Alastair and I recently spent 4 days in Denver visiting a good friend. Last Friday, hoping we would catch the last of the fall color on the Aspen trees, we ventured from Denver about an hour to the west to hike in the Mt. Evans wilderness area. We stopped at the visitors center in Idaho Springs for information – the hike up Mt. Bierstadt from Guanella Pass was highly recommended.
We started our hike from the Guanella Pass trail head around 1pm, not thinking we would go all the way to the summit. Guanella Pass is at 11,669 feet and the Mt. Bierstadt Summit is at 14,060 feet. The round trip hike is about 7 miles, and except for the last 300 yard scramble over boulders to the summit, the path is well marked. The hike is not difficult, but if you’re not used to high elevations, as we were not, breathing can be a little difficult at times even when you’re in fairly good shape.
A good description of the hike is on the Day Hikes Near Denver website. The site also recommends stopping at a brewery in Idaho Springs after the hike. We happily followed that suggestion and visited two: Westbound and Down Brewing Company and Tommy Knocker Brewery. The breweries have very different atmospheres, but both have good beers!