We Drove Up The Highest Paved Road In North America: Mount Evans, Colorado

If you haven’t driven up the highest paved road in North America yet, then you need to stop reading this, book your flight and rental car and go right now! I’m kidding, definitely read this first before doing all that. The highest paved road in North America achieves a final elevation of 14,260 ft and can be accessed by a 14 mile, super narrow, winding road. When we lived in Colorado and were still debating on whether or not we wanted to try climbing a 14er (see this post), we thought it might be a good idea to experience being on top of a peak at 14,000 ft. After doing some research we realized we could take the Mount Evans Scenic Byway!

mount-evans-sign

“Go where you feel most alive.” – Unknown

We checked their website for any news on the road as far as closures and prices the night before we went. The drive up to Mount Evans starts in Idaho Springs and takes you up 103 heading to Echo Lake. Once you get to Echo Lake, depending on the time of year, you should start seeing cars and people out walking. There’s a lodge on the lake that has a bunch of unique Mount Evans souvenirs. After paying the small entrance fee, you start the drive up this road surrounded by green. It’s amazing to roll down your windows and go slow. We saw so many people on bicycles going up to the summit so it’s critical to keep your eyes on the road.

mount-evans-lakes

“How wild it was, to let it be.” – Cheryl Strayed

I honestly was not ready for this drive and was blown away once we got to the parts with no guard rails. It’s such a surreal feeling driving that close to the edge of the mountain. There’s a few pull offs heading up, so if you need to take a break it’s available. I would recommend driving slow and drinking plenty of water on the way up. The scenery will quickly start to change after getting past the tree-line. You will be able to see for miles on a clear day! The road did start to get rougher once we got closer to the summit. Our old tired Mazda eventually made it to the top and we were able to find parking. On a busy day you might have to park on the road.

mount-evans-road

“I go to seek a great perhaps” – John Green

The first thing we did was head to the actual summit of Mount Evans. The trail leading from the parking lot isn’t very long and should only take 10 minutes, but the altitude definitely makes it a workout! When we reached the top we were lucky enough to find a summit sign left by others on that day! When we were up on the summit it was pretty crowded and it was very windy. It’s also a lot colder at 14,000 ft, so make sure you bring a jacket! We were able to get so many cool pictures on the top of Mount Evans without having to spend hours climbing it. After taking pictures and getting light headed from the altitude, we hiked down and explore the old Crest House ruins. On our way back down the mountain we stopped at Summit Lake and saw some big horn sheep!

mount-evans-girls

“Although I deeply love oceans, deserts, and other wild landscapes, it is only mountains that beckon me with that sort of painful magnetic pull to walk deeper and deeper into their beauty.” – Victoria Erikson

We drove up the highest paved road in North America and stood on our first fourteener in one day. It was one of the scariest drives I’ve done and was worth it. It’s always high on my recommendation list for people traveling to the Rocky Mountains! Would you do this? Or have you done it? Share with us in the comments!

18 thoughts on “We Drove Up The Highest Paved Road In North America: Mount Evans, Colorado

  1. The highest we drove up while on our vacation in 2016 was Berthoud Pass, just over 11000′. It was amazing so I’m sure Evans is even better. Will have to put it on our list of we ever get back out there.

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    1. We loved the drive on Berthoud Pass! Mount Evans is worth checking out and getting the chance to drive above treeline. Thanks for the comment!

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    1. I will admit finding the quotes for each post is one of my favorite things to do. We are definitely due for another road trip soon as well. Thanks for the comment!!

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  2. This seems like a really awesome trip! This summer we drove through a very high mountain pass in Switzerland and it was so impressive! I definitely want to add this one to the travel bucket list as well now. Great post. Thanks for sharing your adventure!

    Maud | My Passion Projects

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    1. Yeah it’s definitely worth checking out when you’re in the states! So cool and easy to navigate as well. I’ve never been to Switzerland so that sounds so lovely. Thank you for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Colorado is definitely full of heights. Please do bug us with recommendations for Colorado. We lived in Denver for 2 years & did so much in that time frame. We explored Colorado Springs more than enough!

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    1. It’s definitely worth checking it out if you ever make it out to Colorado! Driving up to 14,130 feet is truly amazing. Thanks for the comment!

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