Mt Bierstadt Trail is a fourteener that 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.
If you like the Mt Bierstadt Trail, other trails in this area you may like: Rosalie Trail, Square Tops Lake Trail, Sporting Times Trail, Silver Dollar Lake Trail.
For Guanella Pass Road Seasonal Conditions and Closure times click Colorado Dept. of Transport