The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is an awe-inspiring drive that takes visitors on a spectacular journey through the Rocky Mountains, offering breathtaking views and abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation.
As the highest paved road in North America, the byway provides unparalleled access to the majestic peaks and pristine wilderness of the Colorado high country.
In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide for those planning to explore the Mount Evans Scenic Byway.
About the Mount Evans Scenic Byway
The Mount Evans Scenic Byway stretches for 28 miles from Idaho Springs, Colorado, to the summit of Mount Evans, one of Colorado’s iconic 14,000-foot peaks. The byway climbs over 7,000 feet in elevation, providing dramatic views of the surrounding mountain ranges, alpine lakes, and expansive forests. Along the way, visitors can encounter an array of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and marmots.
Highlights and Points of Interest
When driving the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, be sure to stop at these noteworthy points of interest:
- Echo Lake: A picturesque mountain lake situated at the start of the byway, Echo Lake offers a serene setting for picnicking, fishing, and hiking.
- Mount Goliath Natural Area: Home to the Mount Goliath Research Natural Area, this stop offers a chance to explore ancient bristlecone pines, some of which are over 1,600 years old, and beautiful wildflower meadows.
- Summit Lake Park: Located at an elevation of 12,830 feet, Summit Lake Park offers incredible views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. The park also features several hiking trails, including a short hike to the Chicago Lakes Overlook.
- Mount Evans Summit: The culmination of the byway, the summit of Mount Evans offers panoramic views that stretch for miles. A short hike from the parking area takes you to the true summit, where you can enjoy a true sense of accomplishment at 14,264 feet.
Visitor Tips and Recommendations
Consider these tips for a memorable experience along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway:
- The byway is typically open from late May to early October, depending on weather conditions. Check the latest road status before planning your trip.
- Dress in layers, as temperatures can be significantly cooler at higher elevations, even during the summer months. Be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions.
- Be aware of the potential for altitude sickness and take your time to acclimate to the higher elevations. Stay hydrated and take breaks if necessary.
- Bring a camera to capture the stunning vistas and wildlife encounters you may experience along the byway.
- Pack a picnic to enjoy at one of the many scenic overlooks or designated picnic areas.