Mount Evans Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Mount Evans


Mt Evans Bike Ride: Touch the Sky

Page Contributor(s): Bruce Hamilton and Stacy Topping, USA Erich Pawelka, Vienna, Austria

Explore this Climb

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Mostly Cloudy

3.4 mph SW with gusts up to 12.5 mph

0% chance of light rainfall

9:11 PM (local)
PJAMM Sunrise Icon6:21 AMPJAMM Sunset Icon7:43 PM

Wind Speed


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54° 42°


pjamm cycling clear-day weather icon

66° 45°


pjamm cycling partly-cloudy-day weather icon

68° 43°


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59° 36°


pjamm cycling fog weather icon

44° 36°


pjamm cycling partly-cloudy-day weather icon

55° 33°


pjamm cycling clear-day weather icon

61° 39°

Climb Summary

Cyclist and Mountain Goat at Summit of Mount Evans, Colorado 

              You cannot cycle any higher than this in North America.

There are not many rides you will do where you can say "This is the highest . . .", but this is one of  them.  Mt Evans, Colorado - the highest paved road (therefore the highest paved climb by bike) in North  America!  For all that strive to climb the hardest, the longest, the steepest, the highest, this is a must-do!  

Last 5 miles to the top.

Mile markers correlate to the start of Mt Evans Rd at mile 13 of the full climb

You  will encounter unique wildlife as you climb this mountain, including Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep,  mountain goats, deer, marmots (they seem very curious and you likely will  encounter them  staring at you along the side of the road towards the very top of the climb).  

Mt Evans Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep 

Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep    




Marmot, not varmint!


Our climb begins in Idaho Springs, Colorado (Colorado is a mecca for climbing, particularly high altitude climbing - and routes across the Continental Divide) with a 4 miles warm up at 3.1%.  We travel along Colorado State Highway 103 for the first 13 miles (3,130’ / 4.9% average grade) before making our only traffic turn on the route onto Hwy 5.  Neither of these highways have much traffic and the trip feels safe the entire route.

cycling hwy 103 to mt evans

Highway 103 - pristine roadway.

Arapaho National Forest sign on Hwy 103 while riding by bike to Mount Evans, Rocky Mountains

In Arapaho National Forest most of the climb.

Turn right into Mount Evans National Wilderness area at mile 21 - turn right onto State Highway 5.

Cycling to Mt Evans - Mirror Lake with Mount Evans in background

Echo (mirror?) Lake at mile 20 (Mt. Evans Summit center photo)

Mount Evans Park entrance sign

Enter the Recreation area at mile 21 (No charge for bikes as of 2017)

Cycling past road sign on Mt Evans Road Rocky Mountains

14.4 miles/3,720’ gained/4.6% average grade from turn off to summit.

We go above tree line around mile 16 and the views from there to the top are unobstructed of the striking Rocky Mountains and several natural and beautiful lakes along the way.

Bicycling Mount Evans - Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest sign 

Just about to go above treeline here at mile 15.9


  Climbing up Hwy 5  


Cycling above treeline to Mt Evans in Rocky Mountains Colorado

              No need to guess where treeline is!

This is the highest high-altitude cycling you'll ever get on a road bike in North America, so be prepared.  3% less oxygen for every 1,000' of climbing (42% less oxygen at 14,000' than at sea level).  It is highly recommended  that you climb a few of the "lower" peaks in the area before tackling Mt. Evans - I was a bit light headed  and wobbly towards the top. I had climbed several 8,000' peaks in California the week before the  trip, but that didn't sufficiently prepare me for another mile of climbing after 8,000'!    

Be aware that the  top 5.3 miles of  the climb is limited to foot and cycling traffic after Labor Day (as of 2014) and closes  to  cyclists/hikers when weather dictates.  You will have no SAG support after Labor Day from mile  22.1  (Summit Lake Park) to 27.4 (summit).

Cycling Mt. Evans - aerial drone photo of Summit Lake

                     Summit Lake mile 22.5

To the summit = 5.4 miles gain 1,460’ at 4.6% to elevation 14,150’.

Bike climb Mt. Evans - aerial drone photo just before Summit Lake - roadway and mountains

Miles 21-22 just before Summit Lake

PJAMM cyclist at summit of Mount Evans with bicycle

PJAMM Mount Evans 2015 - 3rd of many 

When to cycle Mount Evans:  “The Mount Evans Road and Scenic Byway (Colorado Highway 5) is  typically open the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through the first weekend in October, depending on weather conditions. The road and access to the top of Mount Evans is closed at Summit Lake the day after Labor Day. For the latest information about the road visit  “  Forest Service - Mount Evans.

How to Cycle Mount Evans: Train as much as you have ever trained for any climb.  This is an extremely challenging road bike climb due to the altitude we ride to (there is 42% less oxygen at the summit than at sea level). We suggest at least a compact chain ring and 28 to 30t cassette.  The climb begins 2/10's of a mile southwest of the intersection of Hwy 40 and Chicago Creek Road, Idaho Springs, CO, 55 miles west of Denver International Airport (39.73919, -105.52242 latitude/longitude)..

Roadway and  Traffic:  Miles 0-13 are along Highway 103 (Chicago Creek and Squaw Creek Roads). The highway surface is a smooth two lane road with no bike lane,  but minimal traffic, particularly along the last several miles before the Mt Evans Road turn off.  Traffic is mild for the entire climb on Mt Evans Road (14 miles) and the  roadway surface good, although a little rough for the 5 mile descent from the top to Summit Lake.

Great  summaries of Mt  Evans are found at and  Wikipedia - Mt Evans