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Mount Bierstadt

A Perfect Beginner Fourteener
Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 6.9 miles
Duration: Half day

Overview :  Nestled in the heart of the Front Range mountains, and with superb access from the Denver metropolis, Mount Bierstadt is a terrific... more »

Tips:  Access to Bierstadt is best from the top of Guanella Pass, where there is an obvious parking lot and restroom. As of June 2010,... more »

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Points of Interest

1. The Willows

These beautiful and pleasant wetland shrubs can be objects of endless frustration. The notorious "Willows" almost completely surround Bierstadt. As long as you stick to the trail they are no problem, but if you stray they can take hours trying to navigate. If you are making a ski descent, make sure you find the trail before the headwall.

Photo ... More

2. The Headwall

This will be the first true gauge of your personal fitness. If this pitch saps your energy and makes you question your ability, you might want to turn around.
Skiers, this is a good spot to evaluate snow conditions and dig snow pits.

3. The Western Flank

At the top of the Headwall, the trail meanders through rocky tundra and snow fields towards the South ridge of Bierstadt. It may be difficult to find a definitive trail through here especially with snow, but look for rock cairns to help guide you towards the South ridge. The magnificent Sawtooth Ridge that connects Bierstadt to it's sister... More

4. The South Ridge

The homestretch! Pick your way through the boulders and snow towards the obvious summit. You might find a cornice to your right so give yourself room. Skiers, this is most likely where you will make your first turns from the summit, so it is not a bad idea to start thinking about where your line needs to go.

Photo: Trout strutting down the... More

5. The Summit

Take in the majesty of your ascent and the Front Range. Check out Mount Evans to the North-East and the highest paved road in the lower 48. On a clear day you can see the neighboring fourteeners Grays and Torreys to the West. Don't forget to find and sign the registry before you start heading down.

Photo 1: Trout taking in the summit views.
... More

6. The Descent

For the hikers, follow your ascent route down and enjoy the gorgeous high country vistas of the front range.
Skiers, all your hard work is about to pay off. Bierstadt can be notorious for scarce snow, so you might need to continually traverse and patch your line into connecting snowfields. Expert skiers can also try dropping into the Northern... More