Summit Mt. Evans via Mt. Spalding

Evergreen, Colorado



5.5 miles

Elevation Gain

20000 ft

Route Type



Added by Kyle Colby

Mountain goats and big horn sheep are often present. Amazing views to other 14ers and lakes. Dogs are allowed on leash, no bikes on the trail.

Mount Evans offers a great hike and 360 degree scenic views of the Front Range inaccessible any other way. This is a well-traveled area so it’s ideal for beginners as you’re not in a remote wilderness and might even have cell service depending on your provider. Moreover, Mt. Evans is one of two 14,000’ peaks in Colorado that you are able to drive up. So if all else fails, you can have a buddy serve as rescue vehicle at the top.

Wildlife is everywhere during the high season and ranges from Mountain Goats, Big Horn Sheep, Marmots, Pika, to a variety of bird life. Further, during the summer a variety of wildflowers and high alpine vegetation blooms allowing even the enthusiast photographer opportunities for once in a life time shots. Remember; do not approach the wildlife and do not step on the flower as some take up to 25 years to mature and bloom.

On Evans, one can choose his or her own difficulty for the peak and it offers an easier accomplishment for new mountaineers up a well-traveled 14,000’ peak. You can follower the cairns on the trail, or if you’re a seasoned mountain goer, try climbing the ridge and scrambling most of the way.

My trip up was in support of the with Second Mile Water; non-profit organizations that support clean water initiatives around the world. The CO54 plans to have as many people as possible summit all 54 of Colorado’s 14,000’ peaks while raising funds and awareness for a worthy cause. I dragged my Taekwon-Do students and a few seniors along for this particular trip. The views were astonishing and as this was several of the team’s first high altitude/mountain climb experience, Mt. Evans presented an excellent opportunity to allow all levels to challenge themselves. We ended up summiting 17 people on Mt. Spaulding and Mt. Evans!!!

My personal favorite part of this trip was a gentleman among my crew with Cerebral Palsy; he summited on his own power!! The man serves as an inspiration for me and my crew as he demonstrated a level of dedication and perseverance that few have. It was an incredible moment at the summit as everyone on top cheered and roared as Mr. V rounded the final switchback to the top: truly a tear jerking moment.

  • Start Early; the mountain lighting storms roll in quickly in the afternoons in Colorado and you do NOT want to be caught on the West or North faces exposed in an electrical storm. I left at 6:00am from Summit Lake in order to ensure ample time for armatures and newbies with me. However, at a steady pace the climb can be done in 3-4 hours round trip so an 8:00am departure is acceptable depending on your fitness.
  • Dress in Layers; the trail starts at above 12,000’ and in the predawn the temperature in AUGUST was 30 degrees F at 6am (the high was 79)
  • Rain Gear: Always have a rain jacket in your pack, if you don’t like the weather above timber line wait ten minutes
  • Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: you’re headed to high altitude and your body will respond accordingly. The bloody will try and condense your blood stream so as to allow for a more concentrated distribution of oxygen. The day before down as much water as you can bare and continue to hydrate throughout your climb and you’ll likely not every have to deal with any altitude related issues.
  • Route Finding: The trail meanders up and down a bit on the traverse across the west face. Look for the Cairns (piles of rocks used to mark routes)
  • HAVE FUN: Bring a buddy or three and enjoy the views of the Colorado Mountains
  • Difficulty: Class 2 (Moderate)
  • Exposure: Mild exposure very close to the route. Route options may be limited but you should be able to walk past the exposure area.
  • Summit Elev.: 14,264 feet
  • Trailhead Elev.: 12,850 feet
  • Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet
  • Route Length: 5.5 miles if you return over Mt. Spalding.
  • 4.5 miles if you descend the Northeast face back to Summit Lake.
  • Trailhead: Evans/Summit Lake @39.6003495,-105.6417239,17
  • Take Mount Evans Road and pay either the gate fee of $10 or the $5 (self-pay station) at Summit Lake Park depending on if the main gate is open (main gate opens at 8am) Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall. (Closed in Winter)

Live like a local: I love visiting TommyKnocker Brewery or Beau Jo’s Pizza for amazing local grub after any excursion in the Idaho Springs Area.

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Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Picnic Area


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