Trail Report - Mount Bierstadt - Colorado

August 15, 2018

Written by Paul van Valkenburgh

Showing Small Pictures    

Mount Bierstadt! Colorado - 14,060'
West Slopes Route
7.5 Miles Round Trip
2850 feet of elevation gain

Beautiful Evans Sawtooth Bierstadt Area

The Sawtooth

Mount Bierstadt! "There's no such thing as an easy 14er!" ... a true statement. But having said that, in a comparative sense, Mount Bierstadt might be one of the easiest. But boy is this a beautiful hike! The trailhead at Guanella Pass is right on a paved road and the trail itself gently moves up the West Slopes of Mount Bierstadt. There's a nice little summit block with some rock scrambling to keep you honest, but this hike is easily do-able by just about all and is a great foray into the high mountain peaks. Plus it's only an hour or so outside of Denver. Because of these things, on a nice Summer day, you will surely share the trail and summit with others! Great to see hikers out there!

The Mount Bierstadt Sign

The Sawtooth And Bierstadt Awaken

Once you park at the Guanella Pass parking lot, you move slightly downhill into a wetlands area. This area is really nice due to the excellent wood bridges that allow you to stay dry as you cross the area! You will experience easy going hiking through willows, across a creek, by a lake and more!

Easy Going Trail Through Willows And Wetlands

Nice Bridges Take You Through The Willows

Creek In The Low Lying Areas

A Lake In The Low Lying Areas

Eventually you come out of the wetlands area and begin up the slopes of Mount Bierstadt. The trail is great and there are no route finding issues even for a beginner hiker.

Beautiful Scenery On Hike Up Mt Bierstadt

Beautiful Scenery On Hike Up Mt Bierstadt

Gaining Some Elevation Above The Wetlands

Leaving The Willow sOn Bierstadt

Gentle Slopes Of Bierstadt

Bonus!! - The Sawtooth!! So, Mount Bierstadt has a connecting ridge to its North which is called The Sawtooth! (I think the name is for both the 13,780 peak but also the gnarly ridge itself.) As you move up the slopes of Bierstadt, the views of The Sawtooth are AMAZING! There is a class 3 route that crosses from Biertadt over The Sawtooth and then up to Mount Evans. It actually crosses through one of the jagged notches on the ridge and traverses ledges on the West side (which is the side you see as you hike from Guanella Pass). The route description on states the ledges are easier than they appear.. but let's just say it looks SCARY! Looking forward to checking it out one day!

One other note about The Sawtooth hike is that if you combine it with the East Ridge of Bierstadt starting from a descent of Mt. Evans... then over Bierstadt, across The Sawtooth and back up Mount Evans, this is the famed 'Tour D'Abyss' route!

West Slopes Of Bierstadt

Looking Down The West Slopes Of Bierstadt

Back to the Mount Bierstadt hike... So once you get to the top of the West Slope, you're now on the summit ridge where you can see to the East basin (and the East Ridge, part of the Tour D'Abyss mentioned above). All that remains is to cross the ridge and then up the summit block to the top of Mount Bierstadt.

The views from the summit of Mount Bierstadt are excellent. Gorgeous scenery looking back over Guanella Pass, down to The Sawtooth and over to Mount Evans are all breathtaking! This is a great hike I would recommend to anyone wanting to have a super fun day... even beginners.

Arriving At South Ridge

Pano Of Tour D Abyss

View Down To East To Basin From Ridge

The Final Pitch ToT he Summit Of Bierstadt

The Summit Of Mount Bierstadt

ViewWest From The Summit Of Mount Bierstadt

View South From The Summit Of Mount Bierstadt

East Ridge Of Bierstadt

And be sure to check out the fun town of Georgetown, CO on the way back!

Hope this has been enjoyable and / or helpful to anyone reading it!!


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