Mount Evans and Mount Spalding Loop Trail

HARD 268 reviews
#2 of 30 trails in

Mount Evans and Mount Spalding Loop Trail is a 4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Idaho Springs, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,768 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

snow

off trail

4.95 mile Mt. Evans Loop. Starting and ending at Summit Lake.

15 days ago

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.

hiking
23 days 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.

hiking
26 days ago

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!

hiking
1 month ago

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!

hiking
1 month ago

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!

hiking
1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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!!

1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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!

hiking
1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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!

1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

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

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

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.

2 months ago

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.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful views the whole way up. There’s some scrambling near the summit. We saw lots of mountain goats and big-horned sheep.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail!

2 months ago

This is my first 14er this year so far. Initially planned for Mt. Spalding but once that was crested, Mt Evans needed to be attempted as well. Started at Summit Lake with a good friend (her 1st 14er attempt) and we got to Spalding and then went on to climb, scratch and claw our way up to Evans Summit from this trail. It was damn tough but man, are the views worth it!! We were running out of time so we descended via hitchhiking back to summit lake. Without this ride, I would’ve been late for work!

J.F. You absolutely killed this today! Great job!

2 months ago

My first 14er, the views were incredible.

hiking
2 months ago

Sand to Summits on YouTube

GULP! ... This was my first 14'er and let me tell you, it was an eye opener. The Mt. Evans Loop from the Summit Lake is an amazing hike. Views of the Rockies for miles as to be expected and the crystal waters of Summit Lake taunting you every step of the way. Initially I thought we were taking the soft way up (HA.HA.HA.HA) by starting at the Summit Lake parking lot but the first 4 mins (which is not a difficult hike) had my legs and lungs burning. This is a moderately easy hike when it comes to the terrain. Slight bouldering as you approach the peak but overall it isn't a nail biter. Living at 1200 ft of elevation in Phoenix does no justice when coming to play in this playground. Definitely try to acclimate as early as possible and water / snacks are essential as on most hikes. ( Although drinking water became second priority to breathing as a sip of water was taking away precious oxygen my lungs were screaming for ) Be smart and watch the weather. Storms roll in quickly as it did on our decent from the peak back to the parking lot.

hiking
2 months ago

What a beautiful, fun hike. This is definitely one of the easier 14ers. Lots of goats and bighorn sheep.

Some cautions:
- Going around the west edge of Mt. Evans involves navigating a sizeable boulder field; this is solidly Class 2 terrain (getting off course can put you in Class 3 territory)
- The Mt. Evans road in is beautiful but scary; be prepared to drive pretty close to the edge of a mountain shelf road with no guardrail

hiking
2 months ago

1. Get there early. I arrived at 5:30am when parking was open. Please, make sure you pay!

2. The ascent to Spalding is pretty easy, but don’t rush. It doesn’t really become a challenge until you start your climb to Evans. Take in the views!

3. Look for markers before you plan a move.

4. The scramble up the backside has great holds and footing, and you only deal with slight exposure for a couple brief moments. Even if you lose track of the trail, just stay below the ridge and you won’t have to worry about falling.

5. Hiking up to Evans is simple. Enjoy the views and the goats/sheep!

6. Going down Evans to the main road is steep and loose! You’ll be tired by this point, so be mindful, it takes longer than you’ll expect. But, be mindful of the wildlife. I was charged by surly mountain goat (protecting its baby) and had to jump down to distance myself.

I loved this experience! It was my first 14er and I did the whole thing in about 4.5-5 hours.

2 months ago

Awesome hike! This was a good trail for me and my 14 year old son to do. Had a mix of well defined trails, ups and downs, scrambling, and viewing spots. Took us 4.5 hours (spent 20 minutes on top) and we went down the summit trail to the road. That part was a little tricky as the footing is horrible and it is pretty steep.

2 months ago

Views r absolutly a wow! Def bring lunch and plenty of fluids. Say hello to the goats and the rock scramble towards the end can make the trail a lil blurry of where ur going but once there def worth it!

hiking
3 months ago

Loved this climb! We did the long way and did Bierstadt also! It was by far my favorite! So beautiful and the drive up that road to trailhead at sunrise was absolutely breathtaking!

3 months ago

Great hike and easier 14er. Lake and summit were full of people so most enjoyable parts were between with few others on the trail. The weather allowed for late afternoon hike and was mostly cloudy which helped keep my energy level up from lack of sun.

Load More