Mount Evans Scenic Byway

#6 in Best Things To Do in Denver
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Rich Grant/VISIT DENVER

Key Info

2060 Miner St.

Price & Hours

$15 per vehicle
24/7 daily

Details

Hiking, Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.3

scorecard

  • 4.5Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

If you came to Denver to experience the Rocky Mountains, you'll want to reserve a day to take a drive up to Mount Evans. In this instance, it isn't the destination that travelers rave about – it's the journey. To get to Mount Evans, you'll have to hop on the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, a two-lane road known as the "road into the sky" because of the nearly 9,000 feet of elevation change. At the Mount Evans peak, drivers will be 14,264 feet above sea level. Along the way, you'll find a number of lookout points from which you can admire the view of the Rockies.

Those who have driven to Mount Evans recommend taking it slow and admiring the scenery, especially around Echo Lake Park. Located about halfway between Idaho Springs and the top of Mount Evans, Echo Lake boasts excellent fishing conditions, as well as picnic facilities and hiking trails. You can also stop by the Denver Botanic Gardens' Mount Goliath location, just beyond Echo Lake. But the views aren't the only reason to take your time along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway. Recent visitors cautioned others to drive carefully and slowly since there are steep drop-offs; they also recommend dressing in layers as the temperatures fluctuate depending on the elevation.

To start your drive, head west from Denver on Interstate 70 for 32 miles to exit 240 at the town of Idaho Springs. In order to access the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, you will need to pay a $15 fee (vehicles carrying more than 12 passengers will be required to pay more). Hikers, bikers, Federal Recreation Passport holders and those who simply drive to the top and back without stopping will not have to pay. Note that the road is only open to motor vehicle traffic between May and September, though hikers and bikers can access it all year long. Visit the Mount Evans page on the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service website to learn more about the scenic byway.

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Type
Time to Spend
#1 Larimer Square

In 1858, a group of American Indians and settlers struck gold at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Their discovery soon spread back to the East Coast, prompting people to pick up and move west. The site of the original pioneer camp (known back then as Auraria) soon grew into the charming area now known as Larimer Square. Although the city has since expanded, this historic neighborhood remains the heart and soul of the Mile High City, and according to some, it's the place to start your Denver experience. Recent visitors attest that Larimer Square is always buzzing with life, thanks to the area's numerous restaurants, shops and nightlife venues.

Before venturing to Larimer Square, you may want to pay a visit to the Larimer Square website. Here, you'll find a listing of all the local businesses and upcoming events, not to mention maps that can help orient where specific dining, shopping and entertainment options are.

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