundless reasons to stay and play. Area lodging ranges from camping to cabins to high-end hot springs resorts.

14er Fest proceeds benefit Chaffee County Search and Rescue North and local trail coalition groups including Buena Vista Trails, GARNA, CORE and Chaffee County Mountain Riders.

“It’s just a great time to get outside, meet like-minded people and have fun.”

For more information:

Full schedule of events www.14erFest.com
Susan Wood, event coordinator info@14erFest.com
Running Race registration, www.UltraSignUp.com  or www.14erFest.com
The Ark Valley Libation Society, contact Eric Ramsey eric@soulcraftbeer.com
Chaffee County events and lodging visit www.ColorfulColorado.com