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Mount Evans Wilderness Area

Government information and links are at the bottom of this page.

Located in Arapaho and Pike National Forests

Neighboring towns: Georgetown, Silver Plume, Idaho Springs, Golden, Brookvale, Highland Park, Evergreen, Conifer

One of the three fourteeners visible from Denver, Mount Evans dominates the mountainous horizon west of the city. Its great sculpted eastern face greets the dawn each day, capturing the morning light. Much of the wilderness lies above timberline, and place names such as Sawtooth, Frozen Lake, and Abyss Lake offer a hint of the rugged glacial terrain that characterizes the area.

Crawling up into the wilderness, but outside the circuitous boundary, a paved road runs to the top of Mount Evans, the highest paved road in America. Abyss Lake, surrounded by fabulous scenery, rests in a rock-rimmed gorge at 12,550 feet in the heart of the wilderness. You can reach it by hiking seven strenuous miles (one way) up a glacier-carved valley.

The area's 14,000 foot peaks and proximity to Denver combine with the summit road to draw large numbers of visitors. Nevertheless, the Mount Evans Wilderness contains notable biological features, harboring not only alpine tundra, but arctic tundra as well. This is one of the few places south of the Arctic Circle, where such tundra is found. It differs from alpine tundra by virtue of its moisture, as it contains countless small pools of water. In contrast, most tundra in Colorado is dry and brittle once uncovered by snow. The Mount Goliath Natural area contains another of the region's unusual features - a prime stand of bristlecone pine. These gnarled elders of the forest often live 1,500 to 2,000 years, growing at infinitesimal rates. The trees' twisted and contorted trunks offer stark evidence of their bitter fight for survival against the elements.

Two species of animals less frequently observed elsewhere have become popular attractions here. A herd of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep live around Mount Evans, and mountain goats are frequently seen from the summit road. The vast expanses of tundra offer visitors numerous opportunities to spy more common critters, including ptarmigan and yellow-bellied marmots.

Size: 74,401 acres

Elevation: 8,400 to 14,264 feet

Miles of trails: 67 miles

Year designated: 1980

Hunting areas: 39, 46, 500, 501

For more information contact:

Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests, 240 W. Prospect Rd., Ft. Collins, CO 80526-2098  (970)498-2770 Supervisor's Office
Boulder Ranger District, 2140 Yarmouth St., Boulder, CO 80303  (303)444-6600 Boulder District
Canyon Lakes Ranger District, 240 West Prospect, Ft. Collins, CO 80526  (970)498-2770 Canyon Lakes District
Clear Creek Ranger District, PO Box 3307, Idaho Springs, CO 80452  (303)567-2901 Clear Creek District
Sulphur Ranger District, PO Box 10, Granby, CO 80446  (970)887-4100 Sulphur District

For more information contact:

Pike & San Isabel National Forests, 1920 Valley Drive, Pueblo, CO 81008
Leadville Ranger District, 2015 N. Poplar, Leadville, CO 80461  (719)486-0749
Pikes Peak Ranger District, 601 So. Weber, Colorado Spgs, CO 80903  (719)636-1602
Salida Ranger District, 325 W. Rainbow Blvd., Salida, CO 81201  (719)539-3591
San Carlos Ranger District, 3170 E. Main St., Canon City, CO 81212  (719)269-8500
South Park Ranger District, Box 219, 320 Hwy 285, Fairplay, CO 80440  (719)836-2031  Fax: (719)836-2033
South Platte Ranger District, 19316 Goddard Ranch Court, Morrison, CO 80903  (303)275-5610

Wilderness sunset

NOTE: coloradowilderness.com gratefully appreciates the eloquent descriptions of our wilderness areas provided by Mark Pearson, author of "The Complete Guide to Colorado's Wilderness Areas", Westcliffe Publishers, Englewood, CO. The book also contains many beautiful pictures by renowned photographer and Colorado resident John Fielder.


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