Mount Bierstadt Trail

HARD 1,103 reviews
#1 of 27 trails in

Mount Bierstadt Trail is a 6.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Idaho Springs, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,729 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

skiing

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

snow

no shade

The trail is almost entirely in the Mount Evans Wilderness. No mountain bikes are allowed in the Wilderness. Stay on the trail to avoid trampling the vegetation. This is a great all day hike in which you will climb two 4ers, Mount Bierstadt and Mount Evans. In the process you will also traverse the saw tooth that separates these two mountains. The hike up Bierstadt itself is fairly easy however the crossing of the saw tooth will take you on a very intense class 3 scramble and is not dog or child friendly. In fact, its not friendly for anyone who is not in shape or not able to take on a class 3 scramble. Its a great hike and a fun way to bag two 14ers in one day! Start out early if you plan to do both peaks, especially if you aren't used to the altitude. Wear clothes that will keep you warn during the ascent up Mount Bierstadt and that will be easy to shed once you reach the peak and sunshine. Also, be prepared for strong winds and colder temps on the way up Bierstadt. Leather gloves can be used for the crossing of the saw tooth.

hiking
3 days ago

As with many others, this was my first "fourteener" and it was a blast. Couldn't of asked for better weather. Stayed in Georgetown, and got to the Guanella pass parking lot at approximately 0600. Yes, it was already full, however the summit overlook parking lot still had spaces left.I'm a flatlander from northeast Ks. but went prepared. Took my time, with frequent breaks, especially the higher I got. The scramble to the top was probably the toughest part, but by that point you've gone to far to not do it. While many folks, myself included, do Mount Bierstadt because their research reports it as being the easiest fourteener. Be forewarned - if you are a flatlander, even one who is in decent shape, there is nothing easy about trying to breathe at altitude.However do not let that dissuade you from doing this hike, as I can assure you that you will not be alone. Start to finish approximately 6 hours, half hour to 45 minutes on the summit.

5 days ago

Great 14er for first timers and out of staters.

6 days ago

Went on a Saturday morning, arrived at 615 at trailhead and couldn't believe all the people there. But at least it was good company on the trail.

My wife and I made it up to 13,500 with a 2 and 5 year old. 2 yr old we had to carry the whole way, 5 yr old was able to do some hiking but we still had to carry a decent amount (she did great on the way down). This was very tough with the kids, I pride myself in my abilities to do bigger hikes with the kids. The kids had enough at this point, we stopped my wife and kids ate while I pushed as hard as possible up to the top.

At times on way up, it felt like torture carrying the kids but the views were amazing. Last section solo, pushing very hard and was getting headaches.

Views on top great. My first 14er.

6 days ago

Three stars for being a 14er and the boulder scramble to the summit which was a blast. Overall more of a moderate hike than hard... Lost two stars for the crowds (which are huge), exposure start to finish (no relief of making it to treeline and shade on the descent for this one), and the view (not fantastic-there are other 14ers and 13ers with better views). Do it to bag a 14er, but not really any other reason to go.

6 days ago

Excellent "first fourteener" hike. Trail is well-maintained and clear until the rocks; follow cairns to reach the top. parkling lot was nearly full by 4am, even on a day with forecasted storms. Really great trail with great views, very cool to see where you're going and then where you came from. Always keep an eye on the sky!

hiking
11 days ago

This was our first 14er (with 3 kids, 9, 12, and 15 yrs) and it certainly was the highlight of our 9-day trip to Colorado. We decided on Bierstadt since there were only 3 peaks recommended for the 1st timers and/or with kids (Sherman, Quandary Peak and Bierstadt) and the location of Bierstadt worked best with our schedule. We left the trailhead parking lot around 6:15 am and came back around 1:10 pm so it took about 7 hours total (roughly 4 hours to ascend, 30 min at the summit, and 2.5 hours to descend. My Garmin showed a round trip of 7.8 miles and 2400 ft of elevation gain). We had done longer hikes with more elevation gains before but since we had never done a hike at this altitude (we're from Chicago and we did this hike on the 6th day of our Colorado trip) we took our time going up. We had read the reviews so we were prepared for the rock scramble at the top and had all the gear we needed such as trekking poles, gloves, hats, wind/rain proof jackets, etc. It was amazing to stand at the top of the mountain with my husband and kids and look down below where we had hiked from and the beautiful scenery all around!!

11 days ago

Did this hike on Saturday 8/4 and it was my second 14er. It was definitely easier than my first which was Grays, but it was still a very long hike and I was exhausted by the end of it. It was so beautiful though and worth the climb to the top! Bring lots of layers and gloves since it was pretty cold and windy. We started at 430 am to avoid the chaos with the amount of people getting there and we were happy we did that even though everyone we met along the way was very nice. My mind still gets blown that people head up at 12 or 1 and think that’s a smart idea..storms roll in people! Be safe about it :)

hiking
11 days ago

Hiked this yesterday, Sunday August 5th with my sister and brother in law and family - was an incredible experience. All the comments about being clothed in layers are right on. As we began the ascent through the boulder field beneath the summit, a summer squall came through with winds up to 50 miles an hour with sleet and hail and it got downright cold. After that passed and we reached the top, the views are magnificent. Although rated as an Easy hike by some, the boulder field is a considerable challenge, more so on the way down. As a sixty-nine year old male in excellent condition, but who lives year round in New Jersey, this was all the challenge I needed. Easy road access to the trail head with plentiful parking and “rest rooms” contribute to making this an ideal climb.

