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Location: 28 miles south of Idaho Springs, CO on CO Highways 103 and 5, beginning at the parking lots at the end of CO Highway 5, near the summit of Mt. Evans.
Counties: Clear Creek
From Idaho Springs, take CO Highway 103 southwest approximately 13 miles to its intersection with CO Highway 5, near Echo Lake. Turn south on CO Highway 5, passing through the entrance station. Take CO Highway 5 approximately 14 miles to the parking lots at the end of CO Highway 5, near the summit of Mt. Evans. The trail begins on the northwest side of the parking lots.
Dominating the skyline west of Denver, the summit of Mount Evans has long been a popular destination for Denverites. Originally named Mount Rosalie by the painter Albert Bierstadt, it was later renamed Mount Evans for the second territorial governor of Colorado, John Evans.
With the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park in 1915, Mount Evans and the surrounding area were also proposed for national park status, but this never came to pass. In 1921, the state of Colorado began construction of what is now Highway 5 to the summit of Mount Evans. The road reached the summit in 1927. In 1941, a restaurant and gift shop called the Crest House was constructed at the end of the road. Unfortunately, the Crest House burned in 1979, and its stone walls are all that remain. In 1942, a fire lookout was constructed on the Mount Evans summit, but it remained only a couple years. During World War II, the road was closed to public use and used by the Army as an arctic training area. In 1945, the road was reopened and the trail to the summit from the parking area was improved. The trail was designated a National Recreation Trail in 1979.
The boundary of the Mount Evans Wilderness crosses the summit of Mount Evans, as does the boundary between the Pike and Arapaho National Forests. Although the trail is maintained and managed by the Arapaho National Forest, the trail is technically on the Pike.
Although the trail is never closed to use, the road to the trailhead is closed to motorized use from Labor Day until Memorial Day.
Width: 24 inches.
Primary Surface: Rock, Smooth
Secondary Surface: Rock, smooth
Average Grade: 5%
Maximum Grade: 10%
Elevation Low Point: 14,140
Elevation High Point: 14,264
Elevation Gain (cumulative): Not Available
Year Designated: 1979
For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.
US Forest Service, Clear Creek Ranger District
PO Box 3307
Idaho Springs , CO 80452
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