Mount Evans is a popular day trip from Denver, 60 miles (95 kilometers) east. Those who don’t want to drive can join private and group tours for a hassle-free experience to the top of the mountain. Travel along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, which begins south of Idaho Springs. Gaining more than 7,000 feet (2,000 meters) in elevation, it is the highest paved road in North America.
The landscape changes as you ascend—watch for bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and other wildlife among wildflowers, depending on the time of year you’re visiting. At the summit, be rewarded with views of alpine lakes, valleys, and other mountain peaks.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Weather can change quickly in the mountains; be prepared for short storms and bring layers, as it is often much colder here than in Denver.
Wear sturdy shoes and bring water, sunscreen, and a hat when exploring hiking trails in the area.
Fees are charged per vehicle or per person for hikers and bikers.
Parking at the summit is usually available on weekdays; you may wait up to 30 minutes for a parking spot on crowded weekends.
How to Get There
From Denver, head west on Interstate 70 to Idaho Springs and then turn south onto State Highway 103, the start of the Mount Evans Scenic Byway. At Echo Lake, continue south on State Highway 5 to reach the top of the mountain. Or, arrive as part of a tour that includes transportation.
When to Get There
Because vehicles can access the summit, it can be very crowded with summer travelers and locals visiting on weekends; try going on a weekday and arrive in the early morning for the best photo ops and available parking and to avoid afternoon thunderstorms. The narrow, winding upper section of the byway is typically only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Echo Lake and Summit Lake
During the journey along the byway, two parks offer the chance to stretch your legs, explore hiking trails, or relax—Echo Lake Park, at the junction of Highways 103 and 5, and Summit Lake Park, 9 miles (14 kilometers) farther up the road. Stop by Echo Lake Lodge to visit the restaurant, bar, or gift shop, and watch for mountain goats at Summit Lake.
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