Mt. Evans is one of two 14ers with roads to their summit, however that also means it’s relatively easy to climb by foot. Taking the road almost to the top, and stopping at Summit Lake leaves you in the right place to climb Evans’ West Ridge. Looking for info on this route? Here’s my handy Mt Evans Standard Route Guide.

Mt. Evans Fast Facts

  • Standard Route: West Ridge
  • Trailhead: Summit Lake
  • Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet
  • Round-Trip Distance: 5.5 Miles
  • Difficulty Level: Class 2 Scramble
  • Range: Front Range

Leave your car at the Summit Lake trailhead, and head North along the shore until you meet a sign marking a trail up Mt. Spalding. Follow a loose trail up through the rocks to the ridge – don’t take the lower trail along the lake to your left.

Mt Evans Standard Route Guide

Head up to the top of the ridge proper to get to a better trail. Climb until you reach the summit of Mt. Spalding (a good launch spot). The large basin you’re leaving was carved thousands of years ago by glaciers that formed at the cliff walls above you. 

Mt Evans Standard Route

From Mt. Spalding, you must head south to the saddle below Mt Evan’s West Ridge and Mt. Spalding. Follow a trail marked with cairns, but don’t worry if you leave the trail at times. Aim for the base of the ridge, just beyond this side (which has steep cliffs).

Mt Evans Standard Route Guide

Work your way along the Western Ridge, following the cairns to find the path of least resistance. This can be a long, slow section, with a bit of elevation gain and loss as you scramble up and down. Take your time and move carefully here. A fall is unlikely, but wouldn’t be good for you.

With a bit of grit, you will soon come across the parking lot full of confused tourists wondering why you bothered hiking up a mountain with a road? Join the short trail from the summit parking lot to reach the summit before heading back for your descent. For an easier day out, come with two vehicles and leave one parked at the top for an easy drive back down.

Mt Evans Standard Route Guide

I hope my Mt Evans Standard Route Guide was helpful. Looking for more info on this route? Visit or


Mt Evans Standard Route Guide


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About the Author: Alex Derr

Alex Derr is a mountaineer and blogger based in Denver Colorado. He is working to climb Colorado’s highest 100 peaks, and the 20 tallest peaks in California. He created The Next Summit to share advice, stories, history & reflections from the Colorado Rockies & Sierra Nevada. When not climbing, he is managing the Communications strategy at Visible Network Labs.