14er Peak Rank #38/53

Mount Bierstadt (elev. 14,060′) – featured on Colorado 14ers Maps 1 of 16 – is one of the most popular 14er hikes in Colorado, and on weekend days during the Summer one can expect to see a large number of hikers heading for the summit.  

Mount Bierstadt

Mount Bierstadt, by Robertbody at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, Link

Bierstadt is located in the Chicago Range – a sub range of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains west of Denver.  The first recorded summit of the mountain was attributed to Albert Bierstadt in 1863, an immigrant from Germany, on an expedition to Colorado searching for inspiration for a series of landscape paintings for which he would become famous. His painting below, Mountain Lake, is likely inspired by the view from Chicago Lakes beneath Mount Evans and Mount Bierstadt.

Mountain Lake by Albert Bierstadt
Mountain Lake by Albert Bierstadt

The most popular approach to Mount Bierstadt is from the west via the trailhead at Guanella Pass (11,670′) on Guanella Pass Road connecting I-70 at Georgetown with US-285 at Grant in the South (closed winters).The trail descends 130 feet in just under a mile to Scott Gomer Creek through willows, shortly after which the trail climbs 2,550 feet to the summit over the next 2.75 miles on a Class 2 route (more difficult hiking).

Bierstadt is also accessible from the North via a more challenging (Class 3 – some scrambling) and less defined route via Sawtooth Ridge (highpoint 13,780′) and Mount Evans to the east. There is a 1.2 mile route from the summit of Bierstadt to the Mount Evans Trail #51 (with the Mount Evans summit itself another 1.2 miles further southeast) that many hikers will use to summit both 14ers in a day.

View from Mount Bierstadt down to Guanella Pass

View from Mount Bierstadt down to Guanella Pass, by — Laura Scudder | TalkOwn work, GFDL, Link

Though it is considered one of the easier 14ers and a popular day hike for many in the Front Range, the usual dangers of high altitude hiking are present on Mount Bierstadt and falls are not uncommon along the Sawtooth Ridge between Evans and Bierstadt, so please take safety precautions while hiking.  Start early to avoid afternoon thunderstorms, don’t push your limits, drink plenty of water and don’t forget your 14ers maps! Mount Bierstadt is one of four 14er peaks featured on Outdoor Trail Maps Colorado 14ers Series Map 1 of 16.

Directions to Guanella Pass trailhead: 

From Interstate 70, take the Georgetown exit 228 through Georgetown to the Guanella Pass Road (county road 381) and drive 10.8 miles from the center of Georgetown to the trailhead parking lots on both sides of the road.  

From US 285, at the small town of Grant (between Bailey and Kenosha Pass), turn north on Geneva Rd / Guanella Pass Road and drive 13.1 miles to the trailhead parking lots at Guanella pass on both sides of the road.