Colorado Fourteeners Initiative

Smashing rocks
New tread on Columbia, with back wall
Sunrise shovelling
Moving rocks
Stone staircase on Quandary Peak
Sunrise in the Alpine
Working in the clouds
Packing in basecamp with llamas

To protect and preserve the natural integrity of Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks through active stewardship and public education.

Colorado Fourteeners Initiative is currently recruiting trail work and restoration professionals for our upcoming 2019 field season. We are looking for 22 enthusiastic, hard-working seasonal staff leaders/members to complete these projects over the summer and early fall.

Varies depending on crew, positions require travel from duty station to work site. Twin Lakes, CO // Buena Vista, CO // Lake City, CO

About Colorado Fourteeners Initiative

Colorado Fourteeners Initiative protects and preserves the natural integrity of Colorado’s 54 14,000–foot peaks—the “Fourteeners”—through active stewardship and public education.

Colorado’s Fourteeners contain rare and fragile native tundra ecosystems that are uniquely adapted to living on these high peaks. These tundra plants, however, are ill-adapted to being trampled by the half-million people who are estimated to climb these peaks every year. In many places resource damage is past the point of natural recovery.

CFI partners with the US Forest Service, Conservation Corps, and passionate volunteer partners and donors nationwide to:

  • Create a structure for engaging local communities in the protection of Colorado’s highest peaks
  • Build and maintain sustainable hiking routes on the Fourteeners to accommodate hiking use while minimizing damage to native alpine ecosystems
  • Stabilize and restore trampled and eroded areas to protect sensitive alpine plant and animal communities
  • Educate Fourteener hikers about Leave No Trace principles and sustainable recreational practices designed to lessen ecosystem impacts

Through this unique, voluntary partnership, Colorado’s Fourteener ecosystems are protected from harm while continuing to make the peaks accessible to hikers without burdensome restrictions and fees.

The Employee Experience

CFI provides a truly unique experience building and maintaining trails on some of Colorado's highest peaks. The work can be very challenging, often requiring hiking as many as 6-8 miles and 2,000+ vertical feet. Those who are looking to challenge themselves physically, and mentally will exceed is any of our positions. Group living skills are a must. Crews work and live very closely and must learn to respect each other and live in harmony in order to have a successful season. All crews work 10 hour days to maximize our very short field season. While there are many challenging aspects to working with CFI, the rewards are great. Working and living in the Colorado Alpine, and waking early to witness a sunrise above treeline is a truly unique experience. 

Our staff have free available housing located on Twin Lakes, just south of Leadville. On this property we have a small cabin and yurt that staff are welcome to stay at on their time off. 


Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for our leadership positions: 

-Has a minimum of 2 years of leadership experience with at least 3 seasons of trailwork experience (preferably rock work)

- Has a strong understanding of trail maintenance, construction, and an ability to train staff and volunteers on specific techniques (rock stairs, walls, restoration techniques)

- Can perform job duties and make decisions independently 

- Is passionate about manual labor in beautiful locations, and understands that part of what makes this position rewarding is the inherent challenge

The ideal crew member candidate: 

- Preferably has two seasons of trail work experience

- Is experienced in group living 

- Has worked for a conservation corps, preferably with one season in a leadership position

- Is eager, and open to learning new skills

- Understands that this will be a challenging experience, and looks forward to it!

Room and Board

The Mount Elbert, Columbia, Grays/Torreys, and Lake City 14ers crews will have basecamps that they will live at when out on hitch (8, 10 hour days on -- 6 days off). When not on hitch, staff are provided free, optional housing at our field base of operations, located on Twin Lakes, just south of Leadville. There is a cabin with a few bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen. We also have a 30' yurt. This is definitely group living - must come willing to share space and do your part to maintain this opportunity we offer to seasonal staff. 

The Adopt Crew will be a mix of car camping and tent camping when in the backcountry. They will have access to the cabin and yurt at Twin Lakes when off-hitch. The schedule is not as regular as the other crews, but they will work 10 hour days, and it will be roughly based around an 8 on/6 off schedule. 

Employee Perks

Other benefits include a $18/day per diem for field days, a medical training allowance, and discounts on outdoor gear and equipment. Travel with a personal vehicle is reimbursed at the federal rate.

How to Apply

Carefully review the detailed position description (  for the job you are interested in pursuing to ensure you meet the minimum qualifications.

Complete the following CFI online job application:

Colorado Fourteeners Initiative is an equal opportunity employer.

Contact Colorado Fourteeners Initiative