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Colorado 14ers: Mount Bierstadt and Mount Evans

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Distance: 7.2 miles


See for yourself why early explorers and painters adored these beautiful peaks. This trip highlights two classic routes to the double crowns of the Front Range.

Mount Bierstadt, Colorado’s friendliest Fourteener, is now less demanding than ever. The once-fearsome (or at least highly annoying) willow swamps at its base have been tamed with boardwalks, and a newly rebuilt road to 11,669-foot Guanella Pass makes it a snap to drive to the trailhead, an hour from Denver. From the pass, you’ll zip 2,850 vertical feet to the top—budget 2 hours each way if you’re fit, 4 if not. Not surprisingly, this superhighway of a trail is crowded with families, dogs, trail runners, and wheezing flatlanders. (Bierstadt may be close to the road, but it’s still a high peak, so don’t get any bright ideas about bagging this summit the day after you fly in from Boston.)

Since the road to Guanella Pass is plowed, Bierstadt is also one of the most accessible Fourteeners in winter. Summit views circle from the eastern plains to South Park and the Sawatch Range. To the north, Sawtooth Ridge slices across the gap to Mt. Evans, one of two Fourteeners with a road to the top. Bierstadt may be a stroll, but at least it’s not drive-thru.

-Text by Dougald MacDonald
-Mapped by Jason Gilbert and Ben Smith

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