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Activities / Colorado Livin' / Family Travel

Colorado Family Daytrip: Echo Lake and Mount Evans Scenic Byway

Echo Lake, Colorado

If you’re looking for a reprieve from Denver’s heat, why not try going up? 

Mount Evans Scenic Byway

This is the highest paved road in North America, climbs 9,000 feet from Denver, and passes through five life zones en route to the 14,264-foot high summit. This is one of Colorado’s 54 fourteeners (peaks that climb to 14,000 feet and above), and one of only two in the nation that you can drive up. Insider tip: At timberline Denver Botanic Gardens maintains a trail that winds through wildflowers. Due to snow, the Mount Evans Highway is generally open to the top only between Memorial Day and Labor Day. 

Echo Lake, Colorado

Stop at Echo Lake along the way for hiking trails, fishing, picnic tables and a log cabin restaurant. Echo Lake sits at 10,600 feet in the valley at the base of Goliath Peak, The Municipal Lodge at Echo Lake, a log structure completed in 1927, sits at the lake’s eastern shore. While designed originally for overnight guests, the Lodge now offers a restaurant with fantastic pies and gift shop (be sure to check hours as they are sometimes temporarily closed). 

Also located in the park are two stone structures, a shelter and concession stand both constructed in 1924. The surrounding park has spruce-fir forest and wetlands, both providing excellent habitat and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Hiking: A short (approximately .6 miles), accessible hiking trail loops around Echo Lake and connects to the lodge and its parking lot. Trails from the parking lot and back side of the lake lead to backcountry access into the Chicago Lakes area with a route up Mount Evans. The lake trail is easy, but consider the high altitude and quickly changing weather conditions when planning your hike.

Biking: Cyclists enjoy Mount Evans Road and come from all over the world to compete in the annual Mount Evans Hill Climb, a 27.4 mile bicycle race with a total of 6,915 vertical feet of climbing.

Directions: From I-70 take Exit 240 and then Colorado Hwy. 103 to Echo Lake.

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Photo: Mountain Parks Foundation. Disclosure: While clicking these links won’t cost you extra money, they help us keep this site up and running. See our disclosure policy.

 
Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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