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Mount Bierstadt: 14er Hike Review

Mount Bierstadt (14,065ft.) is a 14er mountain located in Colorado’s Front Range, and more specifically within the Mount Evans Wilderness of Pike National Forest. Given its proximity to the Denver metro area and relatively easy accessibility from Guanella Pass, Mount Bierstadt is a massively popular mountain. Indeed, while Mount Bierstadt is the 38th tallest mountain in Colorado, it serves as an excellent introduction to hiking 14ers and is considered one of the easier 14er mountains.

The West Slopes route is the standard route to the summit of Mount Bierstadt and begins at the Guanella Pass Trailhead. The 3.6 mile route (7.2 mile roundtrip) to the peak follows a Class 1 trail, with a bit of Class 2 boulder scrambling near the summit. Starting at approximately 11,660ft. in elevation at the trailhead, the route gains about 2,405ft. to reach the summit. For those feeling ambitious, a popular option is to extend the outing and summit nearby Mount Evans as well.

Hike Review Series: Mount Bierstadt

Mountain Information

Mount Bierstadt is named in honor of legendary American painter Albert Bierstadt, who is particularly renowned for his landscape artwork, some of which features beautiful Rocky Mountain scenery. As part of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, Mount Bierstadt resides within the Mount Evans Wilderness and the Pike National Forest. Only a short drive from the old silver mining town of Georgetown, the West Slopes route to Mount Bierstadt’s summit begins at the popular Guanella Pass. Given that Mount Bierstadt is roughly only 50 miles from the Denver metro corridor and sees extensive use in the prime summer months, expect lots of crowds. At 14,065ft., Mount Bierstadt holds the distinction of the 38th tallest mountain in Colorado and is a fantastic option as a beginner 14er hike.

Mount Bierstadt

  • Summit Elevation: 14,065ft.
  • Range: Front
  • Sub-Range: Central Front
  • Location: Mount Evans Wilderness
  • Nearest Town: Georgetown

Trail Guide


The trailhead for the West Slopes route to the summit of Mount Bierstadt is easily accessible and does not require a 4WD vehicle. The route begins at the Guanella Pass Trailhead off of Guanella Pass Road. The trailhead has a large parking area for about 75 vehicles, but given the close proximity to Denver, only very early arrivals are likely to secure a parking spot here. If the trailhead lot is full, park in the upper lot for Square Tops Lakes or along Guanella Pass Road. 

The West Slopes route itself is very straightforward. An easy to follow trail begins at the trailhead and leads to just below the Mount Bierstadt summit. The beginning part of the hike starts along footbridges due to it being part of a marshy drainage area. Hike along the Class 1 Mount Bierstadt Trail throughout the ascent until reaching some relatively easy Class 2 scrambling to reach the summit.

Route Information

  • Route: West Slopes
  • Class: 2
  • Type: Out-and-Back
  • Trailhead: Guanella Pass
  • Trailhead Elevation: 11,660ft.
  • Route Length: 7.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,405ft.
Fun Factor

Route Instructions

Planning Tips

Provisions and Dining

The towns of Georgetown, CO and Idaho Springs, CO are reasonably close to the Guanella Pass Trailhead. If you plan to stop somewhere for a bite to eat after your hike, you’ll have a few options to choose from. Below are a couple of our recommendations for places to stop in either town.

Men’s Arc’teryx Atom LT

In our opinion, the best guidebook for information on Colorado’s 14er mountains is Gerry Roach’s Colorado’s Fourteeners: From Hikes to Climbs. All other guidebooks pale in comparison. Thus, this book will suit you well for hiking Mount Bierstadt, and come in handy for any future 14er adventures.

Although the West Slopes route to Mount Bierstadt is very straightforward, we always recommend carrying a map such as the Mount Evans Wilderness – Colorado Topographic Hiking Map from Outdoor Trail Maps. In addition, we included a couple of our favorite field guides for plant and bird identification. These guides provide useful information that adds to the outdoors experience and help answer questions about animal and flower species. 

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