Mt Bierstadt Standard Route Guide

Mt Bierstadt is an extremely popular 14er close to Denver and other Front Range cities. Named after the famous painter Albert Bierstadt, its standard route up its West Slopes is an easy Class 2 Scramble. The trailhead is accessible to all vehicles, and can be reached within 90 minutes from Denver. Get all the info on what to expect with my Mt Bierstadt Standard Route Guide.

NEW TO 14ERS? CHECK OUT MY BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR A SAFE FIRST SUMMIT!

Mt. Bierstadt Fast Facts

  • Standard Route: West Slopes
  • Trailhead: Guanella Pass
  • Elevation Gain: 2,850 feet
  • Round-Trip Distance: 7.0 Miles
  • Difficulty Level: Class 2 Scramble
  • Range: Front Range

Mt Bierstadt Standard Route Guide

Leave the Guanella Trailhead taking the well-groomed trail, with the Sawtooth ahead of you. You’ll lose several hundred feet of elevation as you approach Scott Gomer Creek. There are great boardwalks to keep you out of mud, and you pass by good areas to see elk and moose by the lake. At the Cree crossing, use the rocks to cross and take your time… Take care as you cross to avoid getting wet shoes – no fun at all!

RELATED READ: PREPARING FOR A 14ER CLIMB LIKE AN EAGLE SCOUT

Mt Bierstadt Standard Route Guide

After the creek crossing gradually pick up elevation as you head towards a small rib – this is your route up to the broad, gentle west slope. The trail here gets more rocky and the elevation gain picks up considerably. 

Mt Bierstadt Standard Route Guide

Once up on the West Slopes, you begin to take a series of gentle switchbacks up the mountain. Be mindful of the trail – cutting the path leads to long-term damage. Look for the series of large poles installed by the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative along with the large cairns (rock piles) to stay on track. 

RELATED READ: BEGINNERS GUIDE TO HIKING 14ERS

Mt Bierstadt Standard Route Guide

Once you reach the summit ridge, take a left straight up the hump of boulders lying in front of you. There are many different ways to scramble up this final section. You can look for cairns to mark trail segments that are easy, or create or own line for more of a challenge. There may be snow if you are climbing early in the year – avoid it if you can.

Mt Bierstadt Standard Route Guide

From the summit, you have views of Mt. Evans across the valley, Grays and Torreys Peak to the East, Longs Peak to the North, and Pikes Peak to South. Enjoy a summit beer and a sandwhich before taking the same route in reverse to descend. Be sure to be off the summit by noon during the summer to avoid afternoon thunderstorms. I hope my Mt Bierstadt Standard Route Guide was helpful. Looking for more info on this route? Visit 14ers.com or summitpost.com.

RELATED READ: WE SCREWED UP SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO – 10 TIPS FROM 14ER VETERANS

Mt Bierstadt Standard Route Guide

MT BIERSTADT WEATHER FORECAST

Hiking & climbing 14ers is an inherently high-risk activity – do so at your own risk, and use the following best practices to help keep yourself safe.

  1. Research your route and bring a compass & topographic map.
  2. Check the weather forecast and stay home during inclement weather.
  3. Bring the Ten Essentials and the knowledge/skill to use them.
  4. Leave your plans with someone back home along with a detailed itinerary.
  5. Start early, and end early: Be back at tree line by noon to avoid lightning.
  6. Bring a buddy on your first ascent, preferably someone experienced.

NEW TO 14ERS? CHECK OUT MY BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR A SAFE FIRST SUMMIT!

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About the Author: Alex Derr

Alex Derr is a mountaineer and blogger based in Denver Colorado. He is working to climb Colorado’s highest 100 peaks, and the 20 tallest peaks in California. He created The Next Summit to share advice, stories, history & reflections from the Colorado Rockies & Sierra Nevada. When not climbing, he is managing the Communications strategy at Visible Network Labs.