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Live on the web 2009-06-16, last revised 2016-05-08

ronh.org Home    |    The Motorcycle Page    |    Mt. Evans Summer Ride - an 8-page photo essay

Join me for a scenic adventure as we summit Colorado's Mt. Evans riding a Hyosung GT650S, shortly after the road was cleared of snow in May of 2009 and opened to vehicular traffic.

After riding from my home in Denver, we will start at Echo Lake, Colorado, at an elevation of 10676ft (3254 meters). From there, we will connect with the Mt. Evans road (Colorado Route 5) and ride to the summit parking lot at an elevation of 14130ft (4307 meters). In a distance of approximately 14.5 miles (23.3 km), we will travel from a sub-alpine forest environment to the Alpine zone which is a treeless land above approximately 11500ft (3505 meters) at Mt. Evans' latitude.

By the time we arrive at Summit Lake, elevation 12830ft (3911 meters), we will have traveled through several miles of alpine tundra and will have traversed an area containing permafrost (permanently frozen ground).

Continuing on to the summit, the Mt. Evans road quickly climbs above 13000ft (3964 meters) and before we reach the first sharp switchback above Summit Lake we will have surpassed 4000 meters (13123ft) in elevation.

After negotiating a series of exceedingly sharp switchbacks, we arrive at the summit parking lot. A short hiking trail leads to the true summit of the mountain at 14264ft (4348 meters).

Are you ready? Let's go!

 
Maps:
Combo Map


Note: The following series of photographs are compiled from 2 rides up the mountain: the first on May 29, 2009, the second on June 5, 2009. Conditions on the mountain were virtually identical for both rides. The photographs are not necessarily displayed in the exact order taken. Stated distances are approximate. Enjoy the ride!

After riding from my home in Denver, we arrive at the beginning of Route 5.

Echo Lake is visible in this photo with Echo Lake Lodge just out of view to the left.

Colorado Route 103, the Squaw Pass road, is visible on the far right.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
10676ft (3254 meters).

Distance from starting point:
0.0 miles (0.0 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


Starting the climb up Route 5, the Mt. Evans entrance station is shown.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
10676ft (3254 meters).

Distance from starting point:
0.0 miles (0.0 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


Climbing above treeline.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
11532ft (3515 meters).

Distance from starting point:
3.1 miles (5.0 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


Shortly after climbing above treeline is this fine view.

Colorado Route 103 is below while the snowcapped mountains of Colorado's Indian Peaks Wilderness Area are visible in the distance. Route 103 (Squaw Pass) is the only road that intersects with the Mt. Evans road.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
11651ft (3551 meters).

Distance from starting point:
3.3 miles (5.3 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


In this beautiful view from the same location as the photo above, Echo Lake is seen below with Colorado Route 103 alongside.

The snowcapped mountains in the distance are part of Colorado's Vasquez mountains and form a section of the North American Continental Divide.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
11651ft (3551 meters).

Distance from starting point:
3.3 miles (5.3 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


A nice view of the Mt. Evans Wilderness Area. Route 5 is visible just above the fuel tank of the bike.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
11818ft (3602 meters).

Distance from starting point:
3.9 miles (6.3 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


Let's continue the climb, now nearing an elevation of 12000ft (3658 meters)!
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
11940ft (3639 meters).

Distance from starting point:
4.2 miles (6.8 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


As we climb above 12000ft (3658 meters) the snow becomes much heavier.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
12158ft (3706 meters).

Distance from starting point:
5.0 miles (8.1 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


An area on Route 5 that is notorious for significant snow accumulation.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
12443ft (3793 meters).

Distance from starting point:
5.8 miles (9.3 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


In this view the summit is clearly visible.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
12614ft (3845 meters).

Distance from starting point:
6.6 miles (10.6 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


Fresh snow had accumulated 2 days before this ride. Riding conditions were not quite as bad as it might appear in this photo!

The tall poles visible in this and other photos is an assist to snowplow operators, very helpful in determining the actual location of the road.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
12704ft (3872 meters).

Distance from starting point:
7.2 miles (11.6 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


Approaching still-frozen Summit Lake in the glacial cirque above the windscreen of the bike.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
12890ft (3929 meters).

Distance from starting point:
8.5 miles (13.7 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


Summit Lake.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
12830ft (3911 meters).

Distance from starting point:
9.4 miles (15.1 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


Continuing the climb up Route 5. The summit is still over 4 miles (6.4 km) away with an elevation gain of over 1000ft (305 meters) still to come!
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
12936ft (3943 meters).

Distance from starting point:
10.1 miles (16.3 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


This is where the road climbs past 4000 meters (13123ft) in elevation.

Two levels of Route 5 are visible in this image.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
13123ft (4000 meters).

Distance from starting point:
10.7 miles (17.2 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


In this shot the eastern plains of Colorado are visible in the distance.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
13372ft (4076 meters).

Distance from starting point:
12.3 miles (19.8 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


Mountains of Colorado's Mosquito Range are visible on the left side of the image. The Mosquito Range forms part of the North American Continental Divide.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
13596ft (4144 meters).

Distance from starting point:
13.2 miles (21.3 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


Nearing the summit. Only about ½ mile (.8 km) to go!

Visible in this image are Mt. Bierstadt on the left, the slope of Mt. Evans on the right and mountains of Colorado's Eagles Nest Wilderness Area in the far distance.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
13925ft (4244 meters).

Distance from starting point:
14.0 miles (22.5 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


The summit! From here, there's no way to go but down!

The backbone of the Mosquito Range is visible in this shot as is South Park on the left side, in the distance. South Park is a large, high valley with an average elevation of just under 10000ft (3048 meters).
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
14130ft (4307 meters).

Distance from starting point:
14.5 miles (23.3 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


Another shot from the summit with South Park in the distance. Barely visible (center right) is U.S. Highway 285 as it crosses Kenosha Pass and enters South Park.
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
14130ft (4307 meters).

Distance from starting point:
14.5 miles (23.3 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


At the summit. Regardless of the GPS receiver's elevation reading, we will use 14130ft (4307 meters) as the actual (at the summit parking area), as stated by the United States Forest Service.

Regardless, obtaining a higher elevation by motor vehicle would be a challenge, at least in North America!
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
14130ft (4307 meters).

Distance from starting point:
14.5 miles (23.3 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride


This is me on the mountain a couple weeks after I shot the preceding images. Mt. Evans summit is directly above the front of the bike. Route 5 is visible on the left side as it starts the climb from Summit Lake.

This area is known as Summit Lake Flats and is an area containing permafrost (permanently frozen ground).
 
Photo statistics:
Elevation:
12890ft (3929 meters).

Distance from starting point:
8.8 miles (14.2 km).
Mt. Evans Springtime Ride

The End

I hope you enjoyed the photos! For a complete 8-page photo essay of the ride up Mt. Evans (without all the snow!), visit my Mt. Evans Ride pages.

From my home in Denver, Colorado at an elevation of approximately 5500ft (1676 meters), this ride gains (and then descends) over 1.6 miles (2.6 km) in vertical elevation. Round trip distance from my home in Denver: 115 miles (185 km).

The Hyosung GT650 proved to be a fine mount for riding on the mountain and performed flawlessly regardless of elevation or other environmental conditions. For more information on this fine machine I invite you to visit my Hyosung GT650S Home Page.

I welcome your questions or comments at .

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Revision history:
2009-06-16 - Live on the web
2009-06-19 - Add 2 images, locations 17 & 18
2009-07-08 - Revise image borders
2010-01-05 - Add vertical elevation data
2010-01-23 - Revise Mt. Evans links