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
|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)|
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 to reach it. Visitors will enjoy sensational views and alpine wildlife on the hike to Mt Bierstadt:
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 enough 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.
GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84View these GPS points on a Google Map
- 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')
- 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 herds of elk and bighorn sheep on high open slopes, and mountain goat along inaccessible outcrops and ledges. Moose may be found along the damp, 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 Area.
- 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 is permitted in Deadmans Lake and along Scott Gomer Creek with a valid Colorado state fishing license.
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.
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.
South Platte Ranger District
19316 Goddard Ranch Court
Morrison, CO 80465
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