Summit Mount Evans

Mount Evans, Summit Lake Trailhead - Search Nearby - Added by Will McKay

Wake up early, get there for sunrise, and be ready for one of the most stunning hikes near Denver.

Mount Evans is a simple, yet drop dead gorgeous 14er. That being said, no 14er is easy by any means. However as far as 14er's go, this is a cake walk. Coming in at a rating of class 2, there tends to be some scrambling but nothing a well balanced person can't handle.

To begin this adventure, we drove up to the Summit Lake parking lot at around 5am. There is a $5 fee for parking but that can be payed upon departure of the parking lot. Please do pay this fee, it goes directly to helping protect our beautiful landscapes.

Remember, Colorado and any mountainous region tends to get afternoon storms around 1-3 pm. It's crucial to get an early start and avoid these storms. And it doesn't hurt getting there before sunrise because, well, its a stunning rise. 

To begin the hike, you'll head from the Summit Lake parking lot towards a small building on the north end of the lake. From there follow the small footpath up the incline of Mt. Spalding. It's crucial that you head up the ridge of Mt. Spalding and not the trail that follows the base, that'll get you no where. 

From the top of Spalding (13,000 ft or so), you'll follow the ridge in a counter clockwise motion. Essentially your goal is to get to the opposite side of Summit Lake via the ridge. That'll be Mount Evans.

Once crossing the ridge you'll be hit hard with some stunning views of the lake, Mt. Bierstadt, and even Denver if it's a low atmosphere day. 

The trail will seem to disappear at points and the best way to counter the confusion is to follow the little rock piles that mark the trail. They'll be a little tough to see at first, however you'll soon catch on to their patterns.

After crossing the ridge directly facing the parking lot, you'll begin to traverse through a rock field, eventually ending up on the back side of Mount Evans. 

This next part is a little difficult depending on the weather. Follow the roughly made footpath through the boulder field and be prepared to occasionally scramble. Continue up the back side of Mount Evans until you reach a "better path" aka a path a bit more wide and established. To your right you should be able to see Mt. Bierstadt, truly a beautiful peak!

Once hitting the established path, continue up the face and feel the relief of hitting the summit. When we summited there was a little hidden elevation sign tucked away in some rocks next to the geographic marker.

Also, don't forget to take photos of the mountain goats!

After you've had time to take photos, eat some grub and drink a ridiculous amount of water, follow the path down to the road. From the road head to the old amphitheater that seems to always be infested with those burly mountain goats. 

The amphitheater parking will have a small trail on the north end of the lot. Follow this down the northeast face of Mount Evans. It can be a bit tricky due to loose rock, especially if it's rained within the pass few days. Take it slow and don't cause any rolled ankles! The best way to tell if you're on the right route is to simply look down the face and view Mount Evans road.

Once at the road, head back to the now entirely filled parking lot and go take a nap in your car. You've earned it! 

Distance

4.5 Miles RT

Elevation Gain

2000 ft Gain

Type

Loop

Activities

Photography, Hiking

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Nearby Lodging

Denver West / Central City KOA

Central City, Colorado

From $385/night

The Woods

Frisco, Colorado

From $145/night

The Greens

Frisco, Colorado

From $168/night

Copper Springs

Frisco, Colorado

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Mount Evans!

Mount Evans is a rad mountain. It is very unique because you can access the peak 2 different ways, hiking the whole route or taking the easy way and driving nearly to the top within a quarter of a mile. One thing is, as with all mountains, be aware of the weather and how quickly it changes. Once when I was standing on the summit my hair starting standing straight up and my phone started crackling, a storm rolled in so fast, we were only on the summit for maybe 5 minutes.

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