Mount Blue Sky Recreation Area & Scenic Byway


Area Status: Open
Clouds rolling in at mile marker 5, giving drivers the illusion of driving above the clouds.

The Scenic Byway to Mount Blue Sky climbs over 7,000 feet in its 28-mile length, reaching an altitude of 14,130' feet. Idaho Springs serves as the starting point to the byway, which is the highest paved road in North America! This drive offers visitors scenic views of the Continental Divide, mountain goat and bighorn sheep herds, marmots, birds and apline wildflowers, and the Rocky Mountain Bristlecone Pine trees. The Mount Blue Sky Recreation Area offers easy access to Colorado’s inspiring high mountain environment. 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 Blue Sky will take your breath away, in more ways than one!

The Scenic Byway to Mount Blue Sky is jointly managed with the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Improvements to a section of Mount Blue Sky Scenic Byway (Colo. Highway 5) will impact visitors in 2024 and 2025. Construction will begin in late July or early August 2024 with a temporary lane closure in the project area near Summit Lake. Visitors may experience traffic delays. Starting Sept. 3, 2024, through all of 2025, Mount Blue Sky Highway will be closed to motorized and non-motorized travel (foot, bike, etc.). A public closure area will span from the CDOT gate on Colo. Highway 5 through the project area, above Summit Lake. Access to the Mount Blue Sky summit will only be available from various hiking trails. The area will reopen, as conditions allow, on Memorial Day weekend 2026.

Mount Blue Sky History - Learn about the history of the mountain and the road.

In 2019, Clear Creek County supported petitions by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and the Wilderness Society to change the name of Mount Evans, which was named after John Evans, the territorial governor of Colorado who authorized the Sand Creek Massacre. After two nation-to-nation consultations, the Board on Geographic Names voted in September 2023 to change the name to Mount Blue Sky. The new name holds significance to the Arapaho who were known as the Blue Sky People and to the Cheyenne who have an annual renewal of life ceremony called Blue Sky. Following the name change of the mountain, the Colorado Department of Transportation changed the name of the state highway to the Mount Blue Sky Scenic and Historic Byway. As of this printing, legislation to change the name of the Mount Evans Wilderness area has been introduced.

Watch this helpful video by Colorado Parks and Wildlife for important information to know before visiting Mount Blue Sky.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: The Mount Blue Sky Recreation Area is tentatively scheduled to open May 31, 2024, weather dependent. Reservations for Mount Blue Sky can be made starting at 8 a.m. May 21, 2024, and reservations can be made up to 30 days before your visit. Reservations are required if planning to park and visit one of the three developed sites (Mount Goliath Natural Area, Summit Lake Park, or the Mount Blue Sky Summit) between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Reservations: Reservations are required for vehicle entry. Go to recreation.gov to create an account and purchase your ticket.
https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10087438
Fees: Please see recreation.gov for all fees and additional information.
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions:
  • No camping, campfires or stove fires except in designated campgrounds or dispersed campsites.
  • Dogs must be on leash
  • Special Events (Family Reunions, Weddings, and other Non-Commercial Group events) are not permitted along Highway 5 or at developed sites located on the corridor. The developed interpretive sites on this corridor are designed for interpretation and education for the public and are not appropriate for special events as they are continually at or over capacity. CFR: § 261.16 Developed recreation sites. Prohibited: (a) occupying any portion of the site for other than recreation purposes.
Closest Towns: Idaho Springs, CO; Bergen Park, CO
Water: No
Restroom: Vault Toilets
Operated By: Highways operated by CDOT - Colorado Department of Transporation

General Information

Directions:

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 Blue Sky.

From Bergen Park: Take Highway 103 west and travel to Echo Lake. Take Highway 5 to the top of Mount Blue Sky.


Activities

Road Cycling

Recreation areas with activity Road Cycling:
Difficulty Level: Easy to Difficult

Viewing Wildlife

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Wildlife:

Viewing Scenery

Recreation areas with activity Viewing Scenery:

Interpretive Areas

Recreation areas with activity Interpretive Areas:

Scenic Driving

Recreation areas with activity Scenic Driving:
Pavement Type for Parking Paved
Size Restrictions Vehicles over 30' long are not recommeded on Highway 5 (Mount Evans road) due to the steep, narrow, winding road.
Corrals Vehicles over 30' long are not recommeded on Highway 5 (Mount Evans road) due to the steep, narrow, winding road.

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Featured Events

Location

 
  Latitude : 
39.65554

  Longitude : 
-105.59549

  Elevation : 
7,000' - 14,130'