Guanella Pass Trailhead


Range: Front Range
Coordinates: 39.59688, -105.71003
14ers: Mt. Bierstadt, Mt. Evans
Elevation: 11,650'
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Road Difficulty

Paved Road 0   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD paved to the trailhead in summer.

Driving 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. 1.5 miles below Guanella Pass. From the south: Usually plowed to Duck Lake, approx. 1.75 miles below the pass.

More Info

Parking: Two large parking lots but on the weekend they fill up by 6am and you'll have to park along the road. Currently that is allowed.
Camping: Two campgrounds on the road up from Georgetown and two campgrounds on the road up from Grant, on the south side.
Restrooms? Yes
Fees? No
Trailhead added by BillMiddlebrook
Status Updates 
Posted By: Kiefer
Info: OK. From Georgetown to the Excel Power Plant, the road is plowed and mainly clear. The road is open for only 3.2 miles AFTER the power plant up to the TH for Silver Dollar Lake. It is plowed but the surface is predominantly packed ice. If you want to get further than the turnoff for Silver Dollar (towards Guanella) you’re gonna have to have a snowmobile.
It doesn’t look like it’ll be open for awhile either. (
Posted By: blakeduncan
Info: I drove up the Grant side today - road was clear with snow and ice patches all the way up to about a mile before the pass, where a huge snow pile blocks the road.
Posted By: blakeduncan
Info: I called the Ranger District office in Idaho Springs, and they said the Guanella Pass Road from Georgetown was plowed up to Clear Lake, 3 miles up, and then the road became ’impassable’.
Posted By: CODave
Info: As of 11/18/06 the road on the Georgetown side of Guanella Pass is closed about two miles below the Guanella Pass Trailhead. It is closed with a large pile of snow. I’m not sure why it is plowed because beyond the pile is a road in good condition that had obviously been driven on since the last storm. I saw a couple cars at the top of the pass so I assume that the Grant side is open.
Posted By: Derek
Info: As of 9\10, the road from Georgetown is washboard rough for about 4 miles. Then about 2 miles of 1 lane where you have to wait for pilot car. The last section is EXTREMELY nice now though.
Posted By: Bresch
Info: What a difference from Georgetown over last year. The road is better and wider with concrete curbs installed. The parking lot is expanded to accomandate all of us, and what a day on 6/10/06
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: The road from Georgetown to the pass is open and in good shape.
Posted By: kreibach
Info: I witnessed a car breakin at this trailhead last summer on a rainy day just after quitting time for the road construction crews.
Posted By: Kiefer
Info: As of yesterday afternoon (3-22-06) the road past the power plant was not plowed. There was at least 6" of powder from the previous nights storm. I would not reccommend taking a car up to Guanella Pass if they haven’t plowed this. Even my lifted Tacoma was getting bogged down in spots.
Posted By: wilhite38
Info: I thought the road was pretty snowy on the Georgetown side. I had a much easier time on the Grant side of the pass. There is heavy snowpack the last mile or so of the road.
Posted By: himalayanhillbilly
Info: On Sat., Sept. 3 the road from Georgetown was rough but definitely passable. There is a section controled by traffic lights for construction. We had a delay of about 20 minutes. Otherwise the trailhead is accessible from the Georgetown side and parking is plentiful.
Posted By: mfinch76
Info: The road to the trailhead from Georgetown was a little rough, but passable in my little Toyota. The road was wider and better maintained to Grant.
Posted By: GoHigher
Info: Coming up from Grant (285) side was no problem. After leaving the pavement there is some moderate washboard for a few miles. Of some 13 miles, over 9 miles are actually paved (some rough spots). The road repairs seem to be going smoothly. Treffic is ocassionally held for heavy equipment, but it was very light on Friday (7/22). Any vehicle capable of handling the altitude can make the trip.
Posted By: Unknown
Info: Guanella Pass is open from the Georgetown side (and I believe from the other side as well.) In the early am, there is a traffic light at one point to regulate a section that is one lane for ~0.5 mile. During the day, the same section is controlled by a flagman at each end, so you can expect a 20-30 minute delay at that point during the day.
Posted By: bud
Info: Road was in fairly good condition on 6/11. Some rough washboard areas but overall good condition. Much rougher from the Grant side
Posted By: redwingsarebad
Info: I just made it up in a passenger car, but it was pretty rough. The construction they are doing seems to be beating up the road. If you take your time with a passenger car, you should be o.k., but its real easy to lose an oil pan or pop a tire if you go too fast.
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Guanella Pass is normally open year round. During winter, the road may be closed below the pass. In 2004-2006, the road is being modified so expect construction, delays and occassional closures. Check with the Clear Creek Ranger District for road info.
Posted By: mcflanders
Info: 1/3/2010.
Extended road closure due to rock slides. Will add an extra 4 miles to get to the Guanella camp ground, which is yet another 3 miles to the trailhead. (roughly 7 miles from the road closure to the trailhead). Also, the road leading up to the closure was snow packed & icey.
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