Mount Evans Scenic Byway: A High-Altitude Adventure at Echo Lake Lodge, 13264 Chicago Creek Rd, Idaho Springs, CO 80452

Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the Mount Evans Scenic Byway is a breathtaking journey that beckons adventurers to the lofty heights of one of Colorado’s iconic fourteeners. This awe-inspiring route, culminating at Echo Lake Lodge (13264 Chicago Creek Rd, Idaho Springs, CO 80452), offers not only a spectacular drive but an opportunity to witness the majesty of alpine landscapes, diverse wildlife, and panoramic views that stretch to the horizon. In this exploration, we will traverse the scenic byway, uncover the wonders of Echo Lake Lodge, delve into nearby attractions within a 3-mile radius, and provide practical details for those eager to embark on this high-altitude adventure. Kraftwork

Location and Accessibility:

The starting point of the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, Echo Lake Lodge, is conveniently situated near Idaho Springs, providing easy access for both Denver residents and visitors exploring the Colorado Rockies.

Address: Echo Lake Lodge, 13264 Chicago Creek Rd, Idaho Springs, CO 80452.

Major Cross Streets and Freeways/Highways:

Echo Lake Lodge is located near the intersection of Chicago Creek Rd and Mount Evans Rd. This intersection serves as a gateway to the scenic byway, guiding travelers onto the winding mountain road that ascends toward Mount Evans.

For those driving from Denver, the most common route involves taking I-70 West from downtown Denver and exiting onto CO-103 at Idaho Springs. From there, travelers follow CO-103 to Chicago Creek Rd, leading them to Echo Lake Lodge.

Things Nearby Within 3 Miles:

Within a 3-mile radius of Echo Lake Lodge, visitors can explore a variety of attractions and natural wonders that enhance the mountain experience.

Echo Lake Park: Just a stone’s throw away from the lodge, Echo Lake Park offers a serene setting for picnics, leisurely walks, and enjoying the reflective beauty of the lake surrounded by mountainous landscapes.

Idaho Springs: The charming town of Idaho Springs is within a short drive and provides a mix of historic charm and modern amenities. Visitors can explore the town’s shops, dine in local restaurants, and learn about the area’s mining history.

Mount Goliath Natural Area: To the south of Echo Lake, Mount Goliath Natural Area showcases alpine gardens and a variety of native plants adapted to high-altitude environments. Interpretive trails offer insights into the unique flora of the region. Downtown Aquarium

Scenic Byway Highlights:

Winding Roads and Alpine Vistas:

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway, often referred to as the “Road into the Sky,” winds its way through pine forests, past pristine lakes, and eventually reaches an elevation of over 14,000 feet. The journey provides awe-inspiring views of the surrounding peaks and valleys, making it a favorite among nature enthusiasts and photographers.

Summit Lake Park:

En route to Mount Evans, Summit Lake Park offers a picturesque stop. Nestled at an elevation of over 12,800 feet, the lake provides a serene setting surrounded by tundra landscapes. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk and marvel at the high-altitude flora.

Mount Evans Summit:

The byway concludes at the summit of Mount Evans, where visitors can stand atop one of Colorado’s famed fourteeners. Panoramic views extend in all directions, showcasing the vastness of the Rocky Mountains. The summit is accessible by a short hike from the parking area.

Echo Lake Lodge: A Mountain Retreat:

Historic Charm and Modern Comfort:

Echo Lake Lodge, situated at the base of Mount Evans, is not only a starting point for the scenic byway but a destination in itself. This historic lodge exudes mountain charm and provides a comfortable retreat for travelers. The lodge’s architecture reflects a bygone era, while modern amenities ensure a pleasant stay.

Dining and Souvenirs:

The lodge’s restaurant offers a menu of hearty mountain fare, providing sustenance for those embarking on the high-altitude journey. Visitors can also explore the gift shop, which features a selection of souvenirs, locally crafted goods, and essential supplies for the mountain adventure ahead.

Practical Information for Visitors:

Opening and Closing Hours:

Echo Lake Lodge’s operating hours may vary by season, with the summer months typically offering extended hours. Visitors are advised to check the official website or contact the lodge directly for up-to-date information on opening and closing times.

Altitude Considerations:

As Echo Lake Lodge is located at high altitude, visitors should be mindful of potential altitude-related effects. It’s recommended to stay hydrated, take breaks as needed, and be aware of any signs of altitude sickness.

Weather and Road Conditions:

Due to the high elevation and alpine environment, weather conditions on Mount Evans can change rapidly. Before embarking on the journey, travelers should check weather forecasts and road conditions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Wildlife Encounters and Conservation:

Alpine Fauna:

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway and surrounding areas provide opportunities to encounter wildlife adapted to alpine environments. Visitors may spot marmots, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and various bird species. Respecting wildlife and maintaining a safe distance is essential for both the well-being of the animals and visitors.

Conservation Awareness:

Mount Evans and its surroundings are part of a delicate alpine ecosystem. Visitors are encouraged to follow Leave No Trace principles, stay on designated trails, and contribute to the conservation efforts aimed at preserving the unique flora and fauna of the region.


In conclusion, Echo Lake Lodge at 13264 Chicago Creek Rd, Idaho Springs, CO 80452, serves as a gateway to the extraordinary adventure that is the Mount Evans Scenic Byway. From its historic charm to the panoramic vistas of the scenic byway and the alpine wonders awaiting at the summit, Echo Lake Lodge encapsulates the essence of a Rocky Mountain retreat.

As visitors ascend the winding roads, surrounded by the splendor of nature, they embark on a journey that transcends the ordinary. The Mount Evans experience is not just about reaching the summit; it’s about immersing oneself in the grandeur of the Rockies, embracing the challenge of high-altitude exploration, and savoring the moments of awe that come with standing at the top of the world.

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