Bierstadt Lake Hike: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

bierstadt lake hike colorado

The hike to Bierstadt Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park is a relatively short, scenic hike with great views of the surrounding peaks and valley below. It’s not as spectacular as the Dream Lake Hike but if you have time for more than one, this is a good choice, too.

(I recommend doing this one before Dream Lake, saving the best for last!)

Here are some things to know:

Bierstadt Lake Hike Highlights

  • Relatively few people on the trail—Granted we hiked this one in the morning, but you can tell by the size of the parking lot you’ll encounter fewer people on this trail than others.
  • No grizzlies—After hiking in the Tetons, it was nice to know we didn’t have to worry about grizzly bears. Not that we’ve ever had an encounter, but one just breathes a little easier!
  • Beautiful views—The 3.2 mile out-and-back trail switches back-and-forth up a mountainside overlooking several peaks and the valley below. There are several wide open views with great photo ops.
  • Ends at Bierstadt Lake—Ok, we’re from Minnesota. So we’re used to gorgeous lakes, and lots of them. Bierstadt Lake isnt’ the most scenic lake around. In fact, we were a bit disappointed. But on our way back down the trail we met a couple from Nebraska—a state not known for its many lakes. They were excited to see a lake at all! So it depends on your perspective.
  • Very few bugs—This is true all over Rocky, and for us Midwesterners—a huge plus! It makes the hiking so enjoyable when we’re not swatting at flies and mosquitos.
bierstadt lake, colorado
Panoramic view of Bierstadt Lake.

What to Know Before You Go

  • Mountain weather can be unpredictable—Get a forecast. If you can’t, prepare for changing weather.
  • Afternoon showers are common in the mountains.
  • You’ll be sharing the trail with horses—We liked this, however do watch your step! When you meet a group on horseback, the horses have the right-of-way.
  • The sun is HOT and direct—Dress in layers and wear sunscreen. Sunburn is possible even on overcast days.
  • Dogs aren’t allowed on the Park’s trails—They’re also not allowed unattended in your vehicle or your campsite. I suggest leaving them at home rather than including them in your visit to Rocky.
horses on bierstadt lake trail
This trail is used by horseback riders, too.

The Final Word

We’re glad we hiked the Bierstadt Lake Trail, and even more glad we hiked it before the Dream Lake Trail! We did them both in one day quite easily, with a lunch break in-between. Both trailheads are near Moraine Campground where we tented.

The Trail is very accessible, not too crowded and has great views. With its 725-foot vertical rise, it’s moderately challenging, but very doable for most people, including children.

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