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Mt. Bierstadt – West Slopes

Intermediate/Difficult
  4.3 ( 91 ) Favorite

Trail

7.2 mile 11.6 kilometer loop
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 2,625' 800 m
Descent: -2,624' -800 m
High: 14,016' 4,272 m
Low: 11,509' 3,508 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 14% (8°)
Max Grade: 38% (21°)

Dogs

Leashed
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Map Key

An easy intro to Colorado's 14ers on the standard West Slopes route.

Tyler Prince

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

This is perhaps Colorado's easiest and most accessible 14er, just an hour and change from Denver over Georgetown's Guanella Pass. While absolutely packed on any summer weekend with beginning hikers, experts, and trail-runners alike, Mt. Bierstadt provides some excellent views, including but not limited to one of the Denver skyline on clear days. This is the standard route most commonly used to reach the peak.

Need to Know

Generally, you should expect a 4+ hour trip, and plan accordingly. Bring sun protection, rain gear, and at least 2 liters of water.

Note: Even though land management says dogs are to be leashed, you'll see many dogs and few leashes.

Description

Drive (in any functioning automobile, 2WD is fine) up Guanella Pass from Georgetown. There is ample parking (day or night) along the road, and plenty of signs designating the TH. You'll start this hike right around tree line.

From the trailhead, follow a clearly designated trail over easy class 1 terrain with minimal vertical. After crossing over some small creeks on well-maintained footbridges, pass through some willows. After about one mile, the grade begins to increase, though the terrain remains at class 1. Approaching the two mile mark, the trail turns to the south and continues to steepen. From here the trail becomes increasingly rough all the way to the summit ridge, but will not surpass class 2. Some log steps and small to medium size rocks along the switchbacks demand at least some vigilance.

Continue upward, turning left onto a bearing E/NE up the summit ridge. This area is prone to typical Front Range weather, so be prepared for some intense winds. The summit comes into sight just a few hundred yards up the ridge. Once visible, it's just an easy 200 ft or so scramble on solid rock to the summit. This should be easy for any semi-fit human, but smaller dogs may require some assistance.

From here, you can return to the Mt. Bierstadt TH or continue to Mt. Evans via a low class 3 traverse known as "the Sawtooth."

Flora & Fauna

Willows at the start of the hike retain a lot of moisture... be ready to get wet. The 14ers Initiative does an excellent job of keeping them from getting too unruly, but plants certainly have a tendency to grow back.

Don't feed the marmots - they're feisty little creatures.

History & Background

Mt. Bierstadt is named after first summiter Albert Bierstadt, a German-American painter best known for his dramatic landscapes of the American West. At 14,065 feet, it is the 38th highest peak in Colorado.

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Check-Ins

Sep 21, 2019
Brian Lackore
7.2mi — 7h 00m
Sep 21, 2019
Matthew Kirby
Sep 21, 2019
Andrew Patterson
A gorgeous day! Mckye and I made quick work but enjoyed the journey. Ace got another. The wind was rough but worth it. Beautiful hike! 7.3mi — 3h 30m
Sep 21, 2019
Rachel Pisula
Started at 3pm with Emmett. Saw a couple at the summit and another guy coming down, but we were the last to summit at 6pm. 7.2mi — 5h 00m
Sep 20, 2019
Catherine Kirby
Sep 18, 2019
Chelsea Taylor
Trail was dry throughout, took our time coming down to geek out on plants. Graupel started coming down half mile away from the trailhead on the ret… 7.2mi — 6h 35m
Sep 13, 2019
Ian H
pretty windy at the top — 6h 30m
Sep 7, 2019
Matthew Clough
7.2mi

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 91 votes

#55

Overall
  4.3 from 91 votes
5 Star
42%
4 Star
44%
3 Star
13%
2 Star
1%
1 Star
0%
Featured Hike Rankings

#21

in Colorado

#55

Overall
382 Views Last Month
9,281 Since Feb 18, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Looking down the mountain from Mt. Bierstadt Trail
Feb 23, 2015 near Georgetown, CO
Mt Bierstadt summit view
Feb 26, 2015 near Georgetown, CO
Mount Bierstadt
Sep 19, 2017 near Georgetown, CO
A lowlander friend summits his first 14er, with some amazing views of the Front Range behind him.
Feb 18, 2015 near Georgetown, CO
Mt. Bierstadt from the main TH. Much of the route is visible, with the trail starting from the lower left of the picture and jogging up the center hill. From here it passes along the summit ridge to the right. The sawtooth is to the left of the summit.
Feb 18, 2015 near Georgetown, CO
Clearly you're above treeline for the majority of this route...
Feb 23, 2015 near Georgetown, CO

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