Mt Bierstadt, Guanella Pass - Mount Bierstadt Trailhead, Summit County - Eagle County - Clear Creek County, Colorado

Mt Bierstadt - 7.4 miles

Guanella Pass - Mount Bierstadt Trailhead

Looking west over Guanella Pass on the descent from Mt Bierstadt

Looking west over Guanella Pass on the descent from Mt Bierstadt

Round-Trip Length: 7.4 miles
Start-End Elevation: 11,656' - 14,060' (14,060' max elevation)
Elevation Change: +2,404' net elevation gain (+2,664' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Mt Bierstadt - 7.4 Miles Round-Trip

Mt Bierstadt (14,060') is located 11.8 miles south of Georgetown, CO in the Pike National Forest and Mt Evans Wilderness Area. A well-maintained trail leads 3.7 miles east from Guanella Pass to the summit. Though widely considered the most attainable of all Colorado 14ers, considerable effort is still required. Visitors will enjoy excellent views and alpine wildlife on the hike to Mt Bierstadt:

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The Mt Bierstadt Trail drops past Deadman's Lake to its low point at Scott Gomer Creek on the valley floor (.8 miles : 11,541'). It climbs steadily out of the valley through the vestiges of treeline into the tundra. Look for ptarmigan, marmot, elk, and bighorn sheep on these broad, open slopes.

The trail steepens past 1.7 miles (11,975') with rangy views across Guanella Pass. It gradually curls south across a sloping bench with good views down a side drainage where you might find mountain goat along rugged ledges (2.3 miles : 12,520') . The grade intensifies through 2.65 miles (12,795') on a straight line to the west ridge of Mt Bierstadt.

The trail crosses 13,000' at 2.85 miles on a wide path that becomes more rugged and less defined as you progress. It moderates on the rocky ridge to a saddle just beneath the summit (3.45 miles : 13,776').

The final .25 mile is a steep, strenuous scramble through uneven talus. Cairns mark the way, however many alternative routes have formed that are just as viable. The Mt Bierstadt summit (3.7 miles : 14,060') is fairly small and often crowded, but there's still room to move about.

Panoramic views include the Sawtooth formation that extends north from the summit, Abyss Lake (12,650'), Mt Evans (14,265') and Mt Spalding (13,842'). Views west over Guanella Valley are magnificent, with Grays Peak (14,270') and Torreys Peak (14,267') on the western horizon.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N39 35.770 W105 42.609 — 0.0 miles : Guanella Pass - Mt Bierstadt Trailhead
  • N39 35.656 W105 42.239 — .4 miles : Drop to valley floor on wood planks
  • N39 35.654 W105 41.843 — .85 miles : Cross Scott Gomer Creek - begin climb
  • N39 35.542 W105 41.691 — 1.0 miles : Moderate climb thru vestiges of willow field
  • N39 35.453 W105 41.388 — 1.5 miles : Grade steepens here to sloping bench
  • N39 35.519 W105 41.041 — 2.0 miles : Reach open tundra bench and bend south
  • N39 35.261 W105 40.822 — 2.5 miles : Steep climb on southwest heading
  • N39 35.038 W105 40.667 — 2.85 miles : Cross 13,000'
  • N39 34.906 W105 40.692 — 3.0 miles : Steady, rocky climb to west ridge
  • N39 34.817 W105 40.483 — 3.25 miles : Curl up steep west ridge
  • N39 34.847 W105 40.291 — 3.45 miles : Reach saddle beneath summit
  • N39 34.956 W105 40.128 — 3.7 miles : Mt Bierstadt summit (14,060')

Worth Noting

  • Arrive early to secure parking, avoid crowds and afternoon thunderstorms. Be mindful of changing weather patterns and aim for treeline well before storms develop.

  • Anticipate changing weather conditions throughout the day, and as you gain and lose elevation. Carry versatile layers, sun, wind, and rain protection.

  • Hiking poles are recommended to assist with steep grades, uneven terrain, and snow covered areas. The summit descent can be more challenging than the climb.

  • Look for elk and bighorn sheep on high open slopes, and mountain goat along inaccessible outcrops and ledges. Moose may be found along the willow-lined corridor of Scott Gomer Creek.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • Contact the South Platte Ranger District (303.275.5610) for the latest on weather, trail conditions and trail-specific usage guidelines when planning your trip.

