Driving to the Top of the World–Mt. Evans

Driving to the Top of the World–Mt. Evans

I’m on vacation today, so you’re getting one of my favorite photography posts that I’ve moved to a new home here.

The Mt. Evans road is the highest paved road in North America.  When it was first built it was the highest paved road in the world.

I’ve been in Colorado for more than a year now so it’s time I’ve seen more of my home.  I’ve been to Rocky Mountain National Park more times than I can count and it will always be my favorite place.  But the Rockies are big and there are lots of mountains.  I’m not much of a mountain climber.  Just being on top of one of the 14’ers (Colorado’s 14,000+ foot peaks) can make my asthmatic lungs unhappy, but I’m willing to make them suffer a little for the view.

We decided as part of our family staycation last summer that we needed to spend at least one day exploring a part of the Rockies we hadn’t visited before.  A brief internet search turned up Mt. Evans, a mere two-hour drive from home to the top.  Well, it’s a two-hour drive if you don’t need to stop for pictures. Needless to say, it took us longer.

We decided to head out early, partly to miss the afternoon crowds and partly to miss the afternoon thunderstorms.  We also had the great added benefit of missing morning rush hour because we left home at 6 a.m., just as the sun was peeking over the prairie.

Our first scenic stop was Echo Lake.  We certainly wouldn’t have seen this view at lunchtime.

Echo Lake, Colorado

Just after Echo Lake, we headed up the Mt. Evans road.

Panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains

As we headed up, the view just got better and better.  Just below the top, we stopped at Summit Lake and I got to indulge my wildflower passion.

Summit Lake,  mt. evans, Colorado

I still need a good wildflower book because I have no idea what these pretty little flowers are.

Purple wildflowers on mt. Evans

The view from Mt. evans

And then we’re at the top. Almost.

A panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains from Mt. Evans, Colorado

There’s a parking area about 100 yards or so below the summit.  After wandering around and admiring the view from all sides, the burned out remains of the Summit House and taking lots of photos, we decided to trek to the top.

We watched lots of hikers making the full trek up the mountain.  I admire their stamina and drive.  I love to hike, but the 14’ers just kick my behiney, so I save my hiking for when I really need it.

The nifty proof that we stood at the top.

Mt. Evans geological survey marker

Here I am, bad hair day and all–as high as I can get on the top of Mt. Evans.  Now you know I didn’t just visit the postcard shop. If I’d Photoshopped this one, I would have definitely given myself better hair!

Marie Leslie on top of the world

While we admired our panoramic view of the most beautiful mountains anywhere, we were treated to a little fly-by courtesy of the Air Force.  When he passed us, he was close enough that we could actually see the pilot.

The Rocky Mountains

So, I’ve managed to summit (after a fashion) two 14’ers now.  Where in Colorado should I head for my next photographic adventure?  If you have any great suggestions for me (and I really do love places off the beaten path) I am all ears.  Just leave me your top picks in the comments below.

10 thoughts on “Driving to the Top of the World–Mt. Evans

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  • August 28, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    If you like Mount Evans take a full day and do Trail Ridge Road out of Rocky Mountain National Park. Spectacular.

    Your Mount Evans shots have gorgeous color…really nice

    • August 29, 2013 at 8:47 am

      Thanks, Ellie. I agree on Trail Ridge. It is just about my favorite place on the planet. This year, we made the drive on its first day open for the season. So fun–and all that snow! I guess I need to post a bit more about traveling Trail Ridge. It really is spectacular up there–but then just about anywhere on top of our beautiful Rocky Mountains is, isn’t it?

  • July 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    I loved this place because it is so beautiful for a trip and driving.Great pics!!This is an amazing article.I did not see like this anywhere.Thanks

  • July 10, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Beautiful shots Marie! and i love the composition of all of these. Thanks for sharing these stunning photos with us and i’m looking forward to see more from you.

  • August 28, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Those are some “hills” you got there in Colorado!! We definitely don’t have that here in good ol’ Michigan. What a beautiful day you had – and pictures to prove it.

  • August 27, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    Oh, we went there last year, and it was so beautiful! Though we did not hike the last little bit. A group of mountain goats were lounging about the Summit House for our picture taking enjoyment! We camped down the mountain a bit.

  • August 26, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Great pics! A 14er trek is one of my favorite things to do, though I prefer to hike them. That last photo looks like it may be the peak of Bierstadt (another 14er) or the Sawtooth between Evens and Bierstadt?! And it looks to me like that’s Greys and Torreys in the background! (two more 14ers!)

    • August 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm

      I need to learn to identify more of Colorado’s mountains. Any suggestions on resources to help me learn more than just looking and loving it? I’d love to get to a point where I can actually hike at these altitudes without any breathing issues, whether or not I make it up all the 14’ers (my husband’s goal). I love the high-country hiking, just wish it loved me back.

  • August 26, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Wow! What a beautiful place! Looks spectacular. I’ve never been to Colorado. Lovely photos! ~ Suerae


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