If you live close to Denver, Mount Evans is probably the 14er (a peak exceeding 14,000 feet in elevation) you frequent the most because there is minimal physical work involved and the close proximity to Denver. Yup, you can drive right up to the top, well, almost to the top. I did say “minimal” work involved. You are required to hike up a small distance to reach the official summit marker from the parking area. Mt. Evans and Pikes Peak are the only Colorado 14er summits (and we have 58 of them according to the US Geological Survey) that are accessible by car.
Mt. Evans is a breathtaking place to take visiting family and friends to show off beautiful Colorado. In the last month, I’ve been fortunate to make the incredible drive up there twice.
Echo Lake Park
Your first stop on your adventure up Evans is the picturesque Echo Lake Park. This park is part of the Denver Mountain Park system and is its only subalpine park at 10,600 feet! There are plenty of picnic areas here to enjoy your lunch or you can head over to the historic Echo Lake Lodge restaurant. There is an easy hike around the lake and you can drop a fishing line in the chilly water. You can also access the Chicago Lakes trail and the Bear Track Lakes trail from here.
The ice on Summit Lake still melting in June.
Summit Lake, also part of the Denver Mountain Park system, is Denver’s highest park at 12,840 feet and is the next stop on the way to the summit of Evans. There is a short trail that will lead you to an overlook with stunning views of the Chicago Lakes.
Views of Chicago Lakes from overlook at Summit Lake
Keep your eyes peeled now for wildlife!
If you make this drive in late May or early June, you just might get a chance to see some baby goats! Cue the “ahhhhhhhhs”.
Next stop, after 14 miles of driving from Echo Lake on one of the US’s highest (and super curvy with steep drops) auto roads: The Summit of Mt. Evans
VIEWS FOR DAYS at 14,264 feet!
Check it out at sunset too for a whole different level of beauty…
Just a little tip:
If you have an annual National Parks pass, you can use it here to avoid paying the fee to drive up to the summit. Woot woot!