Mount Bierstadt is likely the most popular 14er (peak above 14,000 feet) trail in Colorado. Its proximity to Denver, combined with its well marked, fairly easy trail without much scrambling, makes it a perfect first 14er to conquer. The entire trail is breathtaking. Plan to get there super early, the parking lot is usually full by 6:30 AM, and even earlier than that on weekends. You also want to beat out the thunderstorms that are common after noon at high elevations.
Starting from the Guanella Pass Trailhead, you head off actually going down in elevation into the valley, over wooden boardwalks between willows and over Scott Gomer Creek. You pass a gorgeous mountain lake close to the trailhead. You then start the steady climb to the summit.
It will feel like quite a trek, but keep pushing, you'll be rewarded with better and better views. The only real scrambling over boulders occurs close to the summit. (See below)
Gorgeous 360 degree views await at the summit. To the east you will see Evans and the Sawtooth. Abyss Lake lies in the valley between Bierstadt and Evans. To the West you'll see an entire landscape of peaks, including Grey's and Torrey's. You will even see the parking lot you started from!
Celebrate your accomplishment at the top! Climbing a 14er is no small feat. Take a selfie with the gorgeous backdrop! Have a summit beer! Make new friends! Watch marmots and pika scurry around the mountaintop. If you're lucky, you may even see a few mountain goats on the summit.
Bierstadt is a perfect first 14er. Just be aware it is extremely popular and you will likely be sharing the summit with hordes of other people. If you are an experienced mountaineer, you can continue on the sawtooth trail east of Bierstadt, and summit Evans in the same day. The sawtooth is a class 3 hike with decent exposure, so only experienced mountaineers should attempt this.
Overall this is a quintessential Colorado adventure. Sweeping mountain vistas. Wildlife and wildflowers galore! Feeling on top of the world! Get there early, be prepared, bring lots of water and sunscreen. This will be an adventure to remember!
Climbing a 14er is no small feat! Celebrate with gorgeous views at the top, celebratory selfies, maybe even a summit beer! Just remember to leave no trace, and pack out your trash and any trash you find.
Mount Evans Wilderness is within Arapaho National Forest, therefore dispersed camping is allowed. Be sure to follow the rules and regulations found here. If you are looking to reserve a campsite near the trailhead, Guanella Pass Campground or Burning Bear Campground are both great options. Always remember to practice leave no trace principles when camping.
With almost 3,000 feet of elevation gain, this trail provides a great opportunity to get in a workout. A fairly wide path and steady gain makes it a great trail for trail running.
The Mount Bierstadt Trailhead lies on Guanella Pass, a road between Georgetown (off I-70) and Grant (off Highway 285). This pass is closed during winters. Also be aware that this is likely the most popular 14er in the state and the parking lot is fairly small. Expect it to fill before 6:30 AM on weekdays and even earlier on weekends. Plan to get there before sunrise and enjoy the beauty of the first light touching the mountains as you hike!