- a great introduction to Colorado Fourteeeners
The route seen from Guanella Pass, the
Sawtooth to the left
The summit block with a bit of boulder
Victoria and Allan on the summit of
Scramble: Class 2 – Steep Hiking
Altitude: 14,060 ft, Trailhead 11,700ft
Elevation Gain: 2,800 ft approx, Round trip 6.0 miles
Start Time: 5am to 8am to be on your way down by noon and
avoid potential lightning storms, 5am if you are doing the Sawtooth and
intend to summit Mt Evans also, headlamps required for 5am
Ascent Time: 2 – 3 Hours for Bierstadt
This scramble is a beautiful introduction to scrambling
14ers. One that is worth repeating.
Guanella Pass Trailhead – 11,700ft – Yes restrooms
Take the Georgetown exit off of Interstate 70. Drive
through Georgetown and follow the signs for the Guanella Pass scenic byway.
You must drive through the heart of Georgetown. Drive up 12 miles to the
parking area on the left just before the top of Guanella Pass (11,700') or
the parking area just above on the right which has a restroom. Mt. Bierstadt
and The Sawtooth fill the view to the East.
Updated trailhead info can be found
There are a couple of small forestry serviced campgrounds
($11) on the drive up to Guanella Pass, of course there is the old sleep in
the vehicle at the trailhead if you want the earliest start.
The Bierstadt trail starts on the east side of the road
just above the first parking area (being redone in 2006). The trail drops
down a few hundred feet to the willows. There is a good trail through the
willows with wooden bridges in spots. The trail is easy to follow almost all
the way to the summit. Just before the summit there is some boulder hopping
to do as you climb the summit block. If you choose the really long day and
want to do the Sawtooth ridge and summit Mt Evans also be prepared to bash
through the swampy willows on the descent until you can hook up with the
Bierstadt trail again. Victoria and I looked at the Sawtooth but having
driven 1,150 miles to get there and speaking with an exhausted hiker who had
just bashed through the swampy willows we decided to defer the
Bierstadt/Evans combo for another time.