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We arrived at the parking lot around 8am and there were still a handful of spots. This means we also got to skip the Echo Lake pay station (opens at 8am) and only had to pay $5 at Summit Lake (there were park rangers checking the fees when we finished the hike, so yes, they do check).

We hiked this trail clockwise, which is the opposite of what is listed. I really enjoyed getting the uphill portion done quickly and having most of the hike be downhill after that. The turn off of the road onto the trail is not very obvious so the AllTrails App was helpful for that. It was very windy at the top of Evans, but the views were great and there were few people since the road already closed at Summit Lake for the season. The wind died down afterwards thankfully. We had a great time following the ridge over to Spalding and back to Summit Lake as it was just a gradual downhill hike while maneuvering through the rocks. This did require conscious foot placement to avoid tripping and following cairns as trail markers. We enjoyed this, but it is something to be aware before going of if you don't enjoy that in a trail.

Overall, a great experience and beautiful views with only a handful of people at the summits!

Great and challenging, quick trail. Went last Friday (9/14) and I got to Echo Lake before 8a so I didn’t have to pay an entrance fee; but I did have to pay when I hit Summit Lake at the pay station ($5 so no biggie). The lot was open and not too many cars parked. I started the trail with my dog at around 7:30a and we finished around 11:00a even after we took the road down to the lot. The road up to the summit of Mt. Evans is closed so no one was on it. When I came back the lot of filled and overflowing with cars so definitely recommend getting there early. I also HIGHLY recommend abiding by the rules and KEEPING your dog on a leash and there are some spots you may have to hoist your dog up some rock or direct them on the rocky paths with the carins. Not to mention there are some steep drops close to the sides of the trail and many squirrels living in the rocks - so don’t risk letting your dog off the leash and having them take off on the side of the mountain!

Had a wonderful hike but lots of people. The fall colors were amazing and I’m sure everyone had the same idea to view them. Parking is awful so get there early in the morning or later in the day around 2pm. Hike isn’t long so totally doable

arrived at 6am, car park half full. Heavy going for someone from sea-level....! follow the cairns to stay on track, lots of helpful hikers along the way to help the tourist from London; needless to say, absolutely stunning scenery, memorable sunrise from Mt Spalding. Tips: take toilet roll for the restrooms, headscarf/earmuffs to prevent earache from the howling wind, poles if you have them, get there early if you want any chance of parking in the Summit Lake car park. Thank you Colorado!

Nice easy 14er if you're doing this route. It was a beautiful day and I got some really nice views. It took me 2 hours even, but I'm acclimated so I'd allocate a bit more time if you're not.

off road driving
14 days ago

Fun high trail

off road driving
14 days ago

Great fun in the jeep

What a great trail! Perfect 14er to start with. Took about 5.5 hours since my friend was a little out of shape. First part is a killer and the last part will be rough on knees. Amazing views!!

We took the Spalding to Evans route at sunrise, and it was a great time, absolutely beautiful. The road beyond the trailhead (the drive up to Mount Evans) was closed, which meant when we reached the top of Mt Evans, it was empty! Amazing! We didn’t find the trail down, so we ended up taking the road (heck, there were no cars!) This turned the hike into a 10-miler, which we didn’t anticipate. (5.4 extra miles of switchbacks!) Luckily, it was a beautiful day and we had nowhere else to be. Definitely challenging, definitely worth it.

Started at ~8, back at car at 1. It was tough climbing. Was my first 14er and I hiked with my dog. Had to give my pup a few lifts, but there were times he gave me a little tug up as well! We saw some mountain goats, they watched us carefully but never really interfered with our hike. There were a few sketchy areas of the climb and I found that the trail was not very clear at all when I’m more of the rocky area of the climb. The descend is VERY loose gravel. While I was glad I didn’t have poles during the ascend so my hands were free to help me climb, I wished that I had them a couple times on the way down. The road was closed on September 3, so not having extra crowds at the top who drove up was great! Awesome views and worth the climb for sure.

