Mount Evans 14, 264ft from Summit Lake (West Ridge via Mt. Spaulding)
Mount Evans Wilderness, Arapaho National Forest
Date Hiked: June 23, 2012
- Distance: Approx. 5 miles (RT)
- Elevation Gain: 2,300ft
- Elevation Min/Max: 11,970 to 14,270ft
- Trailhead Lat/Long: 39.598061º N; 105.640394º W
- Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service
- Fee: $10 (Annual National Parks Pass Accepted)
14ers.com webpage for West Ridge Route
14ers.com webpage for Northeast Face Route
West Ridge Route Trail Map (Google Maps)
Directions: This route to the summit of Mt. Evans starts at Summit Lake (Denver Mountain Park). Summit Lake is the last stop before the summit parking lot on Mt. Evans Road. From Denver take I-70 west to Idaho Springs, take the Mt. Evans Exit south and take Chicago Creek Road to Mt. Evans Road, just after Echo Lake. The road is closed in winter and there is a fee to drive up the road. If you have a National Parks Pass it will work here, even though the area is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, not the National Park Service.
Climbing Mt. Evans is a funny experience. You work really hard and then get to the top and find yourself surrounded by a crowd of tourists that drove to the top. That being said, the hike up from Summit Lake is nothing short of spectacular. From the time you leave Summit Lake until you reach Evans, you get a true wilderness experience.
As usual, I'll defer the detailed trail description to the good folks at 14ers.com, just a few thoughts... The hike between the summit of Mt. Spaulding and the Summit of Evans is incredibly fun. The view of the Sawtooth Ridge and Mt. Bierstadt is stunning and it's really cool to see the crowd of people on Bierstadt from another 14er. The trail gets quite exposed at times, make no mistake you are climbing a 14er on this hike, take all the same precautions that you would on any other 14er.
I chose to descend via the northeast face, and my GPS lost me half way down. This trail is very steep but it is the quickest route back to Summit Lake and makes for a nice loop hike.
Enjoy this incredible hike, and if you've never driven up to Evans, you should probably do that also, it's actually very cool.