Road from Summit Lake to summit will close on Sept. 4.
Ah, Labor Day. That beautiful holiday that marks the end of summer, where we gleefully skip work on a Monday feeling a little bit like we are playing hooky and getting away with it. It’s also a great day to get outdoors and enjoy nature before we transition into a new season, weather permitting (believe it or not, the earliest snow recorded in Denver was Sept. 3 according to weather.gov).
The holiday also means one more thing in Colorado: wildlife officials pack up all of the Mount Evans' mountain goats and put them away for the winter.
Kidding, kidding! But Labor Day may be your last chance this year to see these climbing dynamos in action on the summit. The last five miles of road to the top of the 14er will close to vehicles on Sept. 4.
It's a beautiful drive that's not to be missed -- you'll see beautiful glacier valleys, rocky peaks, and ancient bristlecone pines. Don't forget to take some pics of the wildlife grazing along your journey. Once you reach the top, you’ll find yourself at 14,264 feet, in total awe at the inspiring beauty of nature.
If traffic to the summit doesn't send you over the edge, these guys might. We kid, we kid (mountain goat kid, that is)!
If a trip up the hill is on your agenda, it would be best to get up there as soon as you can. It’s also important to note that every year, all of Denver tries to drive up there on Labor Day (well, not ALL, but it will seem that way). Your best bet to is to try to get there before the weekend, if you can.
However, if you decide to go over the holiday weekend, Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) officials are telling drivers to expect long wait times.
“Motorists should expect heavy traffic, limited parking lots and lines on most weekends and especially during the holiday weekend. Wait times could be 30 minutes or longer on weekends. The best times to visit are during the week and mornings,” CDOT advised.
In addition to preparing for traffic, also prepare for the altitude. While you are drinking in all the beauty at the summit, you will probably also be seriously gasping for that clean mountain air. At that height, the oxygen is thinner than your grandpa's hair, so just take your time, enjoy the views, and don’t push it. Also, slather on the sunscreen because up there, you are almost walking on sunshine – there is 50 percent less protection against the sun that high above sea level.
Should you miss your last chance to head up to the summit over the holiday weekend, the road from Echo Lake to Summit Lake will remain open until Monday, Oct. 8, depending on the weather. In addition, Highway 5 (Mount Evans Road) is scheduled to reopen for the 2019 summer season the Friday before Memorial Day, conditions permitting.
Did you visit Mount Evans this summer? Will you be making one last summit trip over the Labor Day weekend? Let us know in the comments.