I Accidentally Hiked a Colorado Fourteener in Converse All-Stars!

Mount Bierstadt (Bierstadt is German and means Beer City) is a high mountain summit of the Chicago Peaks in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,065-foot (4,287 m) fourteener is located in the Mount Evans Wilderness of Pike National Forest. It was named in honor of Albert Bierstadt, the American landscape painter who made the first recorded summit of the mountain in 1863.

With shooting photos and having lunch, we did Mount Bierstadt in exactly 5 hours, in Vans & Converse sneakers! We were NOT planing on summiting a 14er today, but once we saw it, we decided that it just had to be done. One of the highlights was my first sighting of a Ptarmigan!

Round-Trip Length: 7.4 miles
Start-End Elevation: 11,656′ – 14,060′
Elevation Change: +2,851′ net elevation gain
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes

Mt Bierstadt – 7.4 Miles Round-Trip

Mt Bierstadt (14,060′) is located 11.8 miles south of Georgetown, CO in the Pike National Forest and Mt Evans Wilderness Area. A well-maintained trail leads 3.7 miles east from Guanella Pass to the summit.

The Mt Bierstadt Trail drops past Deadman’s Lake to its low point at Scott Gomer Creek on the valley floor (.8 miles : 11,541′). It climbs steadily out of the valley through the vestiges of treeline into the tundra. Look for ptarmigan, marmotelk, and bighorn sheep on these broad, open slopes.

The trail steepens past 1.7 miles (11,975′) with views across Guanella Pass. It gradually curls south across a sloping bench with good views down a side drainage where you might find mountain goat along rugged ledges (2.3 miles : 12,520′) . The grade intensifies through 2.65 miles (12,795′) on a straight line to the west ridge of Mt Bierstadt.

The trail crosses 13,000′ at 2.85 miles on a wide path that becomes more rugged and less defined as you progress. It moderates on the rocky ridge to a saddle just beneath the summit (3.45 miles : 13,776′).

The final .25 mile is a steep, strenuous scramble through uneven talus. Cairns mark the way, however many alternative routes have formed that are just as viable. The Mt Bierstadt summit (3.7 miles : 14,060′) is fairly small and often crowded, but there’s still room to move about.

Panoramic views include the Sawtooth formation that extends north from the summit, Abyss Lake (12,650′), Mt Evans (14,265′) and Mt Spalding (13,842′). Views west over Guanella Valley are magnificent, with Grays Peak (14,270′) and Torreys Peak (14,267′) on the western horizon.

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