Mt. Evans

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Mt. Evans is one of Colorado’s 14ers, a mountain over 14,000 feet tall (14,265 ft). Usually getting to the top of a 14er is reserved for those willing to make the trek on foot to the top. But not necessarily so with Mt. Evans. The Mt. Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved road in North America. You can drive to the parking lot near the summit. Roads are windy and narrow, and where you’d expect guardrails you won’t see any, so it’s definitely a road on which to take your time and be cautious. It’s outrageously scenic all the way up.

Once you reach the parking lot, it’s actually a short walk up a switchback trail to the summit. It is well worth it but take your time as the altitude difference is immense and you are bound to feel it. Both of us felt a little lightheaded. We were really excited to check this out with our friends a second time, and even being from IN they handled the elevation well.

There are amazing views in every direction. If you keep your eyes peeled you may even see various wildlife like marmots and mountain goats. Here are pictures from our second time up the mountain. Thanks to Z & J for use of some of their pictures too!

The Basics

Who: Going to the top via car is possible for just about anyone, but know and be alert to effects of altitude and be smart about going back down to a lower elevation. Watch out for storms rolling in – lightning is a real danger. And make sure you have extra layers; it can be very cold and windy up there even if it’s super warm down in Denver at the same time.

What: a 14,265 ft tall mountain that you can drive to top of and walk a bit more to the summit. It will cost you $10 per carload (more for larger vehicles, less if you’re on a bike, and annual passes are available), but if you have a federal recreation pass such as the National Parks pass like we do, it’s no extra charge.
Where: West of Denver on I-70, take exit 240 in Idaho Springs. When you get to Echo Lake Park (which is another beautiful place to stop and have a picnic or go fishing) take a right onto the byway.

When: Double check that the road is open all the way to the top as it is closed in winter.

Why: Easy access to an altitude and scenery that is otherwise harder to come by.
How: Drive your vehicle to the top. Please stay on your side of the road and be cautious! You could alternatively ride your bike (yes, we saw some very in shape folks doing this) or do some research and plan to climb it instead or hike part of the way from Summit Lake.
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