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Mt. Bierstadt – West Slopes

 4.3 (69)

7.2 Miles 11.6 Kilometers


63%

Runnable

2,625' 800 m

Ascent

-2,624' -800 m

Descent

14%

Avg Grade (8°)

38%

Max Grade (21°)

14,016' 4,272 m

High

11,509' 3,508 m

Low

Shared By Tyler Prince

Conditions


All Clear 4 days ago
Dry History

Getting forecast...

An easy intro to Colorado's 14ers on the standard West Slopes route.

Tyler Prince

Dogs Leashed

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.

Runner Notes

The bottom 60% or so is fairly runnable, after which rocks and steep grades render maintaining any speed extremely difficult. While this is a relatively easy run, it still takes faster runners almost two hours.

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 run 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 run 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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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Sep 15, 2018
Mike McIver
Sep 2, 2018
Gannon Duckworth
7.5mi
Jul 25, 2018
G Raahauge
Jul 2, 2018
Bryce Kerscher
Felt good. My dog was "doggin it" towards the top. 7.2mi
Oct 18, 2017
Mike Nold
Planned on adding Mt Evans via the sawtooth, as it was sunny and in the 40s, but my breathable trailrunners and frozen toes had other plans. 7.2mi — 3h 45m
Sep 15, 2017
Mr Singleton
7.2mi — 1h 54m
Sep 3, 2017
Ann Christensen
Aug 31, 2017
Daniel Kinney
https://www.strava.com/activities/1161565864 7.2mi — 2h 14m

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 69 votes

#41

Overall
  4.3 from 69 votes
5 Star
41%
4 Star
46%
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12%
2 Star
1%
1 Star
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Rankings

#18

in Colorado

#41

Overall
751 Views Last Month
5,455 Since Feb 18, 2015
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