hiking
12 days ago

This is my second 14er of the summer and the views are beautiful! Hiked on Saturday. Plan to get there very early as parking lot and trail were packed by 6:30am. Because it’s rated as one of the easier 14ers, lots of folks try to do it. No 14er is ever easy so be fully prepared for all conditions. Cold and windy at top - I was happy to have extra layers and gloves. Hiking poles were helpful until the top scramble. Large boulders that take a while to climb and are packed with people. Because the trail was so busy, it took us 2 hours and 45 minutes to summit and just as much time to get back. It was a steady line of people the whole way. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen as there is virtually no shade the entire time.

hiking
12 days ago

This is the first 14ner we have ever done, it was AMAZING!! People say that it is the easiest one in Colorado, not easy by any means but well worth every step. We were blessed to see a Moose couple and a Mountain Goat family. Please read the comments that are left by others, they are very helpful. I think the mileage on this on may be a bit off. Our count on Samsung Health was almost 9.5 miles. We arrived at 6ish on a Wednesday and the parking lot was almost full. It was a busy trail but everyone you meet is very encouraging and offer motivation to get to the top. Cant wait to hit the next one!!

hiking
12 days ago

Lost Orange Garmin GPS today :(
If found please call 303-717-4127

Got there 0430, plenty of parking, did step into creek right away so glad I brought extra socks! Today was rainy and super windy, please bring a down jacket and warm gloves...poles were a huge help! Beautiful! I can’t wait to go back in a clearer day :)

hiking
12 days ago

If you want to park in the trailhead lot you will have to get there around 5am. This is a very busy hike. Started the hike at 6am with temps in the high 30s. It took 2 hours to get to the top with a couple minute breaks in between. I was grateful for past reviews recommending gloves for the cold and the scramble when you get to the top. We spent an hour at the top drinking some wine and took 1.5 hours coming down. Overall, a great hike for everyone!

hiking
13 days ago

Don’t forget - gloves, sandwiches for the top, several layers for wind and temp, poles would have been nice to have especially for the descent.

This was my first 14er, so it was certainly challenging but the reward was worth it! For context, I’m in my late twenties, have been living at altitude for 2 months, and have done several 4-5 mile hikes before this one. We started hiking at 8am. Took 2:50 to get to summit, 45 mins at summit, 2 hours down.

The ascent was rough on the lungs but we took it slow and steady with many small breaks along the way. The hike was very crowded but we expected that after reading other reviews. You climb up boulders the last short stretch to get to the top, and the top is basically a boulder field. So we found a couple rocks to sit on that were shielded from the wind. When the sun went behind the clouds at the top and the wind picked up, wind chill was probably 35. The peak was crowded but everyone was friendly and encouraging. The decent was long and tough on the quads. Poles would’ve been nice!

hiking
13 days ago

My first 14er! Arrived on Saturday at 8AM. Plenty of street parking about ¼ of a mile past the lot. The trail was packed but I didn’t mind it much. Everyone was in a great mood and it almost felt like a big party. I doubted the ‘Hard’ rating when I saw 6.9 miles, but I have to say that this hike is definitely not easy. Overall a fun hike, very windy and no shade so come prepared. Also, don’t drink too much water if you’re going on a busy day. I had to run into a hedge 'forest' and relieve myself when I got down off the mountain. There’s pretty much nowhere to hide during the majority of the hike. Although there are restrooms at the parking lot

14 days ago

Arrived on Friday at 8am, the parking lot was full but we found street parking right by the trail head and bathrooms. The weather was overcast and had a light drizzle so I would say this kept some people away.

The first mile of the trail crosses a meadow which is relatively flat. There is hedges on both sides and a water crossing. Keep your balance on the rocks or you could get wet shoes. This first part also offers numerous areas to hide and relieve yourself.

After the meadow begins the ascent which is relatively easy but offers no cover. You then arrive at the "False summit" this is a good place to catch your breath and prepare for light scrambling/bouldering to the summit. Probably 15 minutes or less.

Given the weather conditions the summit was quite cold. Gloves help your hands from going numb. After giving the traditional high fives, fist bumps, and photo opportunities we headed down as the weather was getting worse.

Be careful during the scramble/bouldering off the summit especially if the rocks are wet. After returning to the well marked trail the decent is quite easy as there are not many areas to lose your footing.

It took 2 hours 10 minutes to get to the top and 1 hour 55 minutes to get down. This was accomplished by 3 forty year old males who live in Florida. This was our 5th 14er and probably the easiest even with the rain and wet conditions.

