Mt. Bierstadt Trail
Updated on June 18, 2011 by Mary Norton
DifficultyExtremely difficult Elevation gain: 2,850ft
Trail Length7 miles round trip
This fourteener is one of Colorado’s most accessible, popular and well-maintained. The direct route up the mountain can be for experienced mountain climbers as well as casual day hikers.
From the parking lots on Guanella Pass Road the trail begins toward the east and Mt. Bierstadt. The trail leads down into the valley toward the base of the mountain and moves through willow thicket and over Gomer Creek via wooden bridge and rock foot holds. This is an easy meandering part of the trail and if you’re not ambitious enough to climb the entire fourteener, a casual hike through this area has breathtaking scenery too.
The ascent begins after hiking through the willow thickets (about 1/2 mile). The upward climb follows a few switchbacks through the tundralike surroundings. The grasses are short and the wildflowers are low to the ground. As you follow the well-maintained trail, look for wildlife like Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep and mountain goats. They both blend in with the coloring of the hills so sometimes are hard to catch site of.
The trail continues to lead up! At times, it is straight up and you’ll definitely have to exert yourself. The trail becomes more rugged the higher up the mountain you get. Be sure to bring a lot of water for this hike. We hiked in summer and it took about 5 hours up and back including a long rest at the summit.
As you approach the summit you will notice the trail is covered in rock/boulders and possibly snow. Follow the trail toward the summit (toward the northeast). Scramble over the rock field to the summit where there is an official summit and elevation marker.
Stay awhile on top. Eat lunch. Take some photos or video. It’s one of Colorado’s best hikes.
Hike this trail early in the morning to avoid afternoon storms. Lightening and snow storms are not uncommon even in summer. The best time of year to hike this trail is mid summer after the snow has melted. If you are an experienced mountaineer, you’ll know what gear to bring for snowier months.
For Guanella Pass Road Seasonal Conditions and Closure times click Colorado Dept. of Transport
DirectionsSee and click map below.
AttractionsNeed a place to stay near this hike? Try Hotel Chateau Chamonix in the histroic, Victorian town of Georgetown, Rose Street Bed and Breakfast, Silver Queen Bed and Breakfast, OR The Horstmann House Bed and Breakfast. Georgetown is a great little old mining town where you can get great homemade ice cream, candy, a nice park, and an old railroad train you can ride. A very fun place, good place to grab lunch, or do what we do and get a good waffle cone after the hike!
About Mary Norton, Contributor of this Hike
Mary grew up here, so she knows all the best places to go! With a family of 5 children and no lack of enthusiasm for the outdoors, Mary is well qualified to give you tips and hike spots that will challenge you as well as delight your whole family. Whether you have kids, dogs, or are just looking to enjoy nature by yourself, Mary will show you where to go to find what you are looking for.