Mount Evans, Colorado is the road into the sky. From our starting elevation in the Front Range to the top of Mount Evans (14,240 ft.) we will ascend 8,640 feet and travel through four distinct “life zones”. It is not uncommon to leave for our trip in 90 degree weather and two hours later we will be shivering as we drag our tripods around in a 40 degree chill at the top.
At the Summit of Mount Evans (14,240 ft.) you will be graced with a view you can’t find many places on the planet. Looking north you can see all the way to Rocky Mountain National Park (about 50 miles away). To the East you will see Denver (looking very small and tiny) and the plains beyond (on a perfect clear day you’ll see 80 miles). So get ready to take some panorama photos here.
The road to the top is curvy and steep at times. This often begs the question “why do I keep seeing bicyclists riding up the road?” I really don’t know. It’s long, steep and very high altitude. I don’t know what they are thinking, but nevertheless, there they are. Sometimes it’s worth stopping by an overlook with grand mountains in the background and wait for a biker to pass. These types of “sports” photographs can be quite stunning with the mountains as a background.
Rainbows can sometimes be seen gracing the high alpine meadows as clouds pass directly through the area regularly creating a “fog” of sorts.
Mount Evans is an amazing place to capture photographs of Colorado wildlife. We will often see marmots, eagles, foxes, mountain goats and big horn sheep. It’s not uncommon to get within a dozen yards of these creatures (but be careful… they do have big pointy horns you know).
In addition to the abundance of wildlife, there is a rich world of wildflowers for us to photograph. You’ll want to break out your macro lens (or at least a good telephoto) as these flowers tend to be quite small. They make up for their size with brilliant color and amazing background.
A taste of the wildflowers you can expect to photograph: Rocky Mountain Columbine, Bluebells, Fairy Slippers, Monkshood, Wild Strawberry, Snow Buttercup and more
Along the way, we will have several opportunities to photograph a couple of stunning alpine lakes. During June these lakes will be surrounded with the spring flowers that are starting their blooms (remember spring comes late at these elevations).
Echo Lake: If the wind is calm we can capture the surrounding snow capped mountains as reflections within the crystal waters. Even if nature doesn’t cooperate, Echo Lake is a classic Colorado scenery shot with a backdrop of pine forest and snow capped mountains.
Summit Lake: At 12,830 feet above sea level, this lake provides an excellent example of a high alpine lake. It lies in a cirque formed by Mount Evans and Mount Spalding with rocky ridges and cliffs rising from the lake to the summits over 1,000 feet above. It is the most accessible lake above timberline as the Summit Lake parking area is just a few hundred feet from the lake. The area to the east of the lake is Summit Lake Flats and is the only known area of permafrost located in the United States outside of Alaska.