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Would it be a mistake to drive a Nissan Altima the 1.8 miles to the Upper Trailhead?
I’ve watched videos and the road does not look too bad. On the other hand if I got stuck it would be
bad. On the bright side walking the 1.8 miles would be a good warm up. All comments appreciated.
Thank You.

My first Mountain to hike. Started at 6am and got back to my car 4pm. Beautiful views once above tree line all the way to the top. I took my time enjoying my day alone and was in no rush hung out at the top about an hour. Last August

13 days ago

Today, 4/08/18, I needed something to do. After doing some homework. Bierstadt it was. Being from Minnesota, hiking ...lets just say the mountains are a different beast. After reading numerous reviews here: my 4 year old had his first summit to the dogs and 100's...and 100's of people to contend with..well, didnt sound too challenging. But, I did read a few well written reviews to go prepared.
Not nearly for what I was about to face.
left late...really late from F.Collins (2:30pm) arrived at what was apparently the Silver Dollar parking lot as the road to the Guanella pass summit was still closed for the season...my homework skills need honing. talked to a guy there that was going to do some skiing and he thought the trailhead to Bierstadt would be a couple of miles. lucky I brought my winter gear including Sorrels, ski mask and micro spikes. headed up the hill at about 4pm. didnt need the spikes but postholed more than a few times but not bad. An hour later I was at the trailhead. Id say the wind was 40+ and the temp around 0. I knew a front was coming in but looking off to the west it seemed to be coming a good couple of hours early. I was alone and the only soul I had seen was a couple skiing down right as I set off...I really wished I had that idea..I need to think this over, if only I could get in the outhouse - frozen halfway shut and buried in snow. I get it open and have a seat. I decide to at least go a bit before turning back. I see what appears to be the start of the trail by the marker and another marker some 30 yards out. Off I go...postholing it every step. Wow..where are the snowshoes... (even those didnt seem to help one reviewer and his friends) Anyways, I realize Im out of my league here and want to see another day so after 20 or so yards of this I turn back down the mountain thinking of those skiers. Once back to my car the Blizzard hits with full force and Im out of there. I have to say..the whole experience - including the solitude and the views walking back down were soooo worth it!!!

This was the most brutal hike I've ever been on. Man it was hard. I was 28 and in solid shape at that time, but everything after 13,500f was a struggle. My dog and I made it to the top, though most people we met who started the trail had to turn around. It's worth it though! On the way down a giant piece of rock went flying between me and my dog - we were lucky not to get hurt. Make sure you get on the trail before 7am.

03/16: Drove from 800 ft elevation in mid west, stayed overnight in Leadville and started hike early morning from south Mount Elbert trailhead parking (paved road from Leadville). Usual south trail was closed for renovations and there was a new trail that shoots off of the colorado trail further north. Follow the posted directions on the Colorado trail. Just wore winter hiking boots for most part of the hike but there was about a mile stretch where I had use snowshoes. At the tree line left my snow shoes and used only hiking poles there on. The wind grew stronger as I climbed further and had to wear balaclava. The views at the summit are just amazing. It was definitely worthy.

3/12/18-- trail was covered in deep snow, if it weren't packed it would be really tough to find. But fantastic views and extremely challenging!

Did this hike back mid September last year. straightforward until 1/4 above treeline. got icy and a bit snowy. had to don microspikes. quads were buurrnniinnngg. vast wind gusts at the top, some shelter but not much. simply amazing views! 3L water was enough. trail was well marked.

cross country skiing
1 month ago

A solid intro to back country skiing. Pretty easy-going. My dad and I did this about a month ago and there was just enough snow to ski, but plenty of snow-shoers and micro-spiked hikers did just fine out there.

First 14er. The gain in elevation was harder than expected for my friend and I, which meant the hike took longer than we had planned. Best views I've ever had and the experience was exhilarating! Make sure you have plenty of water, protein and healthy fats snacks(nuts, bars, etc.). Went in October 2016, temp went back and forth between just a hoodie and needing a wind resistant, thermal coat.

They elevation made this hike more difficult, but the view from the top is definitely worth it. I started hiking around 7:50 in the morning and arrived at the summit at about 11:55. I spent about 2 and a half hours at the summit and left to head down at 2:30. I arrived at the trail head at 5:30. It was challenging but i would definitely recommend doing this hike.

great views the whole way up
well worth the effort

3 months ago

Amazing views and feeling. We made the summit by 2:05pm 01-09-18 (start time 8:53am). Lucked out with beautiful blue skies. The terrifying brownish grey clouds scattered away as we ascended out of the willow area. I'm not the fastest so took about 9 hours total. Winter trek is 11+ miles (my GPS said 12) due to having to park at Silver Dollar Lake TH as Guenella Pass is closed from there. Walked down Guenella Pass in the dark on the way back to the car, but as long as I was of the actual trail before dark I was felling comfortable and our eyes adjusted to the dark. Micro-spikes were perfect, there was no need for snowshoes. I agree with the review before me do not look over that snow bank down to frozen lake too much as its sketchy and snow is slightly deep there.

Started from the winter parking lot ~2 miles below the actual trail head (roads well plowed to this point). Round trip is about 11 miles over a mixture of packed snow, gravel, and patchy ice. Leave your snow shoes and crampons in the car, microspikes are more than sufficient. I hike pretty quickly and it took me ~7 hours (4 up, 3 down). No ave danger except at the final quarter mile up the ridge to the summit; there’s a sketch snow bank overhanging the eastern slope. Don’t get curious to peak over the edge and this is easily avoidable.

super easy made it up and down in a few hours. too many tourists.