14 days ago

Good hike - solid, consistent ascent after you pass approx 1.5 mile mark. A lot of boulders / scrambling at the end. Cold at the top and wind picked up so definitely be prepared. Took us 4 hours all in with a short stop at the top

15 days ago

Solid. Wouldn’t do twice bc there are better views with better hikes. But 9 miles total, 3.5 hours

hiking
16 days ago

Came all the way from Michigan and took my daughter for her first 14er. Left the trail head when it started to get light around 6am. There was a huge group from Texas Roadhouse also, so it was pretty busy. The trail was pretty wet to begin, we did a lot of puddle hopping until we started to ascend in earnest. Saw a moose on the way up and a few marmot. There were plenty of wildflowers. Started to get windy and cold at the saddle below the summit, but at the top it was warm and calm. It's a really fun scramble to the top. There was hardly any room to move at the summit though because there were so many people. Some guy was dressed in an armadillo costume which was amusing. There were a lot of dogs also, but they were all very well behaved. Got back around 1pm just in time to miss afternoon thunderstorms. A really nice climb for your first 14er.

hiking
17 days ago

My first 14er! Got to the lot at 7:28, we were surprised that it was only 28°...bring extra layers. We thought it was a little bit longer than 6.9 on Apple watches clocking at 7.28 (not including a section we forgot to track at the beginning but we did meander near the top). We had my one year old dog on leash, he is about 70 pounds. We made it to the top but the boulder field near the summit can be hard with a dog on leash. We would definitely do this hike again, so beautiful with wildlife, flowers and it will get your heart bumpin!

hiking
18 days ago

Climbed on a Saturday morning and it was very crowded. Started at 6:45 and the parking lot and road was packed. Took 3 hours to summit, 1.5 to come down and took .5 hour at the top. Was beautiful and a nice but challenging hike (I typically hike 6-10 miles every weekend).

If you're planning to hike to the top would recommend good hiking shoes, a waterproof jacket (it rained on us), snacks and 2 liters of water minimum. The top 1.5+ miles was very cold and windy. I would also recommend no dogs, unless your pup is a regular on the mountains as the peak is very rocky.

Overall, would do it again.

hiking
18 days ago

Great hike. Made it to the top in an hour and forty minutes, spent an hour at the top, and then came back down in about two hours. Left at 7:50 am and returned to the car before noon. Definitely pushed the pace on the way up and then took it easy and looked at scenery on the way down. Overall great experience for some hiker from Iowa.

19 days ago

Superb trail

trail running
19 days ago

Easy and beautiful 14er! Start early! I saw people trying to begin at 11am as I was almost back to the lot, and there was a storm rolling in. Please be careful and be on your way DOWN by noon, especially if you see the weather changing.
Also I don’t know why people think they can do this in chacos, I saw at least five people on their way up in them, it’s not a good idea.

20 days ago

Great first 14er, but even after living in Denver for 2 months coming from Iowa the altitude was difficult. It felt great to finally be done and to have accomplished the trek, but it wasn’t the most interesting trail up to the top.

Very busy! Arrived from Denver on Saturday 7/28 at 530 and main lot was full, but had no problem parking on the side of the road near the lot. There are bathrooms at the trail head, but bring hand sanitizer. :)

Overall, great experience. Definitely accurate rating as a hard hike. Trekking poles would have been helpful, especially for shorter people because the rock “steps” were challenging (I am 5’2).

Also, windbreakers and gloves are a must. VERY windy at top. Start early. Started at 6am, 2.5 hours to the top, 2 hours down. Spent almost an hour at the top.

Did see people of all skill levels, ages, and body types...so it is possible!

20 days ago

great. just great.

hiking
20 days ago

Update: we found the missing dog, Taco, close to the summit around midnight and brought him safely to his owners. He was fine & in good spirits. :)

We left at 9:20pm for a full moon hike, and it was wonderful. Many in our group only used their headlamps on the steep, rocky downhill from the Bierstadt summit. Speaking of which, a couple dogs in our group were carried down a few parts because they didn’t like how steep it was. Other dogs were totally fine though. Weather was cold at the top so we didn’t linger long, and trail conditions weren’t bad after an earlier storm.

21 days ago

My friends lost their dog today on the trail!! His name is Taco and is half corgi and Akita - one brown eye one blue. If you happened to see him please call 3034479378 !!

hiking
21 days ago

I really enjoyed this 14er! Got there early and beat the crowd...that I passed on the way down. I actually had a lot of fun with the chose your own adventure rock scrabble at the top. I will certainly be back, with company next time.

hiking
21 days ago

Go early, enjoy the views, embrace the crowds and remember to love the hike itself.

22 days ago

was my kids and my first 14er! (they are 16 and 12). we got up in 2 hours 45 minutes and down in 1.5 hours.

be sure to check the weather! We saw many people just starting up when we were almost back at 130 pm. weather reports were calling for severe thunderstorms at 2 pm.

bring lots of water and trail snacks and hat, gloves, jacket..... it gets windy at the top!

even on Thursday morning at 8 am. the parking lot was full and lots of folks out on the trail

all the dogs we encountered were not on leash, even though its supposedly a rule. I didn't bring mine this time as I wanted to see what it was like b4 taking them on one. one of my dogs doesn't do well with loose dogs running up to her so this would have been a disaster.

the hike is amazing and the views at the top are stunning!

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