After entrepreneurs in Colorado Springs built a road up Pikes Peak, folks in Denver said, “Hey, us too!” So the Mount Evans Scenic Byway was born, and since it rises 154 feet higher than Pikes, it can claim to be the “highest paved road in North America.” From the top, it’s a short scramble to reach the summit. But there are several ways to climb the peak too, from Mount Bierstadt on the Sawtooth Ridge, one of Colorado’s most well-known traverses, or via a very long 17 miles up Chicago Creek. Another popular way is to start at Summit Lake along the highway and ascend the northeast face. It’s only 3.5 miles and 1,475 feet of climbing, but hey, at least you didn’t drive the entire way.
- The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is usually open by Memorial Day, but check their website beforehand to be sure.
- If the weather is favorable consider bagging Mount Bierstadt on the same day by crossing the Sawtooth Ridge. It has some exposure, but it’s not as frightening as it might look.
- You won’t find a donut shop or gift shop on top like on Pikes Peak, but the Echo Lake Lodge at the entrance to the highway is rich in history and good eats.
Recommended season(s): Summer to early fall
—R. Scott Rappold