Mount Evans Recreation Area

Photo of Mount Evans by Ed McQuiston

The Clear Creek Ranger District of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland invites you to the Mount Evans experience, accessed via the highest paved road in North America!  The Mount Evans Recreation Area offers easy access to Colorado’s inspiring high mountain environment.  See Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mountain goats, marmots, birds and alpine wildflowers!  Take a short walk to the top of your first 14er!  Overlook spectacular views of distant mountain peaks, alpine lakes and glacier valleys!  Walk amongst the oldest living organisms on earth!  A drive to the top of Mount Evans will take your breath away, in more ways than one!

Alerts and Notices for 2019 Season

The Mount Evans Road OPENED FOR THE SEASON on Friday June 7, 2019.

• The Mount Evans Road WILL NOT OPEN for the season on Friday May 24, 2019 due weather conditions and snow removal.  There is not an estimated opening date at this time.

• The top five mile section of road to the Summit of Mount Evans Interpretive Site is scheduled to be closed for the season on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at Summit Lake.

• The lower section of the road will remain open until Monday, October 7, 2019 depending on weather conditions.

• The entire road will be closed on Saturday, June 8, 2019 until NOON for the Mount Evans Ascent running event.

• The entire road will be closed on Saturday, July 27, 2019 until 2:00 PM for the Bob Cook Memorial Hill Climb bicycle race.

Mount Evans is a very popular destination for thousands of visitors each year. Expect heavy traffic, limited parking with full parking lots and lines on most weekends and especially during holiday weekends.  Wait times could be 30 minutes or longer on weekends. The best time to visit is during the week and mornings.


The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests is excited to announce the release of two free mobile apps, available on smartphones and online, where visitors and kids can learn more about the Mount Evans Scenic Byway and some of its most interesting places. Make you sure to download the apps from the app store on your smartphone before heading up the mountain! Being in the wilderness, Mount Evans does not have accessible wifi and cell phone coverage isn’t always the most reliable up there. However, once it’s downloaded, you don’t need a wifi or cell service connection to play!  Downloading the app is easy: simply search for “Arapaho and Roosevelt” and “Agents of Discovery” in your device’s app store. It is free to download and available for both iOS and Android. The Mount Evans Scenic Byway app can also be viewed online at Check out the Discover the Forest Page or visit to find a live Agents of Discovery site near you!

Open Season

The Mount Evans Road and Scenic Byway (Colorado Highway 5) is  typically open the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through the first weekend in October, depending on weather conditions. The road and access to the top of Mount Evans is closed at Summit Lake the day after Labor Day.


  • From I-70: Take exit 240 in Idaho Springs. Follow Highway 103 south until it meets Echo Lake. Take Highway 5 to the top of Mount Evans.
  • From Bergen Park: Take Squaw Pass Road/Highway 103 west and travel to Echo Lake. Take Highway 5 to the top of Mount Evans.
  • Please note that U.S. Forest Service information is provided at the Idaho Springs Visitors Center, located east of downtown Idaho Springs at 2600 Miner Street. Visitors services are not available at the Forest Service office on Highway 103.

Come Prepared

Conditions can change quickly and drastically on Mount Evans.  Regardless of the weather conditions at the road's base, come prepared for any of the following: intense sunlight, cold temperatures, snow, hail or rain, extreme wind, and low oxygen levels. The road can close any day throughout the summer due to winter-like conditions.  If you have any concern whether or not the road is open, contact the Idaho Springs Visitors Center at 303-567-4382 or check road conditions with Colorado Department of Transportation before beginning your trip.  Vehicles over 30' long are not recommended on Highway 5 (Mount Evans road) due to the steep, narrow, winding road.

Fees and Regulations

The Forest Service charges a standard amenity recreation fee, authorized by the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, for the services and amentities provided at its two developed sites within the Mount Evans Recreation Area.  The fee is required at: Mount Goliath Natural Area and the Summit of Mount Evans Interpretive Site.  These extremely popular and sensitive areas provide significant opportunities for outdoor recreation at a high elevation sites.  The substantial federal investments within the Mount Evans Recreation Area provide key amenities and services necessary for the comfort, education, enjoyment and safety of the visiting public.

The City of Denver charges a separate fee for Summit Lake Park. For visitor convenience, both passes are available for purchase at the Mount Evans Welcome Station.

Mount Evans Area Descriptions and Amenities At-A-Glance

Learn about all the things Mount Evans has to offer.

Mount Goliath Natural Area and Dos Chappell Nature Center

Only three miles up the Mount Evans Road is the Dos Chappell Nature Center, your first major point of interest. The nature center has exhibits that interpret the adaptations of plants and animals living in sub-alpine and alpine environments. Outside you will find Bristlecone Pine trees 900 to 2,000 year old and an alpine garden. This center is a cooperative effort with the Denver Botanic Gardens and the U.S. Forest Service who staff the building and are available to answer questions.

Summit Lake Park

As you continue your ascent up Mount Evans, just before mile marker 10 is Summit Lake Park and your next major point of interest. Here you will find awe inspiring views of a landscape carved out by ancient glaciers over thousands of years. Summit Lake Park is part of the Denver Mountain Parks system owned by the City and County of Denver.

The Summit of Mount Evans Interpretive Site

The summit awaits you at the end of this 14 mile road. Spectacular views of the Continental Divide, the possibility of seeing mountain goats and Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, the ruins of a historic restaurant and the opportunity to hike a short distance to the summit of Mount Evans are just a few attractions at The Top.

Mount Evans History

Learn about the History of the mountain and the road.


Would you like to volunteer with us?  There are many opportunities to become a Mount Evans Forest Service Volunteer.