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blueBlack Mt. Bierstadt – West Slopes

  4.3 ( 71 )

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Trail

7.2 mile 11.6 kilometer loop
Singletrack
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

Apr 14, 2019
aikibujin
With Polar. Saw only 5 people today, three turned around right before the summit.
Apr 8, 2019
Jeff Zhang
Nov 2, 2018
Curtis Vanden Bos
Summit today during some very high winds and poor conditions. 7.2mi
Oct 26, 2018
Jose Crespo
Midway Trail covered by snow; to feel more safe use Tracks/Crampons. You can run/jog it on your way down. 7.2mi
Oct 23, 2018
Rachel Bates
Good hike, snowy near the summit. Need to be prepared for snowy trails with spikes and walking poles.
Oct 17, 2018
Shane McNabb
Oct 14, 2018
Ty Morris
Sep 30, 2018
Joe Martinez
Christian 4up 4dwn Not sick Nice weather

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 71 votes

#52

Overall
  4.3 from 71 votes
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41%
4 Star
46%
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11%
2 Star
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Rankings

#20

in Colorado

#52

Overall
149 Views Last Month
6,295 Since Feb 18, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

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J Erik Hartel
Monument, CO
J Erik Hartel   Monument, CO
Weekend hiking traffic was crazy, especially at the top. That said, the views were spectacular and the hike was, by far, the easiest of the three other 14'ers we've done. The CFI trail crew was working the trail at the base of the climb. Kudos to the hard-working volunteers of the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative. This is one of the best maintained trails in Colorado. During peak season, I'd recommend this hike (1) early ~5:30-6:30AM and (2) on a workday. Otherwise, you'll contend with literally thousands of hard-core and blatantly amateur hikers trying to summit. Jun 26, 2016

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