Rocky Mountain Region Viewing Area
LOCATION and PHOTOS
Colorful harebells (Campanula sp.) grace Mt. Evans, Arapaho National Forest, Colorado. Photo Scott Dressel-Martin
Beautiful paintbrush (Castilleja sp.) greets hikers on M. Walter Pesman Trail near Mt. Goliath, Arapaho National Forest, Colorado. Photo Scott Dressel-Martin
Weathered bristlecone pines (Pinus aristata) adorn Mt. Goliath, Arapaho National Forest, Colorado. Photo Scott Dressel-Martin
Mt. Goliath - Mt. Evans Viewing Area
Forest: Arapaho National Forest
District: Clear Creek Ranger District
Description: Mt. Goliath and Mt. Evans are located just 43 miles from Denver, CO. Containing a stunning array of alpine wildflowers, these two mountains offer a glimpse into an environment so harsh that most plants do not grow more than a few inches tall. The explosive display captivates many viewers during this short summer spectacle. Come and discover the life cycles and lore of the alpine tundra and the intense beauty of a natural garden that lasts only 40 frost-free days a year. See alpine forget-me-nots, moss campion, sky pilot, fairy primrose, purple fringe, columbine, chiming bells, paint brush, spring beauty, and their butterfly pollinators. Other viewing treasures include ancient bristle cone pines, mountain goats and awesome Rocky Mountain vistas of Mt. Evans and Gray’s and Torrey’s Peaks, all over 14,000 feet high.
Viewing Information: The viewing area extends from the Dos Chappell Nature Center on Mt. Evans Road to the summit of Mt. Evans. Due to the short growing season at high elevation, the best time to visit this unique roadside area is from mid-June through the end of July. The USDA Forest Service Visitor Center in Idaho Springs, (303) 567-3000, can provide information about drives or hikes in and around the area, and the Denver Botanic Gardens, (720) 865-3500, offers free wildflower hikes at Mt. Goliath several times a week during the summer.
Safety First: Weather at this altitude is very unpredictable and can change from calm, sunny skies into a snowstorm in a very short period of time. Be sure to bring warm clothing, food and water. Also be aware that even minimal physical exertion can be quite taxing at high elevation. Be aware of your physical condition, drink lots of water and take breaks often. With all of the wildflowers, you will be taking many breaks anyway.
Directions: Drive west from Denver towards Grand Junction on Interstate 70. Follow the signs to Idaho Springs and take exit 240. Turn left onto CO 103. After crossing over Interstate 70 you will see the Idaho Springs Visitor Center on your right. Continue following CO 103 to CO 5 (Mt. Evans Road) and turn right. Pay the Recreation Standard Amenity Fee at the fee booth and continue up the mountain several miles until you see the Dos Chappell Nature Center on your left (at a switchback in the road).
Ownership and Management: U.S. Forest Service, Arapaho National Forest, Clear Creek Ranger District, (303) 567-3000.
Closest Town: Idaho Springs, Colorado (13 miles).