I pretty much got out of the car every 5 seconds to take photos because there are so many beautiful stops on Guanella Pass! Especially in autumn when the fall foliage starts to come out – the aspen leaves turn a brilliant yellow color. I saw some reddish-orange ones, too, but most were yellow.I started my drive in Georgetown so I’ll begin there. Here were my favorite stops along the way!
GEORGETOWNGuanella Pass either starts or ends in Georgetown depending on where you’re coming from. It’s a really cute little town and worth poking around in. I really enjoyed just walking around as the downtown area is really pretty, and has lots of shops to check out.
CLEAR LAKE RESERVOIRThis place was so pretty, and had bathrooms! Very important if you’re driving along and holding your bladder after drinking an entire water bottle on the way there…
GUANELLA PASS SUMMITYou’ll start climbing higher and higher through the top of the pass, and see amazing views of the surrounding mountains, Mount Evans and Mount Bierstadt. Once you get to the summit, there’s a huge parking lot with a ton of walks surrounding it. At the summit, you can park, use the bathroom again (although there are only a few and lots of people that stop there, so be prepared to wait), and walk about 5 minutes to a lookout spot. You’ll get great views of Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans from the summit area.
About halfway to the summit viewpoint, you’ll come across a trail that continues up the mountain. Take this if you want to hike up to Square Top Lakes, which, in my opinion, you totally should!
SQUARE TOP LAKES HIKEThe hike to the Square Top Lakes is only about 4.5 miles round trip, although going up is pretty steep. I met a lot of people who’d turned around before reaching the first lake (I know this because I had no cell reception and didn’t do too much research on the hike beforehand, so I kept asking passerby, “About how much longer to the first lake?” lol). However, it’s totally worth it, and I’d suggest at least just hiking to the first one if you’re too tired to continue to the second. They were pretty similar, so if you’re feeling exhausted you can just stop there. However, it’s not very far from the first to the second.
BURNING BEAR TRAILThe Burning Bear Trail is an easy hike through a huge aspen grove! You don’t even have to really do the hike to enjoy it – I snapped the above photo from the trailhead.
WHITESIDE GULCHThis area also has bathrooms, and is right next to the river. So pretty right??
INTERPRETIVE TRAILHEADI absolutely loved this area! The aspens here were turning a reddish-orange color and looked beautiful above the bright blue river. You can cross the river and access some different trails. I ended up just crossing the river, sitting on a rock, and taking in the scenery. I hope you enjoyed this guide to Guanella Pass – it’s a gorgeous place and I’m sure I’ll come back next year!
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