A trip to Mount Evans can be completed in only several hours (assuming you’re there for the scenery and not for any strenuous hiking). It’s a 32-35 mile drive from Denver to the Mount Evans entrance. All you have to do is take I-70 West towards Idaho Springs and take the Mount Evans exit (#240). From there, you’ll travel about 15 miles south on CO-103 to the entrance of Mount Evans. From there, it’s a 15 mile drive toward the summit. A short but brisk hike (1/4 of a mile) is required to reach the actual summit.
On your way to Mount Evans, it’s advised to stop at Echo Lake Lodge, which is right outside the entrance gate. Here, you can get great photos of Echo Lake.
The Lodge offers a restaurant with views of the lake and a wide assortment of souvenirs. There are numerous hummingbirds due to all the hummingbird feeders strung near the Lodge’s windows. Amenities alongside of the Mount Evans Scenic Byway are very limited, so please consider making a pit stop here before continuing on.
The drive up towards the summit provides amazing and breathtaking views, but can be harrowing at times. You don’t need a vehicle with 4 wheel drive, as the road is completely paved, but there are sections that are steep or bumpy. There are NO guardrails at all and the road narrows considerably at some points, so be forewarned if you have a fear of heights. It can also be unsettling when you see edges of the road crumbling. However, I promise you the views are worth it and very rewarding.
The sensation that you get standing at the top of the summit, having an unobstructed 360 degree view of the world around you, is something that can’t be put into words. It’s something you have to experience for yourself, and if you’re in the Denver area then I strongly urge you to go.
FEES AND HOURS- The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is accessible 24 hours a day when it is open, usually from May through October (see http://www.coloradodot.info/ for road closure information). The entrance fee is dependent on the number of passengers in the vehicle. For 1-12 people in one
car, the fee is $10 and good for 3 days (day of purchase and the following 2
days). Hikers and bicyclists can enter free of charge.
ANIMALS-Mountain goats are commonly seen along the byway. Marmots are also regularly seen. Deer and elk are not as widespread as they are in Rocky Mountain National Park (in my opinion, based on personal experience). The
pika is a cute little rodent that emits a loud, easily recognizable call. Bighorn sheep are occasionally spotted here too.
PLACES OF INTEREST- There are many places along the byway that offer beautiful views of mountains, lakes, and the Denver metro area. Summit Lake is another gorgeous lake to stop by. The main attraction is, of course, the summit of Mount Evans.
ACTIVITIES-Biking, hiking, and fishing. Camping is prohibited within ½ mile of
the road but there are numerous campsites available in the surrounding
area. For a list of campsites and their fees, go to:
*****Please be aware that high altitude sickness can and does strike at this altitude. Be sure to drink plenty of water on the drive up. Also, it can get incredibly windy and cold at the summit. Even if it is 95 degrees in Denver, you should still pack a warm jacket because the temperature difference is quite drastic*****
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