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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Mount Bierstadt #711, CO

no permit
64 12 0
Guide 12 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List CO > Central
4.3 of 5 by 6
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 11,627 feet
Elevation Gain 2,460 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,600 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 21
Interest Perennial Creek & Peak
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
29  2018-09-05 DixieFlyer
22  2016-07-21 rvcarter
13  2012-08-05 BobP
Author rvcarter
author avatar Guides 33
Routes 304
Photos 2,146
Trips 236 map ( 1,436 miles )
Age 73 Male Gender
Location tucson, az
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Jun, Sep → 7 AM
Seasons   Summer to Autumn
Sun  5:50am - 6:00pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
A Civilized 14er
by rvcarter

Likely In-Season!
Mount Bierstadt is the 38th highest 14er in Colorado at 14,060 feet. For perspective, it’s located in the Front Range a few miles east of Guanella Pass, in the northernmost part of the Pike National Forest. The peak was named for Albert Bierstadt, a famous western landscape artist who immortalized Bierstadt and the nearby Mount Evans in his paintings. The unique features of these peaks are two-fold; one can drive all the way to the top of Mt. Evans (making it a curious asterisk among the list of 14ers, along with Pikes Peak), and the fact the Evans and Bierstadt are connected by a treacherous ridge called the Sawtooth, a daunting route that some very confident climbers will attempt when summiting both peaks on the same outing. This description is for the West Slopes route which begins at the Guanella Pass Trailhead at the high point between Georgetown (from I-70) and Grant (from US 285) on CR 62. The paved roads leading to the trailhead, huge free parking lot, nice restrooms, great signage, and excellent trail for most of the way up, make this the most civilized 14er I’ve attempted, hence the name of this description.

The first part of the hike is a pleasant, easy walk through a huge groove of wetland willows, some of which is on an elevated wooden walkway to avoid the mud. You soon reach the Scott Gomer Creek crossing and proceed through more willows, and mild switchbacks that give way eventually to more elevated, craggy terrain. The views are getting better with each switchback. The trail up to within 500 feet of the top is excellent, with lots of switchbacks straight up the ridge. About halfway up, the spectacular Sawtooth Ridge leading from Bierstadt to Evans comes into view. The best photos of the ridge will be had on the way down when the sun is at a better angle, but you begin to understand what makes this place so special.

As you ascend, the air gets thinner, the views become more dramatic, the heart beats faster, and breathing become more labored. But, you eventually reach the ridge. The good news is that you have reached the ridge; the bad news is that the trail becomes a boulder scramble of the first order. Keep plugging and you’ll make it. The top is awesome. Check out the elevation marker, look for Mt. Evans to the east across the amazing Sawtooth, see if you can spot Long’s Peak to the north in Rocky Mountain NP, and look for Grays and Torreys Peaks which are clearly visible to the Northwest. Keep the marmots away from your food.

The views once you get out of the huge wetland and at the top are magnificent in every direction. There are lots of opportunities for boulder scrambling, if you have the energy.

Because of its proximity to Denver (and probably its relative ease compared to other 14ers), this is a very popular hike during the summer, so expect to see lots of friends at the top, especially on weekends. However, at the time of my arrival (on a Thursday), there were only 9-10 people on top and the trail didn’t feel crowded.

This description does not cover Northwest Gully or East Ridge approaches to Bierstadt. The Northwest Gully is similar in difficulty but has a slightly higher exposure. The East Ridge involves a little more elevation but has big jump in difficulty and exposure. describes a third BIG option called the Combo Loop which involves submitting both Bierstadt and Evans, with a connecting trip across the Sawtooth; this sounds like a booger of a day and a challenge to experienced rock climbers.

Storms accompanied by lightning, are nearly a daily occurrence in mountainous Colorado. Many hikers are struck by lightning each year. The rule of thumb is to be well off the peak before noon, but you should look at weather forecasts before starting out and watch the sky while on the trail.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2016-07-23 rvcarter
  • guide related image
    guide related
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Mount Bierstadt #711
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The three of us picked a great blue bird day to summit Mount Bierstadt. We took the day off from the beginning segments of the Colorado Trail to do this, but got a relatively late start. The trail is good and our rate of progress was respectable, even though we had not acclimatized much to this elevation and had only three days of hiking at 8,000-10,000 feet under our belt. One person experienced headaches at about 13,500 feet and had to turn around. The West Slopes approach is the easiest way to summit Bierstadt, but surprisingly the trail didn't feel overly crowded. The views from the top on this very clear day were outstanding and the Sawtooth Ridge leading over to Mount Evans was properly frightening. It doesn't look possible to get across it. We saw a Ptarmigan with 5 chicks along the upper trail coming down. Marmots are all over. If you're just getting into 14ers, this is a good one to start on. The road in is great, the free parking lot is huge, and the scenery from top to bottom is fantastic. Great day in the Colorado Rockies.

Check out the description I just posted (if Joe allows it) for more details.
Mount Bierstadt #711
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This hike should have been an easy fun hike but that couldn't be farther from the truth. I have hike in rain, snow , and hail and have never had my resolve tested this much before. First off if you end up like me and have to park a quarter mile from the trail head don't take the trail that cuts through the willows to the main trail I made it 400 feet before I stepped on what looked like solid ground but was really grass growing over a knee deep soup of water mud and plant growth :yuck: .I quickly hike back to the road and walk to the trail head . The weather at the trail head was 48 degress with 40mph winds ,should have been an indicator of what was to come. About 200 feet befor you hit the ridge the snow and ice patches started they were easyaly avoided but this is also were the temps dropped into the 30's and the winds were gusting close to 70 mph. After being knocked to the ground 3 times in about 40 feet I decided to hide behind a couple boulders to try and get the feeling back in my arms and legs and didn't help just seamed to make me colder and the wind was unrelenting . after about 10 mins I finally got the whill to go for the final push for the summit . every time the wind picked up I had to lean up against the rocks cause I was scared the wind would blow me off the mountain . I was 50 vertical feet from the summit when I ran into my buddy who gotten ahead of me and he informed me that the summit was close and empty so I hurried up to the top were there were only 2 other people and they were headed down so I had them take a picuter of me and all 3 of us headed down together. I was so glade to bag this one after weather shutting me out last year it felt good to finally get this one done even tho I am now sick as a dog because of it.
Mount Bierstadt #711
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we decided last minute to hike bierstadt and evans. i'm glad we did cause bierstadt may have been my favorite of the trip..just outstanding views and scenery. fun scramble up to the summit too. i was dying a bit then looked at my gps on the summit and realized we went pretty pumpkin fast.

we decided to go down and try Evans via the gulley. i'm glad we did cause the little basin at the foot of the gulley and creek is a wonderland. waterfalls, creeks, greenery. i loved it. the climb up the gulley was pumpkin steep but we cranked it out pretty well. the summit of evans was crowded but the views were breath taking - especially back at bierstadt. storms were moving in so we hit it.

of all things near the end of the hike, we saw a moose!!

what an incredible quick trip to colorado. i got to climb 7 14ers in 2 days. thanks a million for the invite bob.

Permit $$

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From I-70, turn south on CR 62 at Georgetown, also called Guanella Pass Rd., and drive 12 miles to the parking lot on your left at the pass. From US 285, turn north on CR 62, also called Geneva Rd., at Grant and drive 13 miles to the parking lot on your right. If the lot is full, overflow parking is available along the road.
page created by joebartels on Jul 23 2016 6:49 am
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