Until the Pikes Peak road was paved and opened to cyclists, Mount Evans was the big, high ride in Colorado, finishing at 14,130 feet above sea level. From Idaho Springs it’s about 28 miles of mainly uphill. The real mountain part starts at Echo Lake, 15 miles from the summit. The hardest part is the last 6 miles from Summit Lake up the steep switchbacks to the top. It’s hard largely because of the altitude.
The Mount Evans climb is popular because the scenery is spectacular and there are not many bike rides that climb to 14,000 feet. There’s even an annual bike race from Idaho Springs to the summit, the Bob Cook Memorial Mount Evans Hill Climb.
I’d ridden Mount Evans several times from Idaho Springs, and in 2010 I decided to ride it from my home in Boulder. I didn’t ride with a bike computer back then but Google Maps tells me it’s about 145 miles there and back, with many thousand feet of climbing 😀.
I started in the dark, riding up Boulder Canyon to Nederland. From Nederland you ride south along the rolling Peak-to-Peak highway to Black Hawk. From there head up to Central City. In 2010 Black Hawk passed a law preventing cyclists riding up this road. Fortunately Black Hawk is only about 1/4 mile long so walking through town with my bike was easy. The law was challenged in 2013 and overturned by the Colorado Supreme Court.
From Central City ride down the rolling Central City Parkway to Interstate 70, then up the frontage road to Idaho Springs. From there, follow Highway 103 to Echo Lake then Highway 5 up to the summit of Mount Evans.
Ridden on August 12, 2010 in 13.5 hours, with stops at McDonalds in Idaho Springs for meals on the way up and down.
Links and Other Clicks
Article about overturning the Black Hawk law banning cyclists.