Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Mount Evans is one of Colorado’s most awe-inspiring destinations. Boasting incredible panoramic views and a plethora of outdoor activities, this majestic peak is an essential stop for anyone looking to explore the natural beauty of the Centennial State. In this article, we’ll delve into everything you need to know to make the most of your visit to Mount Evans.
Getting There: Mount Evans Scenic Byway
The best way to experience Mount Evans is by traversing the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, the highest paved road in North America. Stretching 28 miles, this stunning route begins in Idaho Springs and climbs over 7,000 feet in elevation to the summit of Mount Evans at 14,130 feet. The journey offers unparalleled views of the surrounding landscape, making it a must-see for any visitor.
Note that the Mount Evans Scenic Byway is open seasonally, typically from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, but the exact opening and closing dates can vary depending on weather conditions. It’s essential to check the road status before planning your trip.
Mount Evans offers a wealth of recreational activities for visitors of all ages and interests. Some of the most popular options include:
- Hiking: With a variety of trails ranging from easy to challenging, Mount Evans is a hiker’s paradise. Explore the pristine alpine lakes, lush forests, and vibrant wildflower meadows on your way to the summit.
- Wildlife Viewing: Mount Evans is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, mountain goats, marmots, and pikas. Keep your eyes peeled for these creatures as you venture through the area.
- Photography: The breathtaking vistas of Mount Evans provide endless opportunities for capturing stunning landscape photos. Don’t forget to bring your camera along to document your adventure.
- Stargazing: Due to its high elevation and remote location, Mount Evans offers exceptional stargazing opportunities, with minimal light pollution to interfere with your view of the night sky.
- Fishing: Anglers will find several alpine lakes and streams teeming with fish, such as cutthroat trout, making Mount Evans an ideal spot for a relaxing day of fishing.
There are several must-see attractions around Mount Evans that you won’t want to miss:
- Mount Goliath Natural Area: Located along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, this protected area features ancient bristlecone pines, some of which are over 1,600 years old. Stop by the Dos Chappell Nature Center to learn more about these fascinating trees and the area’s ecology.
- Summit Lake Park: At an elevation of 12,830 feet, this picturesque alpine lake is a perfect spot for picnicking, hiking, and photography. The park also features a short trail that leads to a stunning overlook of the Chicago Lakes basin.
- Mount Evans Summit: Reaching the summit of Mount Evans is an accomplishment worth bragging about. The views from the top are nothing short of spectacular, with sweeping vistas of the surrounding Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains.
Tips for Visiting
- Be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions. Even in the summer, temperatures at the summit can be quite cold, and sudden storms are not uncommon. Dress in layers and pack rain gear to stay comfortable.
- Allow plenty of time for acclimatization, as the high elevation can cause altitude sickness. Drink plenty of water, take it easy on your first day, and consider spending a night at a lower elevation before heading to the summit.
- Check the road status and weather forecast before your visit to ensure