Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Mount Evans Scenic Byway
The Mount Evans Scenic Byway approaching the summit

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway begins at the junction of Interstate 70 and State Highway 103 near Idaho Springs, Colorado and continues on State Highway 5 through the Mount Evans Wilderness where it ends near the summit of Mount Evans. The byway is 28 miles (45 km) in length and gains over 7,000 feet (2,100 m) of elevation. Achieving a final elevation of 14,130 feet (4,310 m), this is the highest paved road in North America.

The road was originally planned by the Denver Mountain Parks system to link Summit Lake Park and Echo Lake Park to their lower altitude parks in the foothills. As originally planned, the road ran from Bergen Park near Evergreen to Echo Lake, and then to the summit, while the road from Echo Lake down into Chicago Creek Canyon was a secondary branch. From the start, the road was planned in terms of the scenic vistas along the way.[1] The route was set by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., and for a while, between 1915 and 1920, it was to be the primary access road for a proposed National Park comprising much of what is now the Mount Evans Wilderness Area.[2]

View from Mount Evans Scenic Byway looking north

There is a park fee charged to gain access to the upper portion of the byway at the entrance to Highway 5. This portion of the byway is often narrow, with sudden dropoffs that have no guardrails. It is typically only accessible from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, although the amount of access and specific dates vary depending on the weather and road conditions.

This route was designated a Forest Service Byway on July 1, 1993 by the US Forest Service and has also been designated a Colorado Scenic Byway by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

See also


  1. ^ J. E. Murphy, A Motor Road on the Skyline of America, Popular Mechanics Vol XXXI,(1919); page 280.
  2. ^ William Wyckoff, Creating Colorado: The Making of a Western American Landscape, 1860-1940, Yale University, 1999; pages 85-86

External links

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