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Guanella Pass Trailhead
Added by BillMiddlebrook

Location:  Front Range
14ers Served:  Mt. Bierstadt, Mt. Evans
Road Type:  2WD, easy dirt road 1   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD easy dirt road to the trailhead in summer.
Directions:  From the north: Take the Georgetown exit off of Interstate 70. Drive through Georgetown and follow the signs for the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway. Drive 12 miles to the top of Guanella Pass (11,700’) and park in one of the two large, paved parking areas on either side of the road. The Bierstadt trail starts near the parking area on the east side of the road. The upper parking area (on the west side of the pass) has restrooms.
From the south: Take US 285 west from Denver or east from Fairplay. Drive to the town of Grant which is about 12 miles west of Bailey. In Grant, turn north on the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway and drive approx. 13 miles to Guanella Pass.
Winter Access:  From the north: Usually only plowed to the campground approx. 3 miles below Guanella Pass. From the south: Usually plowed to Duck Lake, approx. 1.75 miles below the pass.
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Date Status Information Posted By  Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2013-05-21 Much like what MountainHiker wrote - clear to the top but road still closed. They had a pretty good sized crew working on all the erosion and they told me it WOULD be open on Friday Jay521    1    
2013-05-19 Georgetown Side: Road is clear of snow from winter gate to Guanella Pass parking lot. There is a lot of erosion dirt on the road close to the pass. The pavement is being undercut and the dirt is a few inches deep in places. I’m no road engineer, but I’m thinking they’ll want to deal with this before opening the road. MountainHiker    1      
2013-05-13 Georgetown side was being plowed today and was down to the pavement to 1/4 mile from the top of the pass as of noon with the crew still working. They told me the road itself would not be open to auto traffic until Memorial weekend, but it appeared to me that the road itself will be clear of snow to the top of the pass within the next few days for easy walking from the winter closure. thetoddman         
2013-05-10 From the George Town side the road is still closed 3 miles below the pass. Snowshoes were very helpful. The parking lot just above the campground is clear of snow and melting. Stephen Butler         
2013-05-05 From Georgetown side, closed at Guanella Pass campground (winter closure at gate). plasticman         
2013-04-21 Similar to Greg Miller‘s report (04-14-2013) The road from Grant is open to within 100 yards of the winter closure gate. Easy drive in a 4wd pickup - most 2wd vehicles with reasonable clearance could probably have made it today. Info for the Outback owner snowed in at the winter closure gate- Your car looks fine - no damage. The bad news - the snow drift blocking you in - is probably going to be there for awhile longer. Monte Meals         
2013-04-14 From the Grant side made it to about 100 yds below the winter closure in a subaru outback. There are ruts in the snow that I was bouncing around in a bit, but nothing too bad. The snow drift 100 yds below the winter closure is still there, probably will be for a while. There was a subaru sedan snowed in at the winter trailhead, felt bad for them. GregMiller         
2013-03-18 From the Grant side I drove almost all the way to the gate by Duck lake. Before the switchbacks the snow was over a foot deep with tire tracks that had pushed all the way through the snow when it was warm and slushy. When I got there after the weekend the snow/slush had frozen and I drove in the tracks all the way up without a problem. I was in a 4x4 pick-up with regular snow tires, nothing special. I did pass an allwheel drive car that didn‘t have enough clearance, they turned around at the ruts. I didn‘t go past the last snow drift before the parking area/gate, probably could have made it but didn‘t want to shovel so I just skied the last 100 yards. gbutler1492         
2013-03-13 Drove up to the winter closure from the Georgetown side this morning. Despite packing snowshoes in the car, I elected to not take them, as I hate carrying snowshoes and not needing them, and there appeared to be firm snow at the start of the road. Big mistake. It took two hours for my friend and I to summit the Pass, and due to our lateish start from the parking area, we could not continue as planned to Bierstadt. The snow alternated from just sinking a few inches to postholing up to the hip for long stretches of time on the road. About halfway up, realizing the late hour and our exhaustion (we‘re from Texas on spring break, not acclimated), we elected to just make a nice trench today and follow it up on Friday with our second attempt. A second party of two arrived at the top of the pass shortly after we did, this group wearing snowshows and following our trench and postholes, and all four of us descended shortly thereafter, so there should be a nice packed trench until the next major snowfall. Feel free to poach, just wear skis or snowshoes please, we worked hard on it! Tim A         
2013-02-17 Grant side: similar update to the early January update. Plowed to a few miles before the duck lake closure and then packed / double track snow above that (with even some dry pavement after the last switchback). We had an outback sport and tracked out snow above plowed section was questionable but made it without too much problems. Before anymore storms an awd or 4x4 would be okay if you stay in the tracks. If not, make sure you have a shovel and maybe a tow rope. E-dorvs         
2013-01-06 Grant Side... Road is plowed to within 4 miles of the Duck Lake gate closure. After that point it is pretty well traveled and packed down. Had no problem getting to the gate in my Wrangler. There were 4 or 5 other vehicles parked there when we got back. After the gate there is a mix of solid trackand bare road to the parking lot...just under 2 miles. See MtnHiker‘s trail description...information is still accurate. Dad Mike  2  2 1    
