Guanella Pass is an easily accessible pass that crests at 11,670’ in Colorado’s Front Range and the views are not to be missed. There is ample parking at the high point and many trails lead from this point which make for countless opportunities to photograph the sunrise or sunset (astro is great here too!).

From Denver, take i70 to Georgetown and simply follow the signs through town to the top. This pass can also be accessed from the south via US Highway 285 at the town of Grant. Guanella Pass is closed in the winter, typically from about the last week in November through the last week of May. Watching the sunrise in winter is still possible from Guanella pass, but will require a ¾ mile hike from the north side.

With a bit of hiking, the compositions from Guanella Pass are endless, but my personal favorite is of the scenic Sawtooth Ridge along the north side of Mt. Bierstadt. Its jagged outline makes for beautiful photos with the sun rising behind it. You cannot miss the Sawtooth from anywhere in this great alpine tundra. Explore and enjoy!

Note that the alpine tundra is a very delicate environment so travel within these areas is not to be taken lightly. Please be sure to research ways to care for this special terrain, and its extremely variable weather.

There are several campgrounds along Guanella Pass Road and countless spots along the road for car camping. Also be aware that in the summer, crowds will be heavy as Mt. Bierstadt is an extremely popular 14er, and the trailhead leaves from here as well.

Pack List

  • Tripod
  • Camera
  • Filters
  • Waterproof shoes
  • Rain jacket
  • Warm clothes
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RT Distance 1 Miles
Elevation Gain 100 Feet
Activities Camping, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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