The Maroon Bells, near Aspen, Colorado.

(Courtesy US Forest Service/Flickr)

A first-ever report card out this week sounds the alarm on the condition of trails on Colorado's highest peaks. Of the state's 53 fourteeners -- those with peaks that top 14,000 feet -- nine rated a failing grade from the nonprofit Colorado Fourteeners Initiative.

Over the course of three years, the group assessed 42 summit trails leading to 39 of the 53 summits. Many of those trails have deteriorated enough that hikers have randomly carved new routes to peaks and in the process, threaten the health of sensitive alpine tundra ecosystems, says Lloyd Athearn, CFI's executive director. 

Athearn's organization says $24 million is needed for trail upgrades and restoration. He spoke with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner about the report. 

The fourteeners graded with an "F."

  • Mount Bierstadt
  • Mount Elbert
  • Mount Evans
  • Mount Shavano
  • Redcloud Peak
  • La Plata Peak
  • Mount Columbia
  • Mount Elbert
  • Snowmass Mountain

Read the full Colorado Fourteeners Initiative report card