2012-12-29 Georgetown side. Plowed and sanded all the way to the winter trailhead at Naylor Lake turn off. Road is gated here. Well packed trail on road to Guanella Pass and through the willows. Above the willows the packed trail braids away from the real trail in several places. We left the snowshoes in the Jeep. MountainHikerette wore MicroSpikes but I was fine without them. Used poles. Some did wear snowshoes. MountainHiker         
2012-12-02 Gate was closed to reach the top of Guanella Pass. No snow up there but had to walk about and extra 2.5 miles up the road to reach the trail head. Michaelduha         
2012-12-01 Road gated - closed - at the parking lot about 1.75 miles below the TH on the Georgetown side. Nicely paved road was completely clear to Mt Bierstadt TH. sierra         
2012-11-17 Leavenworth road off Guanella is passable all the way to Waldorf. We made it in a stock Ford Ranger but 4wd is mandatory as there is snow and ice on the route. Something beefier made it further up argentine pass. I‘d say these conditions will last one more storm. Good luck. jeremy27         
2012-08-08 The Guanella Pass Road and Mt. Bierstadt trailhead parking are now completely paved all the way from Georgetown. jhackney3  1       
2012-07-23 A Lamborghini could get to the trailhead, and it would be very enjoyable. The paved road is extremely smooth. We arrived at 5:45 on a Monday and there were plenty of spaces, we were the 5th car there. When we got back on the other hand, it was packed in both parking lots and along the road. ezabielski         
2012-05-05 The road is open and clear all the way to Guanella pass now. It is also fully paved. epende         
2012-04-28 From the Grant, CO, side, CR 381 is clear of snow all the way to Guanella Pass, but the road is still gated-locked just below Duck Lake, 1.85 miles below the Pass. The road from Grant to the Pass is 90% paved. Trail to Mt. Bierstadt base is mostly clear of snow; lower boggy portions frozen in AM, very muddy with warming daytime temps. The main slope of Bierstadt has 3-6 inches of snow in places, and quite easy walking. Snowshoes definitely not needed. Saw total of about 10 folks walking up on 4/29/12. donkrier  1       
2012-04-21 Road to the pass is gated 1.75 miles below the trailhead (on the Georgetown side), but it‘s mostly dry to walk up with a couple of areas that have about 4 inches of snow in the shade. The trailhead itself didn‘t have any snow, and the trail up Bierstadt was a mix of muddy trail and packed snow until you started climbing. Once on the mountain, it was mostly packed snow - nothing requiring snowshoes, but occasionally you might sink up to your shins. The mud and snow made it slippery - especially on the descent, so trekking poles are recommended! CryptoArgonaut  1       
2012-04-08 Road dry and still gated at campground. Saw parts of the road near Bierstadt from Mt Wilcox and it looked dry. Also walked up the road ~0.6 mi. The snow on the previous poster‘s 2nd picture is gone. Further up the road there was section with ~4 inches of snow that was melting fast. Beyond that, we saw an area that probably still had 12-18" of snow on the road. But again, melting fast. However, I‘m sure there are a few good spring storms in the works before June. IHikeLikeAGirl         
2012-03-30 Did some spring camping in the area with the kids and went to go look at the trail head for Mt. Bierstadt. The road from the Georgetown side is clear and dry all the way to the winter trailhead/parking lot/gate. But Guanella Pass is still close to cars at the gate. And still some snow on the road to Guanella Pass. We didn‘t walk all that far. But here are the pics of what we saw. Photoguy32  4       
2012-03-24 The road from the Georgetown side is clear and dry all the way to the winter trailhead/parking lot/gate (with the exception of three small ice patches). It is quite nice to drive it now. The gate is about 2 miles below the pass and the road is mostly snow covered, though there are some dry stretches, notably above treeline at the pass itself (see photo). Just before the final turn or two below the pass, there is a tantalizing shortcut on the left that appears it will intersect the real trail without having to go all the way up to the pass itself. Resist this shortcut will all your will. It is nothing less than a portal to the Bermuda Triangle and you will never be seen or heard from again. Ask me how I know. The restrooms at the pass are unlocked, though the men‘s room has a horribly slick sheet of ice in it that could send you headlong into the walls or worse. Ask me how I know. Slow Moving Fun Seeker  3  5      
2012-03-10 From the grant side - I wouldn‘t take a car much past the Geneva creek intersection. I didn‘t take my 4x4 Ranger past about 10200ft where the road turns sharply given the multiple ruts in the road and the fact that no one had been past that point in a while. Turns out an explorer and 4runner made it past later in the day. If you make it past you save about 2 miles and 1000ft, one way. Left me with a new single day mileage record ~16 to summit Bierstadt. good luck. jeremy27         
2012-02-11 Grant side has 3" of snow at the 6-7 mile point. 4wd will get you to the usual drifted corner about 1/2 mile below the gated closure at Duck Lake. Dancesatmoonrise         

The view after passing through the fence at the TH (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2006-05-10)The closest parking area to the Bierstadt Trail (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2006-05-20)The turn–off on the west side of the pass for additional parking and restrooms (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2006-05-20)Recent photo of parking lot closest to TH (bathrooms) (Added by: Jessie_s Dad on 2009-07-21)Mt. Bierstadt viewed from closest parking lot at TH (Added by: Jessie_s Dad on 2009-07-21)

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