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Bierstadt Lake Loop

Intermediate
 4.3 (35) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A classic RMNP loop featuring aspens, glacially sculpted landscapes and a beautiful alpine lake.


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Map Key

3.1

Miles

4.9

KM

Lollipop

9,465' 2,885 m

High

8,818' 2,688 m

Low

667' 203 m

Up

676' 206 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (5°)

34%

Max Grade (19°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly This loop is short and easy enough for families. The lakeshore makes a great picnic sopt!

Overview

This is a quick loop up to and around one of RMNP's most popular destinations: Bierstadt Lake. The somewhat steep ascent to the lake will keep some visitors away, but it's well worth the effort.

Need to Know

Given the popularity of this area, visitors are advised to utilize the FREE shuttle system, rather than driving.

Description

From the parking area at the Bierstadt Lake TH, follow the well-marked and well-traveled trail through a series of switchbacks as it ascends the southern aspect of the moraine. Enjoy the constantly changing scenery as you wander through mixed forest over glacially shaped topography.

The higher you climb, the better the views get! Eventually, you'll emerge at the top of the moraine and a junction with Bierstadt Lake Loop Trail. You can pick whether to turn left or right, but both options will lead you back to this very junction.

Follow the mostly flat trail as it circumnavigates this stunningly beautiful lake. During autumn, the vibrant foliage of aspens preparing for winter will be reflected in the lake's still waters - a sight that's not to be missed! As you revel in the beauty around the lake, you'll pass multiple turn-offs for other destinations. If you want to extend your hike, consider spurring off on one of the trails. Make sure to consult the Hiking Project mobile app if considering this option.

For the purpose of this hike, stay on the Bierstadt Lake Loop. When you reach the point where you accessed the lake initially, retrace your steps down to the trailhead.

Flora & Fauna

Pine and aspen groves litter the side of this ancient glacial moraine. In autumn, look for the aspen to be showing off their best outfits!

Contacts

Shared By:

Brian Smith

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 35 votes

#7

in Bear Lake

#368

Overall
  4.3 from 35 votes
5 Star
43%
4 Star
40%
3 Star
17%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#7

in Bear Lake

#76

in Colorado

#368

Overall
163 Views Last Month
5,277 Since Jun 18, 2015
Intermediate

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80%
9%
9%
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Photos

Evening Fall Colors in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Nov 11, 2015 near Estes Park, CO
Bierstadt Lake RMNP
Jan 8, 2015 near Estes Park, CO
Bierstadt Lake Trail has some of the grandest views I've experienced in RMNP
Nov 13, 2018 near Estes Park, CO
Great view coming down the trail.  Sprague lake off to the left.
Jul 20, 2016 near Estes Park, CO
Beautiful view on a clear spring day.
Apr 5, 2018 near Estes Park, CO
Bierstadt Lake on July 21, 2016.
Jul 21, 2016 near Estes Park, CO

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Check-Ins

Sep 24, 2021
Kelly Oldham
3.1mi
Sep 15, 2021
Chris Sayko
Jul 2, 2021
Courtney Veazey-Currie
3.1mi
Jun 25, 2021
Joe Thul
Jun 6, 2021
Matthew Freeman
Like climbing stairs for the first 3rd, good views of the lake for the 2nd 3rd, lots of hummingbirds going down for the last 3rd 3.1mi — 2h 30m
Jun 3, 2021
Deborah Thompson
Fabulous hike. Snow by lake. Some mud.
May 8, 2021
An Th
Mar 5, 2021
Gina G