If you're looking for a day trip filled with Colorado-bred beauty and wildlife, look no further than the gorgeous peak that towers over the Denver metro area -- Mount Evans.
Take advantage of this gem of a jaunt while you can: The road to the top of Mount Evans generally closes after Labor Day (depending on weather), so Coloradans typically have a quick three-month window to squeeze in this scenic trek each summer. The payoff, however -- in the form of breathtaking views and the ability to practically brush shoulders with mountain goats -- is huge.
Courtesy of Jesse Waldron
Located a mere 60-mile drive west of downtown Denver, Mount Evans is the "fourteener" we see most prominently from the metro area.
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At 14,264 feet tall, it is one of 54 Colorado peaks that ascend over that magic "fourteener" (14,000 feet) mark. And the road to get to the top -- the Mount Evans Scenic Byway -- is actually the highest paved road in North America. Carve out at least half a day for your trip up and back. It always takes longer to get to the top of the world than you think it will!
The world is way different up there, too -- the air is thinner, trees no longer grow, and sightings of wildlife (like mountain goats and yellow-bellied marmots) are abundant.
Courtesy of Joy Moore
Just look ...
And check out these little guys!
The wildflowers, sweeping vistas, and natural beauty will warm your little stone-cold city-dweller heart.
Here are a few tips for the uninitiated:
- Make sure you wear sunscreen; your skin will burn quicker at this altitude.
- Be gentle with yourself physically, especially if you're not used to high elevations. You will notice that there's definitely less oxygen, and you may feel out-of-breath and lightheaded.
- Thunderstorms often roll in during the afternoons, so try to plan your trip for the morning.
- Bring a picnic lunch and eat at Echo Lake (there's a Subway sandwich place or a plethora of other options in Idaho Springs).
From Denver, take I-70 west to Idaho Springs. Take exit 240, then take CO-103 S to CO-5 S (the Mount Evans Scenic Bypass). Be prepared for tight curves and roads with no guardrails. Drive safely!
For more info about a Mount Evans day trip, click here!
Have you been up to Mount Evans? Have any tips for first-timers? Tell everyone why they simply must drive up this iconic Colorado peak in the comments below!