3 months ago

Amazing trail with excellent views 100% of the time.

This is a decent trail. There is one rough section just below the first false summit but it’s doable in good weather.

fun not hard except its a 14er

this trail is the old trail. it closed summer 2017. visit 14ers.com.for the new trail.

Hiked this trail on 11/26/17 and it was snowy, but not deep at all - just packed from fellow hikers. It was slick on the way down though, when the sun had been out for a bit. I'd recommend traction for the descent at least. It was a beautiful hike with lots of people and pups on the trail, and pretty views the whole way. As expected, the summit was very cold and windy, but a fun steep ascent at the end!

11/26, failed summit attempt... 1) 5 miles before getting to the trail head was cover by snow, challenging and kind of dangerous (have to speed up to go over hills but couldnt see incoming traffic). 2) started at 730am, but heavy snow on the trail before the tree line, have to switch between snowshoes and crampons several times. 3) struggled too much just to get to the tree line (1130) plus altitude sickness, finally gave up at the first false summit (1230). Thanks for people who posted here. I have gotten good information by reading the reviews.

great trail. started at 9:40am made the summit at 12:20pm left summit at 1:20 got back to parking lot around 3. microspikes are needed although I saw people not wearing them which I thought was crazy. guenella pass is open as of now

4 months ago

Very fun and moderately hard hike. Had a blast doing it as my first 14er!

Did this trail 3 times this year. Love it. Can anyone tell me if Guanella Pass is drivable for a regular passenger car in winter?

I made it to the top today 11-5-17, it was really windy above tree line, I used micro spikes, gaiters, and trecking poles and had no problems. I would recommend a face mask, the wind and snow gave me an ice beard. I parked about 1/2 mile up the 4x4 road, started at 7:30am made it to the top at 11:30am and back to my truck at 3:45pm. The trail was easy to follow all the way to the top, below tree line there was about 1-2 inches, above the tree line on average it was ankle deep, some spots were wind swept clean other spots were mid shin drifts.

5 months ago

Completed this hike in the middle of September. Arrived at the trailhead around 5:00am and enjoyed stunning views of the open night sky and heavy silence all around. To be clear, I parked my car about a half mile away from the official trailhead. I think I may be too cautious with my vehicle as I noticed other cars with lower clearance at the trailhead upon my return, but parts of the road about are pretty gnarly so use your discretion. Hiking up the road in the dark was great- a family a deer revealed themselves as glowing eyes and then rather quietly and quickly bounced away. The trailhead begins in the woods and offers beautiful and lush pine growth. It climbs steadily for some time before emerging from the tree line. Once past the tree line, there is a brief reprieve from the climb as the trail flattens out and offers great view as you look back towards the direction you came. Good spot to take a break. The wind was really kicking up at this point without any shelter from the trees and even though the sun had risen, overcast skies and below freezing temperatures made this a bitterly cold ascent at times. The final hump is more steep travel as you can imagine, and from the shoulder is probably another hour or so to the summit. Patches of snow and ice dotted the trail on the way up. The summit is absolutely beautiful offering views of many ranges all around you. The wind was quite intense up there, so be prepared. The whole trip took me about 7 hours.

I started at 4:30 am on Sunday 10/29 to avoid the other hoards of hikers. Around 12,000 feet snow starts to cover the trail. It's pretty packed down and icy so I advise spikes/crampons. Gaiters might not be a bad idea because you will likely lose the trail due to the snow and you may fall in up to your ankles. The snow really doesn't get much worse towards the top. I peaked just as the sunrise edged over the mountains to the east and it was quite windy. I wore an arc'teryx atom LT hoodie over a base layer and a midweight shirt and I was fine until the top. I had to put on my warm parka over everything and cover my face as well as put my hood up. It's cold. It's nearly November. But it's totally doable and I love having the trail to myself. Would definitely recommend hitting this peak before it gets too snowy!

It was an hard hike but it was one of the greatest experience I had, above tree line views are mind blowing.

5 months ago

Very challenging hike. Our first 14,000 footer , it was so incredible and beautiful.

Did this trail today (10/27). It was very snow/ice-packed for most of the upper half. I’m a relatively inexperienced CO hiker but would recommend some form of microspikes, though we saw a few people who said they summitted without them (a few guys were even just wearing Vans). We turned around about 1/2 mile from the summit as it was extremely slippery and windy (I’d guess about 20-30mph gusts). We started at 11:15. Would definitely recommend an earlier start, but again, we’re inexperienced and fresh from sea level so we took a lot of breaks. Took us about 3 hours to our turn around point and almost 2 to get down. We were dressed warmly but it was extremely cold when we turned around. Still worth the effort with all the beautiful views.

5 months ago

Hiked this on Oct. 5, 2017 with Jay. We slept in his car at the trail head and started at 3 am. It happened to be a full moon that night so we were super luckily with the light from the moon. Through the beginning wooded area it was ice and it seriously required out micro spikes (we passed most people without them and I don’t know how they did it!!), then once we lost the tree line we hiked through about 4-9 inches of snow the whole way. It was incredibly difficult but the sunrise was spectacular. I did not summit as I am a bit terrified of heights and thought the final stretch vertically to the (*false*) summit looked too dangerous for me, Jay really wanted to get to the top so he made it and there were a few other people already there. The way down was sooo much easier as you just kind of tumble through the snow. Jay got a bit of altitude sickness on the way down but felt much better once we hit the tree line. The weather was gorgeous, barely a cloud in the sky. HIGHLY recommend micro spikes and I personally would never do that hike again unless it was in the peak of summer!
Start: 3 am
Summit: ~830 am
Back to car: 1 pm

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