The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is America's highest paved
At the turn of the last century, Colorado Springs and Denver were in a race for the hearts and minds (not to mention dollars) of the eastern tourist. In 1888, the Cascade and Pikes Peak Toll Road Company completed a 16-mile road up the north side of Pikes Peak. This became a major tourist attraction, drawing tourists away from Denver Area. Not to be outdone, Denver's Mayor Peer proposed that a road be constructed to the top of Mount Evans. In 1917, he procured state funds to build the road. It was completed in 1927.
During the summers of 1941 and 1942, Denver Mountain Parks built the Crest House (also known as Summit House). It quickly became a favorite destination of Coloradans and tourists. Containing both a restaurant and a gift shop, one could enjoy superb food and buy Mount Evans souvenirs while enjoying a panoramic view of Denver and the eastern plains. Unfortunately, it burned on September 1, 1979 and was not rebuilt, but the rock foundation and wall remain as an observation platform and a windbreak for mountain travelers.
Today, Mount Evans is under the jurisdictions of three different governmental units. CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) is responsible for the road. Denver Mountain Parks is responsible for Summit Lake, Echo Lake and Echo Lake Lodge. The Clear Creek Ranger District of the US Forest Service controls access as well as responsibility for the Mount Evans Wilderness Area.
All 14 miles of the road from the entrance station to the Mount Evans summit parking area (14,130) are paved. From there, you can hike the last 130 feet (about 1/4 mile walk) to the top at 14,264 feet. After you have made this climb, you can tell all your friends: "I climbed a 14,000-foot mountain in Colorado on my vacation!"
Enjoy your visit.
Mount Evans is Managed by the
Clear Creek Ranger Station:
303-567-3000 (8:00am to 4:30pm)