Watch the Sunrise at Guanella Pass

1 miles 100 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Matthew Eaton

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.

Read More

Tags

Camping
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

5 months ago

Epic Sunrise

Guanella Pass truly offers a spectacular sunrise. I would recommend camping in the dispersed camping along the road and set your alarm early to drive to the top of the pass before sunrise. Another excellent way to watch the sunrise is to start hiking Bierstadt with a headlamp before the sun comes up.

Stay Nearby

Idaho Springs, Colorado

West Chicago Creek

Overview West Chicago Creek Campground sits along its namesake creek at the base of Mount Evans and is located off Highway 103 on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in central Colorado. It ...

Evergreen, Colorado

Echo Lake

Overview Echo Lake Campground is located on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in central Colorado near its namesake lake at the base of Mount Evans along Hwy 103. Visitors enjoy hiking, fi...

Dillon, Colorado

Secluded Condo With Deck, Pool & Hot Tub

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •Tucked away in the woods, this secluded ground-floor 1BR Keystone condo off...

From $120/night

Keystone, Colorado

New Home W/Pool & Private Hot Tub, Walk To Gondola

• TurnKey photo-verifies this home is professionally cleaned with products approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19. •With 2,314 square feet of finely detailed living space, ample outdoor space...

From $209/night

Nearby Adventures

  • Hiking Bierstadt, Evans, and The Sawtooth

    Starting from the oddly poorly marked Guanella Pass Trailhead (Google maps directions to Guanella Campground and then drive about two miles past it to the south), the trail heads southeast toward Bierstadt, and much of your route to the first summ...

    10.25 miles 3900 ft gain

  • Capture the Sunrise from Guanella Pass

    From I-70, take the Georgetown exit. Following the signs for Guanella Pass through the town. The pass will zigzag up the side of the mountain. Drive until you reach the trailhead for Mount Bierstadt on the left. Park the car and cross the parking ...

  • Hike 14er Mount Bierstadt

    If you’re ready to lose your 14er virginity, Mount Bierstadt holds a reputation for a great “starter” 14er. Of course, experienced climbers will enjoy this (relatively speaking) easy mountain as well. Besides the joy of the hike itself, Bierstadt ...

    7 miles 2850 ft gain

  • Hike to Square Top Lakes

    Starting from Guanella Pass, right across from the Bierstadt trailhead, Square Top Lakes is definitely a hidden gem. Most people here are attempting to do the 14er, but if you've already bagged that one (or are just looking for some high altitude ...

    4.3 miles 1080 ft gain

  • Inspire Your Fall Aspen Trip!

    Autumn days in Aspen are filled with sunshine and nights with crisp cool air. Watch the mountains and valleys turn gold with the changing Aspen trees. Take in the scenery while enjoying scenic drives, hiking through forests, road biking, and exploring our IMBA Gold Level Ride Center recognized mountain bike trails. 




    Learn More