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Bierstadt Peak

Length: Approx. 6 miles roundtrip
Highlights: 
14,060 ft. peak!
Difficulty Rating:
Advanced
Elevation Gain: Approx. 3,000 ft.

Below:  A great view of Sawtooth and Bierstadt peak (right)

Highlights:  Wildlife, great views of Greys and Torreys and fascinating close-ups of tourists on Mt. Evans just a little more than a mile away!

Directions: Take I-70 to exit 228 at Georgetown and follow the signs for Guanella Pass. The Guanella Pass Road is easily passable for 2WD autos but it is mostly dirt and an occasional rough spot will make the eleven mile drive to the top of the pass and the trailhead seem longer than it is. The trailhead is clearly marked and will be on your left along with ample parking.
 

Description:
Mt. Bierstadt is not in Summit County but it is so accessible it is impossible for any hiker who truly "likes to be on top" to resist the temptation to strive for its 14,060' summit. From the trailhead you can clearly see Bierstadt's rounded summit and the rugged Sawtooth just to the northeast.
 

 Below: Loading our gear and posing for a quick picture at the trailhead. It could not have been a nicer day!


Check out Summit County Explorer's
"I LIKE TO BE ON TOP"
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For the first mile or so the path descends through the notorious willows
that plagued hikers in the past. A clear trail, complete with boardwalks, now make this a pleasant walk. Keep an eye out for wildlife as several hikers recently reported seeing mountain lion enjoying their vantage point from rocky ledges in the early morning sun. However, on our
recent trek to the summit we encountered only mule deer, rabbits and
ptarmigian.

As you begin your climb through a long series of switchbacks that lead to the ridge just below the summit, enjoy the views of Grey and Torreys off to the west.

You can also spot Long's Peak to the north. The last
quarter of a mile or so requires a final pull and rock scramble to the summit.

Cairns are not always easy to spot here so pick your way carefully.

 

 
Above:  Looking back to where we came from. In the dark green band of foliage is the parking lot... Check out the blue sky! We had a perfectly clear day.

Above:  The last pull to the peak... A SCE explorer rests on the edge of a boulder (center)

 

 
One disadvantage is that on the way down you can easily see the parking lot off in the distance. It often seems like you are not getting any closer!

However, while it is true there is no such thing as an "easy" fourteener, Bierstadt enjoys a well deserved reputation as one of the easiest!

 

 
The last steps to the peak (inset) and the arms raised in VICTORY! Looking out towards Quandry. It was about 80 degrees and a refreshing breeze at the peak!

Two SCE explorers sporting the "I like to Be On Top T-Shirts enjoying lunch. We had the opportunity to hang out on the peak for over an hour before we decided to head back down!

 

   

 

 
  beginner intermediate advanced
    Black Powder Pass   Mohawk Lake   Quandary Peak  14,265'
    Lily Pad   Chihuahua Gulch   Lincoln & Bross 14,291' / 14,177'
    St. John's   Mt. Royal   Bierstadt Peak 14,060'
    Mayflower Gulch   Wheeler Lakes   Willow & Salmon Lakes
    Loveland Pass   Radical Hill Trail   Upper Crystal Lake
    Salt Lick Trail   McCullough Gulch   Gray's & Torrey's 14,278' / 14,267'
    Mesa Cortina Trail   Mt. Sniktau   Mt. Democrat 14,152'
    St. Mary's Glacier   North Ten Mile Trail   Mt. Victoria
    Sally Barber Mine   Willow Falls  

Mt. Elbert  14,433'

    Oro Grande Trail   Eaglesmere Lakes   Buffalo Mountain  12,777'
    Meadow Creek-Salt Lick   Mosquito Pass   Eccles Pass
    Shrine Mountain Trail   Webster Pass   Mt. Huron  14,003'
    Ptarmigan Trail   Ptarmigan via Wilder Gulch    
    Peaks Tr. Barton Gulch   Wheeler Lake - Park County    
    Hoosier Pass Loop   Lenawee Trail    

 

  Spruce Creek Loop   Nightmare on Baldy Mine    
    Tenderfoot Mountain Trail        
   

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Note: The Summit County Explorer website is for entertainment purposes only. SCE will not be held liable for the any accidents or injuries resulting from the activities listed on this site. Trail conditions change daily and we assume no responsibility for the safety of any individual during any of these activities. Please consult actual trail guides and maps before attempting any of the activities mentioned here.