Hike to Bierstadt Lake

Details

Distance

2.4 miles

Elevation Gain

675 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

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.

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Know for

Photography
Hiking
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Scenic

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Reviews

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🥇Top Contributor

5 months ago

Great Trail!

She was a burner! Not too crowded at the lake and it was super peaceful... especially after those switchbacks.

🥇Top Contributor

7 months ago

Horseback

I did this in the Autumn with a friend, and it was so beautiful to cross through the park on horseback. Really special, I would recommend!

Wonderful!

Did this yesterday (6/13/2020) We were not expecting this short trail to pack a punch like it did but those switchbacks are no joke! However we did it in direct sunlight and I think it would have been less intense if we had done it earlier or on a cloudy day. I may have gotten a little sunburn because of it. But the few switchbacks at the beginning were 100% worth the views of the lake and the mountains. Absolutely stunning little hike. We unfortunately had to leave early as a storm was rolling in and we didn’t want to be caught up there. But we loved this hike and will recommend it to others. Oh and beware, there are plenty of mosquitoes by the lake- would highly recommend bug repellent!

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

over 4 years ago

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

almost 5 years ago

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.

393 total saves

4.3/5

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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