"But I'm not as young as I used to be" you say? "I'm only in Colorado for two days, there is NO WAY I will be adjusted to the elevation in time to go up a 14'er" you explain? "I just don't have the time" you affirm? "Uh..... BABIES!" you declare? (I take it you mean you have a or multiple babies... unless you... are a baby?)
That doesn't have to stop you! Thanks to relatively-modern-ish engineering you can experience a 14'er by driving to the top! This is a great opportunity for anyone and everyone, even if you are physically able to climb a 14'er but don't have the time to do one.
|View of Summit Lake from the peak of Mount Evans|
When you go past the gift shop you come to a typical pay booth you see at so many recreational areas and national parks. The nice thing about this booth, however, is you can completely skip it if you want! That's right... free access! There is a catch though. Along the way up to the peak, there are three "developed" areas, which include a nature center, Summit Lake (which might be worth $10 alone) and the Peak itself. In order to park and enjoy those features, you have to pay a $10 user fee. Otherwise, driving on the road and using the un-developed pull-offs are completely free of charge. Honestly, the entire fee goes to maintaining this wonder, so you might as well pay the equivalent to two coffees at Starbucks and get over it. It is going towards a good cause.
But I digress...
As you drive down Colorado Route 5, you will pass a nature center run by the Denver Botanical Society. The center is small itself with a room with some diagrams, but it has some hiking trails and the Walter Pesman Alpine Garden are attached to it with some ever awesome bristlecone pine trees (known to be the oldest living things on earth). I suggest stopping and checking it out on the way down the mountain.
|Bristlecone pines (right) at the nature center on Mount Evans|
|View east from the road going up Mount Evans|
|Spring bloom in the alpine|
|Summit Lake Mountain Park|
|Mountain goat at the peak of Mount Evans|
|Twinnies playing near the peak of Mount Evans|
|View north-east from the peak of Mount Evans overlooking the observatory and Crest House ruins.|
If you only have a short visit to the Denver area and want to get up a mountain to see 360 degree views but don't have time to hike a mountain or just physically can't, go check out Mount Evans... you won't be disappointed.