Mount Evans Wilderness

The United States Congress designated the Mount Evans Wilderness in 1980 and it now has a total of 74,401 acres. Mount Evans Wilderness is located approximately 40 miles west of Denver, Colorado. The Mt. Evans Scenic Byway ascends a non-wilderness corridor into the center of the Wilderness. The road, two 14,000 foot peaks (14,264' Mt. Evans and 14,060' Mt. Bierstadt), and the close proximity to Denver have contributed to very heavy use. Despite the likelihood of encountering other users, the area offers several unique features worthy of a visit. Evidence of past glaciers can be seen in the steep granite cirques and glacial moraines surrounding the high peaks.

The Wilderness contains small regions of arctic tundra, rare south of the Arctic Circle. Unlike typical Colorado alpine tundra, which is dry and brittle once the snow recedes, arctic tundra holds numerous small pools of water. Vegetation ranges from lower spruce-fir and lodgepole forests, through 2,000-year-old Bristlecone pines and Krummholtz near treeline, to delicate alpine vegetation reaching all the way to the highest peaks. Deer and elk inhabit the sub-alpine areas, and bighorn sheep and mountain goats are common above treeline.

Special protection for the Mount Evans area began 1956 with the designation of the approximately 5,880 acre Abyss Lake Scenic Area under the precursor of the Wilderness Act, the "U-Regulations" of 1939. This was followed in 1980 by the creation of the Mount Evans Wilderness under the Colorado Wilderness Act.

Mount Evans is accessed by a 110 mile trail network, 84 miles of which are within the Wilderness boundary.

Please help keep Wilderness wild by following Leave No Trace practices. 

At a Glance

Permit Info: Wilderness permits are required. Self-issuing permits are available at the wilderness boundary free of charge.
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Restrictions: Wilderness regulations apply
Closest Towns: Bailey, Conifer, Evergreen, Georgetown
Water: Treat all non-potable water before consuming.
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center:

General Information


Trailheads and Trails

Topo maps

Forest Service Topography Maps: These maps overlay Forest Service assets, such as roads, trails, and campgrounds, on USGS's topographic maps. They are available for download by quadrangle.

Buy maps online

National Forest Store: Offers a full, nationwide selection of National Forest, Ranger District, Wilderness, and Specialty Maps for purchase online or by phone, fax, and mail.

Colorado’s Fourteeners

Find more information about climbing Colorado’s peaks at the Rocky Mountain Region 14ers page.

Go to for additional maps and information about Wilderness.

General Notes:

Arapaho National Forest (north side trails):

Hells Hole Trail #53

South Chicago Creek Trail #90

Chicago Lakes Trail #52

Resthouse Meadows Trail #57

Captain Mountain Trail #46

Beaver Meadows Trail #44

Beartracks Lake Trail #43

Lost Creek Trail #42

Cub Creek Trail #40

Pike National Forest (south side trails, listed below under activities):


XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

Recreation areas with activity XC Skiing/Snowshoeing:

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities