Trail Run Project Logo

Bierstadt Lake Loop



3.1 mile 4.9 kilometer loop
83% Runnable


Ascent: 667' 203 m
Descent: -676' -206 m
High: 9,465' 2,885 m
Low: 8,818' 2,688 m


Avg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 34% (19°)


No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Brian Smith

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

Brian Smith

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


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.

Runner Notes

This is an exceedingly popular area. It'd be best to hit this trail either early/lat day or during the off-season.


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 run, consider spurring off on one of the trails. Make sure to consult the Trail Run Project mobile app if considering this option.

For the purpose of this run, 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!

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

History & Background

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.


Rate This Run

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Run

Check In



Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 23 votes


in Bear Lake


  4.1 from 23 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Run Rankings


in Bear Lake


in Colorado


61 Views Last Month
3,833 Since Jun 18, 2015



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
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
Aspens in the valley
Sep 16, 2018 near Estes Park, CO


Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running