Hike to Bierstadt Lake
Colorado › Bierstadt Lake Trailhead
Added by Jennifer Broome
Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the destinations you can hike to off of Bear Lake Road. While Bear Lake and Glacier Gorge parking areas fill up quickly, you stand a good chance to snag a spot at Bierstadt Lake Trailhead. It's a picturesque lake that is a great hike for families or those looking for an easy to moderate hike.
From the Bierstadt Lake Trailhead on Bear Lake Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, you start out in lodgepole pines at 8850 feet high.
But you quickly get into the aspens. In the breeze, aspens flutter or quake. It's unique sound as the leaves almost dance in the wind. The views and aspens are gorgeous, especially this time of year as the aspens shine in a golden splendor. You can enjoy this trail on horseback. Horses have been part of the park since its designation in 1915. This is just one of the trails you can ride.
The vista views of the Continental Divide keep getting better and better as you steadily climb a series of switchbacks to the top of Bierstadt Moraine. It’s a lateral moraine, or a parallel ridge of debris that deposited along the side of a glacier.
The scenery changes quickly on this trail….including hiking through sage. You’ll do most of the elevation gain in the first three-quarters of a mile. After the sage, you are back in pines again at the top of the moraine. The trail gets relatively flat as you continue through the dense forest.
There's a sign for the loop around the lake. If you do the loop, it adds another eighth tenth of a mile. Elevation of Bierstadt Lake is 9,416 feet. It is named after renowned western landscape painter Albert Bierstadt.
This picturesque lake is surrounded by sedges, tall grasslike plants that add to the serenity of the landscape.
There is a big boulder that is a perfect spot to sit and take in the view. The water ripples as the wind blows across this shallow alpine lake and it almost seems to shimmer in the sunshine.
If you want to add more mileage, continue hiking to Bear Lake. You can take the free shuttle back down to Bierstadt Lake Trailhead.
- Picnic or snacks
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More
Spring, Summer, Autumn
Are we missing something?Suggest an edit
ReviewsLeave a Review
Peace And Solitude
We hiked this starting from the Bear Lake trailhead and passed only about a dozen people on the way up. There was only one other person at the lake when we got there. With gorgeous views and an easy climb, this hike is a must-do for visitors to RMNP
Great First RMNP Hike
I took two of my friends from sea-level on this hike on an abnormally warm day in Feb. At an easy pace this hike was very doable for them. The switchbacks aren't took strap and only minimal ice in the winter. An easy first hike for new hikers with big mountain views to show off.
Beautiful sunrise spot
This is a great lake to hike to for sunrise in the park, but it's rare to have calm water. My favorite spot on the hike is best in the fall when part-way up you'll have a few golden aspens and a grand mountain backdrop for sunrise.
More Adventures Nearby
Snowshoe Jim Creek Trail
Colorado / Jim Creek Trailhead
Starting at 9,220 feet of elevation, this 5 mile out-and-back snowshoe begins its 965 foot elevation gain meandering through a quiet forest.
Ski to Janet's Cabin
Colorado / Alpine Lot at Copper Mountain
Janet's Cabin is located on the eastern slope of the Continental Divide at 11,610 ft, near Copper Mountain ski resort.