Hiked this trail for my first 14er, to raise money for Big City Mountaineers. We got started at Summit Lake around 5:30am and watched the sun rise from the top of Mt. Spalding. It was a beautiful hike, although things got challenging for me coming around the back side of Mt. Evans to summit -- I brought 2 liters of water and ran out, although luckily there was about 7 liters between all of us in our party. Next time, I will bring more water and some energy chews; granola bars and peanut butter just won't cut it. We summited Evans around 11:30am and I went straight for the restrooms like a homing beacon. Crazy to see all the people who just drove up after you've been slogging along for 6 hours! A great experience overall, the start of many of my 14er hikes I'm sure, and I managed to raise $3,000 to benefit Big City Mountaineers!

I’m only giving this 4/5 stars because the weather turned pretty bad as soon as we reached the summit of mount Spalding and made it too treacherous to continue the loop on to mount Evans. The climb to mount Spalding is not to be underestimated, but it is definitely doable. There are some moments when the experience feels a bit more like rock climbing than simply hiking, but that’s the kind of thing I really look for in a good hike! A word to the wise; the afternoon storms people talk about happening in these mountains is no joke! It’s probably a good idea to get there much earlier to avoid hail/electrical storms like we experienced around 1:30pm. To this end, please be prepared for all weather; ESPECIALLY your footwear. We are beginners and didn’t realize how important having good traction and ankle support is until it snow/hailed on us for a solid 30 minutes and we lost the trail and were slipping and sliding trying to make our way back the way we came. Luckily, we ran into a few of the trail-makers who work with the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative who helped us get back down the slippery, snowy mountain. If you’re on here... thank you Abby and Jake!!!! Will definitely tackle this mountain again when we have the right footwear, and will aim to show up more around 6am probably.

Drove up from TX a few days before with my dog and spent a few days hiking between 11,000-13,000 to acclimate. Clocked this hike at 4.1 miles. Camped at Echo Lake and then started before 6am and hiked with the sunrise, ran into one person at the very beginning on their way down (I think they just went up to Spaudling), finished before 9am.
The first mile was pretty intense, but once you reach Spaulding it's pretty steady. You start at 12,900 at Summit Lake and gain about 1,000 feet in a mile. My dog and I rested at Spaulding for a bit and ate some food to help with the elevation, and from there we had no troubles.
The saddle was beautiful, as was the whole hike. After the saddle the ascend up Evans is pretty steady, we did miss the actual turn off for the summit and ended up just scrambling up some rocks on the side. Weather blew in right as we were about to summit and it was sleeting and a bit cloudy, but the views were still great! We had the summit all to ourselves. It was definitely cold and windy so we took some photos, embraced the moment and started our descend.
The descend was pretty much straight down the mountain for almost a mile. Ran into a couple of people on their way up this route, but I am very happy we went the Spaulding-Evans route because the views were great!
This was me and my dog's first 14er and it was a great experience! I definitely recommend this hike as a first summit if you are looking for an easier one. Can't wait to tackle more!

hiking
20 days ago

Great off road trip from Alma to Leadville. Wouldn’t consider the drive hard, but multiple tough spots where my clearance helped out. The road down from the top to Leadville is tight without many spots to pull off.

off road driving
20 days ago

We finally conquered this trail in our stock 4Runner after literally breaking our Jeep Commander a few years ago just past London Mill. This time we got all the up and over from Alma to Leadville enjoying the mining artifacts, some bazaar Dr. Seuss looking thistle, wildflowers, pika, mountainscapes and amazing cloud formations. We even got snowed on just a bit so take warm clothes for exploring.

I would not describe this trail as "easy" or "for beginners" as some other reviews described it. While we were able to complete the trail in a stock 4Runner, we did scrape the skid plate several times and managed to get ourselves into some minor sticky situations. Going slowly, the trail took us nearly 3 hours with several stops to explore.

Pretty hike through aspens, would be pretty in the fall colors. No real overlooks/viewpoints that we found. Went up an back on the Tanglewood side rather than the rocky Rosalie side.

Great hike! Would highly recommended

hiking
23 days ago

This is a fantastic trail! Wild flowers were beautiful! Even though trail is mostly a road bed, there’s loose dirt as you reach the top so I’d recommend wearing hiking boots. Pretty steep climb as you near the top but worth the effort!

