|Peak:||Mt. Bierstadt (14er)|
|Date of Information:||01/29/2012|
Road was plowed from the Georgetown side to the winter closure, with a few slick sections. I have a low-clearance 2WD and made it without breaking a sweat.
There's a "shortcut" that leaves the road at a switchback around 11,450' to make a beeline through some willows to intersect the trail. I'd strongly advise against taking it. The 20 minutes we spent postholing to our knees/waists in snowshoes was probably the most difficult part of the day. The road may meander a bit, but it's less of a hassle and likely just as quick.
If you skip the willows shortcut, snowshoes are NOT currently necessary. We pointlessly wore ours up the road and stashed them once we reached the boardwalks. The trail is bootpacked and easy to follow. Higher on the route the path becomes a bit more elusive, but huge cairns are everywhere. A few others on the route didn't have microspikes, but I found them indispensable, especially on the descent.
My GPS clocked the route from the Georgetown winter closure at 10.5 miles and 3,700'. We made it from car-to-car, goofing off and with lots of unnecessary breaks, in 8 hours.
Photos (click for slideshow):