Agenda Discovery Week Month

Curated for Me

MOUNT EVANS (14,264')

Into Colorado
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Endorsed by Curators:
Jul 15 5:30AM - 6:30AM


Hiking a 14er is not to be taken lightly. Each of us will be doing our best to summit and get back down safely. By signing up for these hikes you need to be prepared to get yourself UP AND DOWN the mountain on your own. Everybody will be moving at their own pace. Know when to turn around. You need to have the energy to get yourself back down the mountain. DO NOT continue up the mountain if you are becoming exhausted going up. PLEASE DONT ATTEND A 14ER HIKE IF YOU HAVE NOT BEEN DOING OTHER HIKES.

My plan is to use this as a training hike and only hike up to the top and not down. The plan will be to get a car to the summit and leave it there and thendrive one back down to Summit Lake to the trailhead. I will only hike one way and then drive down. If you want to do the RT hike that will be up to you. If you want to do the one way hike you will be responsible for your own transportation.

Distance: 2.9 miles (one way) 5.8 miles RT
Elevation: +1,434 feet (1,906 RT)
Difficulty: Moderate Strenuous
Dogs: allowed on leash

Mt Evans (14,264') is the 14th highest peak in Colorado, and closest fourteener to the Denver metro area. While the summit is accessible by car, there are also several hiking routes of varying length and difficulty leading to it.

One route begins at Summit Lake and climbs 1,400' in 2.9 miles to Mt Evans. Visitors will enjoy a relatively moderate trek through open tundra with excellent wildlife viewing throughout.
Surprisingly, hiking routes to Mt Evans are absent from many popular maps. View this map for the route, which scales the Summit Lake cirque to Mt Spalding, then over Lake Abyss to Mt Evans:
The trail skirts Summit Lake to the Chicago Lakes - Mt Evans Trail split (.2 miles) with long views down the glacially carved Chicago Creek Valley.

The Mt Evans Trail banks left and climbs steeply with several short rock scrambles to the top of the Summit Lake cirque basin (1.0 miles : 13,717'). Here travel moderates in open tundra with panoramas that include Grays and Torreys, Mt Bierstadt and the Chicago and Summit Lake basins.
The trail rises to a crest just behind Mt Spalding (1.2 miles : 13,830') and drops to a low point in a broad saddle (1.5 miles : 13,621'). A good line of cairns mark the trail, but blend seamlessly into the landscape. Keep track of your progress, as the faint trail can be difficult to follow.

The trail climbs steeply from the nadir to a crest (2.0 miles : 13,960'), and wraps around the southwest side of Mt Evans with commanding views over the Abyss Lake basin, Mt Bierstadt, and Sawtooth.

The trail crosses 14,000 at 2.1 miles, but undulates ruggedly through large boulders with little net gain over the next half mile.

Travel slows through this uneven section until reaching the Mt Evans Road (2.85 miles : 14,169'), just before which switchbacks break left to the Mt Evans summit (2.9 miles : 14,264').
Views are sensational, but the mountain goats and bighorn sheep that frequent the summit pavilion may be of even greater interest. Enjoy wildlife from a safe distance.

N[masked] W[masked] 0.0 miles : Summit Lake Trailhead
N[masked] W[masked] .2 miles : Chicago Lakes - Mt Evans Trail split
N[masked] W[masked] .5 miles : Steep, steady climb out of Summit Lake cirque
N[masked] W[masked] 1.0 miles : Crest over basin and moderate in open tundra
N[masked] W[masked] 1.5 miles : Low point on saddle; begin steep climb
N[masked] W[masked] 2.0 miles : Crest hill and wrap to west side of Mt Evans
N[masked] W[masked] 2.1 miles : Cross 14,000'
N[masked] W[masked] 2.85 miles : Reach road; turn up switchbacks to summit
N[masked] W[masked] 2.9 miles : Mt Evans (14,264')

Worth Noting:
Though it sees heavy use, the Mt Evans Trail is faint and indistinguishable from the landscape in several places. Additionally, travel slows as you pick your way through large talus from 2.1 to 2.8 miles. Allow plenty of time for the hike, and aim for lower ground well before storms develop.

Land east of Summit Lake is known as the Summit Lake Flats, and is the only known area of permafrost in the United States outside of Alaska.
Summit Lake is known to hold very large rainbow and brown trout.
Mt Spalding (13,842') is a short detour from the trail, and relatively easy summit.
Mt Evans Road is the highest paved road in North America.

Camping and Backpacking Information:
Dispersed backcountry camping is permitted in the Pike National Forest, Arapaho National Forest, and Mt Evans Wilderness Area. Camping is not permitted at Summit Lake, or the immediate vicinity. Summit Lake is managed separately by Denver Mountain Park.
Camping is prohibited within 100' of any lake, stream, or road. Group size is limited to 15 individuals.
Campfires are permitted for dispersed backcountry camping, with potential seasonal and elevation restrictions.
If in the Mt Evans Wilderness, one member of each party is required to register at Mt Evans Wilderness boundary board and carry a copy of the registration with them during their visit. There is no registration fee.

Rules and Regulations:
There's a $10 fee to park at Summit Lake, Mt Evans Summit, and Mount Goliath Trailhead.
Dogs are permitted on the Mt Evans Trail. Dogs must be leashed at all times.
Bikes and mechanized vehicles are not permitted on the Mt Evans Trail.

Directions to Trailhead:

The Summit Lake Trailhead is located 22.9 miles south of Idaho Springs, CO on the Mt Evans Scenic Byway.

From I-70, exit #240 and head south on HWY 103 (toward Mt Evans). Veer right onto Highway 105 just past Echo Lake and continue to the Summit Lake parking lot. Note there's a fee station just past Echo Lake before you veer right onto 105.

Contact Information: Clear Creek Ranger District
101 Chicago Creek Road
P.O. Box 3307
Idaho Springs, CO 80452

South Platte Ranger District
19316 Goddard Ranch Court
Morrison, CO 80465
[masked] (phone)
[masked] (fax)
Office Hours:
Monday - Friday, 8 am - 4:30 pm (excluding National Holidays)

DISCLAIMER: Hiking is risky. Every year people are hurt and killed because they go beyond their abilities, get lost, or bring the wrong gear. I spend hours researching hikes and rely on various sources, but I can't vouch for their accuracy. I am not a professional guide, you are responsible for yourself. By signing up for this hike you acknowledge that you are solely responsible for your own safety and will do the necessary research to understand the conditions of this hike and the gear you require.

Updated Ten Essentials for Hiking "Systems"

1. Navigation (map and compass)

2. Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)

3. Insulation (extra clothing)

4. Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)

5. First-aid supplies

6. Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)

7. Repair kit and tools

8. Nutrition (extra food)

9. Hydration (extra water)

10. Emergency shelter

Be prepared for anything during winter hiking. Traction devices are suggested to be carried for all hikes Oct - Jun. Gloves can come in handy as well. Trails can be clear, muddy, icy, or 2 feet of snow and sometimes all of these on the same day.

NOTICE: More than two no-shows will be cause for your removal from the group. Consistent drops from activities within 24hrs of the activity will also be cause for removal from the group. It is not fair to others to take up an RSVP and not show up. Please only sign up for activities you are confident you will be able to attend.

LUNCH: The Wild Game, 1204 Bergen Pkwy, Evergreen, CO

Upcoming Events

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Jul 22 7:30AM - 8:30AM
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Aug 19 7:30AM - 8:30AM
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