Explore the most popular birding trails in Mount Evans Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

off road driving
12 days ago

really fun trail, not scenic but a nice challenge. I did this in a stock JL sport with upgrade a/t tires without too much issue.

Awesome summit views

off road driving
1 month ago

Easy drive up to the fork where we ran into plenty of snow.

great trail! took a bone stock 99 Jeep Cherokee with 31" all terrain tires on this trail and made it with no problems. was able to do most difficult sections, but had to swerve around some areas because I didn't have lockers. great trail making for lots of fun

off road driving
1 month ago

This was a good off-road trail. We did it with our 2004 Land Rover Discovery II stock and Copper Adventurer HT tires (yes HT). Granted that when possible we used the moderate "bypasses". For those more "difficult" sections we did take advantage of everything that our truck has to offer, 4 low range, diff lock and traction control. Bottom line, it is doable with the right rig, even stock and some experience (we did the 100 miles of the White Rim in Moab using the same Disco in exactly the same stock configuration).

Tough loop for me. Clouds rolled in on Spalding, almost turned back but as fast as the clouds appeared they disappeared.
Great hike, a little Cairn hunting on the back side of Mt Evans but nothing too bad.
The scree trail down is treacherous with out poles.
The thin air from the altitude is immediately noticeable.

Did this trail Friday. Most of the leaves have already fallen. Only hiked about 3 miles in, didn’t go all the way to the lake. Hike is pretty easy, didn’t encounter many steep areas up to the 3 mile point. Some good views about 1.5-2 miles in. Overall had heard really good things about this trail and was kind of disappointed, the drive in was prettier with leaves and views than the actual trail. However, I will probably come back for the lake next season!

off road driving
1 month ago

would not attempt in a stock or even moderate rig. Pretty easy in my 4 seat UTV. Nice trail with some good views.

1 month ago

We arrived around 8am and there were still some spots in the lot. We beat the gates opening, so we only had to pay $5. Keep in mind, the drive to the lake/parking lot is very high up and narrow. It's not for the faint of heart.

We had been watching the weather, but it was an absolutely perfect blue sky, Colorado day. The fall foliage was absolutely stunning. There wasn't much wind at the top.

The hike to Mount Spalding wasn't too intense. It climbs in elevation quickly, but if you take your time, you shouldn't be impacted by the altitude. There was only one area where we had to lift our pups up, just because there wasn't a good way for them to scale the rocks.

When you finish with Mount Spalding, you go down in altitude, before beginning your hike up to Mount Evans. While at a high altitude, it didn't climb quickly as you scaled the side of the fourteener. Be prepared to make your way across rocks without a visible trail in some areas. The dogs did great and it was a good first fourteener for them.

Use All Trails to find the route down after Mount Evans. You'll definitely miss it, if you don't. It's very steep and pebbly. Our pups were not fond of it on their paws.

Overall, a great fourteener with beautiful views and some challenging areas.

great views

beautiful trail in this season

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!

Amazing Fall hike!

Beautiful hike for fall foliage! Leaves were at peak on 9/19. Didn't make it to the lake this trip, because of time constraints but will definately be back. Making this one of my new favorites for fall hiking!

off road driving
1 month ago

Sweet trail close to town, has a couple areas that require some ground clearance but nothing major. The Aspen trees are all starting to change color and look awesome.

2011 Jeep wrangler 2D
2.5" lift
33" tires

1 month ago

Awesome trail. Did it over Labor Day and still was quite empty. Could easily be considered hard due to length and elevation gain, but its all worth it for the variety of scenery. Although I saw a few 2wd sedans along the road to the trailhead, 4wd or at least something with clearance is recommended to get there.

off road driving
1 month ago

Awesome views!

Amazing hike. A little tough, especially if you’re not used to the elevation, but it has everything. Starts in a forest setting, crosses a couple of creeks and opens up above tree line. Shelf Lake at the top was a real treat and very few people.

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!

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!

BEAUTIFUL aspen trees right now (September 14). Easy-to-follow, challenging hike for an old fart like me!

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.

2 months ago

If you prepare (mentally +/or physically) for the difficulty of the mileage + elevation gain, this is an incredible route. I did this as an overnight solo backpacking trip (I’d estimate my pack to have been about 40lbs — I overpacked as a “just in case” for it being a solo trip) + it was one of my favorite trips to date.
I went up Beartracks Trail & down Beaver Meadows Trail, which made for a strenuous 5.5ish mile day up 2,500ft & an admittedly painful 6.5ish mile day back down 2,500ft. My feet hated me by the end, but it was 110% worth it! There weren’t a ton of people past the first/last 1.5-2 miles of the loop, which made for a very nice + reflective hike. If you can swing it, you HAVE to stop by Beartracks Lake. Honestly, this is what truly makes the trail + the mileage worth it. I spent the night here, and it was incredible. There were two other groups, but I didn’t feel crowded there in the slightest. We saw 4-5 moose along the shoreline, the view of the stars after sundown was breathtaking, and the lake itself is absolutely beautiful.
10/10, would recommend this route (when it opens again — it’s closed for hunting after Labor Day). Do it as an aggressive day hike, or take your time + stay a night or two. As long as you’re prepared for a hurting body, you’ll be fine. It’s worth it, without a doubt. You WON’T regret it.

An awesome hike! Trailhead is a little hard to find because they recently moved the trailhead. Head up the trail that is connected to the parking lot and follow for about a 1/4 mile then you’ll see a sign for shelf lake. Dirt road was tricky is some spots, but manageable for most cars. This hike is also closer to 8 miles round trip.

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!

2 months ago

A beautiful hike that passes through aspens, moss covered rocks, woods, over streams and ends at a lake. Challenging if you're not used to hiking at altitude, but an overall great hike!

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