Mount Evans (14,266ft/4,348m) , located in the Front Range region of the Rocky Mountains, in Clear Creek County, Colorado , can be seen from over 100 miles away to the east, and many miles in other directions. Mt Evans highway above Summit Lake is highest paved road in North America.
The climate on the summit of Mt Evans can be extreme. The mean annual temperature on the summit is 18°F (-8°C). Temperatures rarely fall below 0°F (-18°C), but occasionally fall as low as -40°F (-40°C). The highest temperature recorded on the summit was 65°F (24°C), and below freezing temperatures may occur at any time of year. The maximum wind speed measured was 107 knots (123 mph or 198 km/h), while the average is from 25 to 30 knots (28 to 35 mph or 46 to 56 km/h).
Flora & fauna
The slopes of Mount Evans include several distinct environments. Below Echo Lake, the montane forest is dominated by lodgepole pine and in some areas, blue spruce , with patches of quaking aspen. Echo Lake is high enough to be in the subalpine forest, where engelmann spruce , subalpine fir and bristlecone pine dominate. Above tree line, the landscape is mostly alpine tundra.
The top predators found in the area are mountain lions , anywhere on the mountain, and black bears , generally below tree line. These prey on bighorn sheep and mountain goats , as well as one of the highest densities of yellow-bellied marmot in the region. Above tree-line, pikas are common. Below tree line, elk and mule deer are common.
The unfortunate reality of having a highway to the top of Mount Evans is that the wildlife that calls the mountain home has been used to the presence of humans and not fear them anymore , often depending on man to being feed literally from their hands .The animals are looking for hand outs and have been conditioned to perform accordingly. Goats and bighorn sheep have no reservations about walking up to a slow moving car to receive a tasty morsel. Please do your part and do not tempt the animals, and when possible, set an example for people that may be observing your actions.
Climbing Mt Evans
Towering over the Denver skyline, Mt Evans is a very popular mountain for hikers and climbers due to being the closest 14er to Denver. Highway 5 is a popular road to the top of the mountain, which rates as the highest paved road in the United States. During the summer, the summit is full of tourists who drive all the way to the summit. The road is closed in the winter.
There are routes up Mt Evans rated Class 1,2 3, and 4. This peak is often climbed in conjunction with Mt Bierstadt by crossing the classic “Sawtooth” route. The Mount Evans massif is considerably large, sporting numerous sub-summits worthy of their own outings. There are numerous trialheads including Echo Lake, Summit Lake, West Chicago Creek, Guanella Pass, Bear Creek, Deer Creek, Cub Creek and Scott Gomer Creek, which all access the Mount Evans Wilderness. Easy access from Highway 5 allows for wonderful short day hike access into the wilderness.
And off course there’s always a easy way around. If you choose it you can drive the 14 miles road from the entrance station to the Mount Evans summit parking area (14,130) . From there, you can hike the last 130 feet to the top of mt Evans at 14,266 feet. After this climb, you can call your friends and tell them : ‘I’ve climbed a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado ! ‘