Journey to the Top: Discovering the Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Mount Evans Scenic Byway
Mount Evans Scenic Byway

The Mount Evans Byway in Colorado, promises a memorable journey through some of the most stunning vistas in the United States. For people who enjoy the outdoors, road trippers, and the rush of traveling at a high altitude, this famous byway in the Rocky Mountains is a must-visit location.

Where is Mount Evans scenic byway located?

Mount Evans Road, perched in the Rocky Mountains, stretches approximately 28 miles from the charming mountain town of Idaho Springs to the summit of Mount Evans. While its length may not rival some of the more extended scenic routes, it’s a concentrated dose of captivating natural beauty.

You can locate this road on the map below:

Enlarge the map

Why Visit the Mount Evans scenic byway?

  • Scenic Beauty: Mount Evans Road offers a breathtaking journey through diverse ecosystems, from lush forests to the barren beauty of the alpine tundra. The scenery is a delight for photographers and nature enthusiasts, with each season bringing its unique charm.
  • Outdoor Activities: The road leads to the gateway of Mount Evans Wilderness, where hiking and outdoor exploration opportunities abound. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, there are trails for all levels. Summit Lake Park is another must-visit spot for its serene beauty and hiking trails.
  • Wildlife Encounters: The Mount Evans area is home to abundant wildlife, including bighorn sheep, mountain goats, marmots, and many species of birds. Prepare your camera for unexpected wildlife sightings and remember to observe from a respectful distance.
  • High-Altitude Experience: At an elevation exceeding 14,000 feet, the Mount Evans summit provides a unique high-altitude experience, making it a coveted destination for both locals and tourists. It’s an opportunity to explore the wonders of alpine ecosystems.

History of the Mount Evans Scenic Byway:

Mount Evans Scenic Byway has a rich history dating back to its construction in the early 1920s. Indeed, it was originally built as an entrance to the summit observatory and over the years has become a premier destination for travelers seeking high-altitude adventure. The expansion and maintenance of the road have made it accessible to countless tourists, preserving the impressive beauty of the region.

Also, consider stopping at the Echo Lake Park Visitor Center and the Mount Goliath Natural Area Visitor Center along the way. These centers provide valuable information, trail maps, and insights into the flora and fauna of the region.

Road preview:

You can obviously have a preview of that drive. Here is a YouTube video that shows a part of the road:

The Journey on Mount Evans Scenic Byway:

Your journey begins in the quaint town of Idaho Springs, known for its historic charm and hot mineral springs. As you begin the climb up Mount Evans Road, you will be surrounded by dense forests of evergreen trees and towering aspens, making for a tranquil and immersive experience. The road takes you on an exciting adventure with twists, turns, and steep climbs. The higher you go, the more breathtaking the view is. Many lifts and overlooks offer the opportunity to stop and enjoy scenic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys and sometimes spot wildlife such as bighorn sheep and mountain goats. The closer we get to the summit, the rougher the terrain becomes and the air becomes clearer.

The final leg of the journey takes you above the tree line, offering a surreal experience beyond the world of trees and into the land of alpine tundra. At the summit of Mount Evans, one of Colorado’s “Fourteeners” (mountains more than 16,000 feet above sea level), you’ll be greeted by miles of panoramic views. On a clear day, you can see the Denver skyline to the east and the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in all other directions.

To embark on your Mount Evans Road adventure, start in Idaho Springs, a convenient starting point for those from Denver. Follow State Highway 103 to Echo Lake, where you’ll find the entrance to Mount Evans Road. The drive to Echo Lake alone is picturesque, offering a foretaste of the scenic beauty that awaits.

You can also read about the article about the Monarch Pass.

You can visualize how to get there on this approximative map of the drive:

Is the Mount Evans Road open?

From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, Mount Evans Road is regularly open from late spring to early autumn. The greatest time to go is in the summer when the roads are free of snow and the wildflowers are in full bloom. When the wildflowers are just starting to appear and the terrain is still covered in snow, late spring gives a special experience.

Keep in mind that the summit of Mount Evans is over 5,000 meters above sea level and the air is significantly thinner. It is important to acclimatize, stay hydrated, and dress appropriately as temperatures can be significantly lower at high altitudes. If you plan to go hiking, bring appropriate equipment and clothing to ensure comfort and safety.

Mount Evans Road isn’t just a road; it’s a gateway to a high-altitude adventure in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking to hike in a pristine wilderness, a nature lover hoping to spot wildlife or a traveler seeking an iconic scenic drive, Mount Evans Road has something to offer. The combination of scenic beauty, outdoor activities, wildlife encounters, and a unique high-altitude experience makes this iconic byway a must-visit destination in Colorado. So, gear up, start your engine, and embark on a journey to the top of Mount Evans, where you’ll discover a world of natural wonders and create memories to last a lifetime.

Picture credit: Kent Kanouse on

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