Mount Evans Scenic Byway and Echo Lake

admin May 22, 2011 0

Dominating the skyline of the Denver area like a sleeping giant, Mount Evans stands majestically at more than 14,200 feet, being one of the 54 fourteeners found in the state of Colorado. Mount Evans is often compared with another iconic mountain of Colorado, Pikes Peak. The residents of Denver have long appreciated the scenic nature of Mount Evans, but it was not until 1927 that a paved road was built to provide access to the very summit of the mountain. The story of this road, called the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, is tied to the history of the road climbing Pikes Peak. The residents of Denver felt that the scenic access road to the top of Pikes Peak stole all the attention of the tourists, so they decided to build a roadway of their own, to show off the natural beauties of the area.

Today, the Mount Evans Scenic Byway is a 28 miles stretch of roadway, gaining in altitude a whopping 7000 feet. Reaching 14,130 feet at its highest point (just over a hundred feet from the summit), the Mount Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved road in North America.

There are some other records tied to the name of Mount Evans. At its top, the Meyer-Womble Observatory was until 2000 the highest optical astronomical observatory in the world, and it still is the second highest today. Another record holder is the Summit house (also known as the Crest House), which was the highest business structure in North America, until it was destroyed by a fire in 1972. Nevertheless, the ruins of the Summit House are still a favored resting spot for the thousands of tourists that climb the mountain each year, by foot, bicycle, or car.

Echo Lake and the Echo Lake Park are other famous attractions accessible from the Mount Evans Scenic Byway. The Echo Lake Park is a scenic mountainous area, centered around the lake with the same name. Hikers often stop at the historic Echo Lake Lodge, a wooden building constructed in 1926, to have a meal or to buy a souvenir from the gift shop. From Echo Lake, tourist can take on several trails to other scenic spots such as the Chicago Lakes or the Lincoln Lakes.

A place of amazing natural beauty, the Mount Evans is the perfect destination for nature enthusiasts. From the crystalline waters of Echo Lakes to the breath-taking views from the summit of the mountain, visitors will found plenty of scenery along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway.

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