News

Mount Evans Highway won’t open to motorized vehicles for the 2020 season due to impacts from COVID-19

June 4, 2020 - Denver Metro Area, Colorado

CLEAR CREEK COUNTY — Due to issues associated with COVID-19, USDA Forest Service and Denver Mountain Parks will not be able to provide services for visitors on Mount Evans this summer, and the Mount Evans Highway (Colorado Highway 5) will not open to motorized vehicles for the 2020 season. The Colorado Department of Transportation, the USDA Forest Service, and Denver Mountain Parks — the agencies that jointly manage Mount Evans — have reached this decision after careful consideration of both health and safety risks and economic feasibility.

While there will be no restrooms or services provided by USDA Forest Service and Denver Mountain Parks on Mount Evans this summer, there are no plans to prohibit the use of Mount Evans Highway for non-motorized activities such as hiking and biking. Recreationists should be aware of and plan for extremely limited parking. Visitors to public lands should practice the seven Leave No Trace principles and follow state and local orders regarding recreation throughout the summer.

Since the highway will remain closed to motorized use for the 2020 season, CDOT crews plan to perform necessary maintenance of the highway that can’t be carried out when the highway is open. This includes filling potholes and fixing damaged delineation markings which outline the edges of the highway and also alert motorists to any obstacles covered by snow. This work will help improve the condition and safety of the highway greatly as all involved agencies look ahead to the 2021 season. 

Conditions on Mount Evans could be quite variable and unsafe due to weather and potential icy and snow-packed conditions. Due to the higher demand on law enforcement and rescue operations, high-risk activities that increase your chance of injury or distress should be avoided.

BACKGROUND ON MOUNT EVANS 

Located near Idaho Springs, the Mount Evans Highway is owned by the Colorado Department of Transportation and jointly managed by Denver Mountain Parks and the USDA Forest Service, both of which have land and facilities along the highway to the 14,264-foot summit. CDOT partners with these agencies by plowing and maintaining the narrow, winding highway — the highest paved road in North America — from Echo Lake at CO 103 to the summit. More than 200,000 people from all over the world visit the summit of Mount Evans annually while the road is open, generally from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. 

Colorado: The Official State Web Portal