Mt. Evans
West Ridge from Echo Lake
!Climbing mountains is dangerous! Please read the Mountaineering Safety Page and make sure you have a map+compass and can use them effectively. A GPS or cell phone can be very helpful with navigation but you should still be able to use a map+compass in case your device stops working.
? (WINTER) HOLD ON! If you don't have much high-elevation, winter climbing experience, be careful in your planning and take a partner. All 14er routes are more difficult and more dangerous in winter.
 Class 2 
Risk Factors:Exposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Moderate  
Commitment: Considerable  
Trailhead:Echo Lake
Start:10,650 feet
Summit:14,264 feet
Total Gain:5,600 feet
RT Length:17.00 miles
USGS Quad.:Mount Evans
County Sheriff:Clear Creek: 303-679-2376
National Forests:Arapaho, Pike
Wilderness Area:Mount Evans
Last Updated:3/2019


Take Exit 240 at Idaho Springs on Interstate 70. Drive south on Colorado 103 for 13.5 miles at Echo Lake. You can park near the lake (by the picnic area) or drive up to the Echo Lake Lodge and park in one of the parking lots near the entrance to the Mt. Evans road (Colorado 5).


This route has a great trail all the way to Summit Lake and is considered the standard way to climb Evans from a lower trailhead.

Park near the Echo Lake lodge and locate a trail which starts on the west side of the lodge parking area - #1. Follow the trail west through the forest (#2) for approx. 0.5 mile to reach a trail junction ( 39.65690° N, -105.60568° W) for the Chicago Lakes trail - #3. If you started your hike from the Echo Lake Park, at the northwest corner of the lake, walk south past the lake to reach the Chicago Lakes trail.

Continue west and southwest to the side of a ridge (#4) where you can look down into Chicago Creek. Switchback down 400 feet (#5) to Chicago Creek and cross the creek using a log bridge (#6) to reach a dirt road - #7. Turn left and follow the road up to the Idaho Springs Reservoir ( 39.64498° N, -105.61653° W) at 10,600' - #8. Shortly after the reservoir, pass a couple of cabins (#9) and the road ends at a trail kiosk ( 39.63984° N, -105.61689° W) - #10. Fill out a wilderness permit and follow the trail into the Mt. Evans Wilderness - #11 and #12. After hiking over 1.5 miles in the wilderness, you'll reach an overlook (11,550'), just uphill from Lower Chicago Lake - #13. Your next goal is to reach Upper Chicago Lake ( 39.61269° N, -105.63896° W), but you must get past the headwall which separates the two lakes. Continue southwest/south, weave past some large boulders (#14) and ascend steep terrain on the far right side of the headwall - #15 and #16. After gaining the headwall, it's a short walk to Upper Chicago Lake - #17.

Your goal is to hike to the saddle between Mt. Warren (left) and Mt. Spalding (right), which is 1,100' higher. Turn left, cross the stream outlet (#18) and follow the trail to the base of Mt. Warren's (13,307') west slopes - #19 and #20. Climb steeply up the slope (#21) and traverse south on the great trail - #22. The trail approaches some cliff bands (#23) but you'll find that it is easy to follow and not that difficult. #24 looks back on the ascent. Continue under the cliff bands (#25) to reach the saddle (#26) between Mt. Warren and Mt. Spalding, near the north end of Summit Lake ( 39.60140° N, -105.64241° W) (12,900').

To reach the summit, turn right at the saddle/lake and use the Mt. Evans - West Ridge via Mt. Spalding Route. Descend via the same route.


IMPORTANT: This route enters the Mount Evans Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.

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Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.
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