If you’re looking for a guide for hiking up Mt. Evans this is not it. If you are looking for a fun day trip with out of towners not too keen on hiking or just want a lazy day in the mountains this is your trip.
Destination: Mt. Evans & Evergreen
Closest Town: Idaho Springs/Evergreen
About: The Highest of the Chicago Peaks, clocking in at 14, 271 feet is one of the Front Range most prominent peaks
Route: i70 via Squaw Pass Rd and CO-5 S (directions)
Distance: 55.8 Miles
Pitstops: Breakfast – Chick Fil A off 6th at Indian Road. Lunch/Dinner at Smoking Yards in Idaho Springs
Trip Length: Half day to full
Season: Summer, Fall
Mt. Evans is one of the front range 14ers that you can hike or drive all the way to the top, then hike the last 200 yards and take a picture in your sock and chacos with the 14,000 sign and act like you hiked it. A few Saturdays ago we chose the later.
From Denver, there are two ways to approach Mt. Evans, 70 West to Idaho Springs or 70 west to Evergreen and WIND your way to entrance. We chose the later, less trafficy and more scenic route via Evergreen. Since Colorado weather is unpredictable, I suggest getting an early start so you can have more time in around Mt.Evans park before an afternoon storm might roll in.
Once in the park there are some short (like .5 miles) to medium hikes and then the hike all the way to the top. The Ranger at the station can help you choose the perfect hike. Unfortunately, we forgot to bring Jake’s leash so we would not be hiking today. The drive is not for the faint of heart. Its a long and windy road with no guard rails. Roll the windows down drive slow and enjoy the gorgeous views of the front range, Rockies, wildlife and wildflowers that dot the Mt. Evans Wilderness.
Once you reach the top there is a small parking lot where we managed to grab a spot. We snapped pictures with tourist and walked through the burned out remains of what was once the world’s highest restaurant.
Then we made the grueling descent to the top of Mt. Evans. Seriously it’s like 200 yards. The top was very CROWDED and not everyone at the top is as aware of other people as they should be. There is one boulder that everyone was in line to take pictures on top of with the “14,000” sign and we watched an old couple be completely bombarded and basically shoved off the rock by some other tourist…
On the way back down we stopped at the lake to walk around snap pics and enjoy the crazy views. This is also a great spot to fish as the streams were FILLED with fish.
Now what you have completed Mt. Evans what to do for lunch!
Craving a little more adventure? Drive into Evergreen for an afternoon on the lake, shopping and good beer.
Paddle boards, canoes, kayaks and more can be rented from the Evergreen Boathouse.
After a relaxing afternoon on the lake stroll through town and for shopping and a late lunch. On this trip we chose to enjoy some live music on the porch at Cactus Jacks. This Widespread Panic themed burger joint offers yummy food and fabulous service. Little Bear Saloon is a Evergreen establishment and good escape from the heat. For the beer lover check out Revival Brews on the opposite side main street. This brewery offers lots of patio seating and great food as well.
i70 to Idaho Springs>Denver
Avoid the windy road return to Denver and stop in Smoking Yards for some amazing BBQ and BOILED PEANUTS!! For pizza BeauJos is a i70 staple.
Get Me Back to Denver! Via i70