  • Dispersed backcountry camping is permitted in the Pike National Forest and Mt Evans Wilderness..

  • Camping is prohibited within 100' of any lake or stream. Group size is limited to 15 individuals.

  • Campfires are permitted for dispersed backcountry camping, with potential seasonal and elevation restrictions.

  • One member of each party is required to register at the Mt Evans Wilderness boundary board and carry a copy of the registration with them during their visit. There is no registration fee.

  • Camping is limited to 14 consecutive days in one location. After 14 days, the campsite must be moved a minimum of three miles.

  • The Clear Creek Ranger District maintains eight developed campgrounds. All are accessed from the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, Guanella Pass Scenic Byway, I-70 and Colorado Highways 40, 103, and 119. Operating seasons vary, however most range from mid-May through mid-October. Contact the Clear Creek Ranger District for availability and detailed information on each.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is permitted along Scott Gomer Creek with a valid Colorado state fishing license. There are no fish in Deadman Lake.

Rules and Regulations

  • Dogs are permitted on the Mt Bierstadt Trail. Dogs must be leashed at all times.

  • Bikes, mechanized vehicles, and hunting are not permitted within the Mt Evans Wilderness Area.

Directions to Trailhead

The Guanella Pass - Mt Bierstadt Trailhead is located 11.8 miles south of Georgetown, CO on Guanella Pass Road.

From I-70, exit #228 for Georgetown and follow signs through town for Guanella Pass Road. Follow Guanella Pass Road south to the new parking facilities on either side of the road. Additional roadside parking is permitted in designated spaces only. The Mt Bierstadt Trail begins on the east side of Guanella Pass Road.

Contact Information

South Platte Ranger District
19316 Goddard Ranch Court
Morrison, CO 80465
303.275.5610 (phone)
303.275.5642 (fax)
Office Hours:
Monday - Friday, 8 am - 4:30 pm (excluding National Holidays)

Clear Creek Ranger District
101 Chicago Creek Road
P.O. Box 3307
Idaho Springs, CO 80452

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.


"While often considered a "tourist" or "beginners'" 14er, Bierstadt remains a 14er. A few parts of the trail, the 600 foot pitch up to the top ridge in particular, just below the final 200 or so feet to the summit, is pretty steep. What hikers, beginners and visitors in particular, ought to be prepared for, is that the well-placed and helpful rock steps that make the ascent easier can also turn the descent into a very high impact cardio workout, so invest un some good quality, well-fitting boots -- shoes expose you and your knees and ankles to a real potential for pain, or even injury. The fact that there are constant signs of people leaving the trail to use the adjacent tundra is evidence of the problem of greenhorns not educating themselves about proper footwear. Wearing sneakers doesn't mean you're tough; it means you're ill-prepared and may become someone else's problem. Trekking poles do really attenuate the impact; leave your ego at home and get the proper educqtion and equipment before you contribute to the braiding and unnecessary widening of trails. Otherwise, the trail is very well maintained and the views are stunning, particularly from the summit. The fall weather, while cold before sunrise, is generally clear and beautiful. The accessibility from metro Denver does sometimes make for crowded conditions, but going on a weekday and starting early can at least make it less crowded. "
Michael Kane  -  Colorado  -  Date Posted: September 24, 2016
"Legal hunting is permitted in the Mount Evans Wilderness. There are no fish in Deadman Lake. "
Ralph  -  Idaho Springs  -  Date Posted: August 25, 2014
"Great hike....but very strenuous in the final approach to the summit, if you're not in reasonably good physical condition! At age 68, this was definitely a challenge for me. But I did it!"
Joe  -  Lafayette, CO  -  Date Posted: August 18, 2014
"Great hike but poorly posted along guanella pass road. We had to turn around twice to find the trailhead in the early morning hours. Once there though, the experience was wonderful!"
J  -  Colorado  -  Date Posted: July 24, 2013
"It was a great hike! I did it alone, but everyone was friendly and helpful. We partied at the peak!"
Patti  -  Colorado  -  Date Posted: November 28, 2012


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