Hiked this trail today and it was awesome! It was my third 14er and I really struggled at the beginning with trying to catch my breath and getting light headed with how steep it was, but once you get past the initial incline, it’s gets much better. The views of Bierstadt are awesome and there were a ton of mountain goats and sheep! Lots of wildlife. The only downside is when you get to the summit and have all the people who drove to the top up there as well, but that’s just part of it unfortunately. Still an awesome trail. Lots of climbing and make sure to pay attention to the trail markers to find your way once you get closer to the summit. Also, the way down in this loop is extremely steep and everyone including myself was falling because of the rocks being so loose. It was miserable but worth going down that way instead of walking the road.

My friend and I did this today as our first 14er. The start out from Summit Lake is quite the climb but once you get passed the first section, it’s pretty good from there. Watch for the stacked cairns to direct you to where the trail is. Be prepared for cool and windy but it is definitely doable. Glad to have completed our first 14er!

hiking
1 month ago

Made the hike to Vasquez Peak and it was amazing! Great trail, which had just the right amount of challenging. You had to make your own trail up the peak but it was fun doing so. Coming down had slippery rocks so you had to take it slowly. Wonderful views, some of the best I’ve ever seen on a hike, and I’ve done many.

I did three time this trail and I love more. The last time, few days ago was a perfect morning with a stunning reflection of the landscape on the absolutely calm lake. The hike is strenuous because starts at high elevation, gaining immediately altitude and the last part need some scrambling (easy paying attention) on large boulders. Great view from the top ( even with a large variety of people ) especially of the top of Mt. Bierstadt. Pay attention to the steep descent to road via east trail.

My first 14er and it was absolutely amazing. I’m 55 and I did this in 4.5 hours. Lots of breaks to catch my breath and take in the views, which were stunning.

Rocky climb via Spalding. It was very cold, windy, and foggy today near summit. The true summit is not well marked especially the last 80ft. Definitely nice views. We went down the easy way (Northeast face) as we did not pack gloves. We did it in less than 4 hours up and down with very short brake at the summit.

A beautiful hike up, made it to the summit just before the weather came in. A wet hike down to the road but no problem.

hiking
1 month ago

Challenging trail, but the views are worth it! My dog and I did not make it all the way, as (we should have read previous reviews) the lack of water and blazing sun drained us by the time we were 3/4 of the way there. As others have said, bring extra water and pile on the sun screen if you're going to be hiking mid-day. The trail starts off pretty moderate but gets quite steep and more difficult after you pass the Ptarmigan sign. This is the first time my dog has ever stopped and needed rest on a trail. There is a lovely tree in a large clearing as it gets very steep that is perfect to catch some shade and some rest, as well as some great panoramic photos! Glutes and legs were on fire for days after this one! Looking forward to tackling the whole trail next time, with more water in tow!

off road driving
1 month ago

Great trail ride for beginners with amazing views that can be enjoyed by all! Not sure what made this a blue trail, there were a couple rough patches but have confidence factory Jeeps and 4Runners/Tacomas would make the trip without spotters. For comparison, we were in my fiancé’s lifted TRD Pro 4Runner on 285’s and did not scrape or rub anywhere, did not use spotters, and didn’t really have to pick a “safe/easy” line. She loved seeing all the pikas, marmots, and chipmunks. There are several spurs we didn’t explore sticking to the main trail mostly but we will be back to see more. I mean there were still Ice caps in August, how cool. We caught a sleet storm, so take jackets and some warmer clothes even if it’s hot before you arrive.

My dad and I set out for an ‘easier 14er.’ Headed out around 6:45am and got back to the car around 12:45. We started at Summit Lake and did Spalding to Evans, and then back down Evans and Spalding again (so basically out and back). The hardest part we thought was the return over Spalding after already having climbed across some tricky rocky scrambling to Evans. Did see goats which was the highlight for me, and the view on top of Evans was really beautiful. Would recommend maybe going down the road after summitting Evans to make the trip a little more pleasant.

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