Mt. Bierstadt [Trip Report]
I haven’t hiked a Colorado 14’er since Quandary Peak in 2006 and decided it was time to start hiking them again. I had hiked Mt Bierstadt 22 years earlier in 1997 with Donna Whitsitt.
It has been far too long since I stood atop a 14er. I haven’t hiked one since a solo trip of Quandary Peak in spring 2006. After completing a 52 Hike Challenge in 2018, I was really wanting to do at least one as part of 2019 my challenge. Fourteeners are Colorado Mountains over 14,000feet and as for how many there are in the state, that is out for debate. Some say there are 58, or 54, or 74, you decide which list to follow. After monitoring the weather for a few days, I decided to do Mt Bierstadt solo in the afternoon and come down during sunset. (Always be ready to turn around if severe weather approaches, and be aware that the weather can change at any time in the mountains.)
Mt Bierstadt is located in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and has an elevation of 14,065 feet. Named after landscape artist Albert Bierstadt, it is one of the “easier” 14ers (Ranked 48/58 by difficulty). I first hiked this 14er on Aug 21, 1997 with hiking partner Donna Whitsitt. During that trip we started a little after 9 am and summited shortly after 1pm. Back then the marshland was not covered with a nice wooden walkway as it is today, so we enjoyed mud.
The trail starts at the Guanella Pass Trailhead, 11,669ft and loses a little elevation in the beginning then climbs back up after the marsh area. From there the trail is nice all the way to near the summit. Along the way I saw several mountain goats, that seemed to be in various stages of molting. As I hiked along I met up with some other people who were also soloing and we formed a small group. Ricky is from Texas and this was his first 14er, Sam and Christine are both from Colorado.
We reached the summit a little after 6:30PM, took some photos and congratulated each other. The views from the top were amazing. Looking off across the Front Range you could see other 14ers including Grays and Torreys. Until seeing it again I didn’t realize how much I had missed the views and I look forward to hiking more 14ers in 2020.
- 14,065 Feet
- Round Trip Distance: 7.80 Miles
- Elevation Gain: 2396 feet
- Difficulty: Class 2
- Route: West Slopes
- Rank by Elevation: 38/53
- Time: 5+ Hours
- Date Hiked: July 29, 2019 (Second Time)
Mt Bierstadt trail sign. Bierstadt is on the right and the Sawtooth Ridge is on the left.
New wooden path across marsh area. This was a welcome change.
Cairn on the Trail, marking the trail.
Mountain Goat, there were several I saw on the way to the top.
Looking across the Front Range, Grays and Torreys Peak are off to the right.
Mt Bierstadt Summit Marker, and a rock painted with the elevation.
Sunset on the Front Range, that might be Gray Wolf Mountain?