Mount Evans to reopen with timed-entry reservations

Online system will be similar to process used for Rocky Mountain National Park

Corinne Westeman
cwesteman@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 5/25/21

Those wanting to visit Mount Evans this summer will need to make reservations first. The U.S. Forest Service and other stakeholders are implementing a timed-entry reservation system, similar to the …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Username
Password
Log in

Don't have an ID?


Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.

Non-subscribers

Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution in 2021-2022, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.


Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

Mount Evans to reopen with timed-entry reservations

Online system will be similar to process used for Rocky Mountain National Park

Posted

Those wanting to visit Mount Evans this summer will need to make reservations first.

The U.S. Forest Service and other stakeholders are implementing a timed-entry reservation system, similar to the one used at Rocky Mountain National Park. Visitors can buy passes online, enter during a two-hour window, and stay as long as they desire.

Clear Creek District Ranger Scott Haas said the intent is threefold: protect the public and USFS personnel during the COVID-19 pandemic, improve visitor experiences, and preserve the health of the mountain’s flora and fauna.

He also believes the new system will alleviate the summertime traffic jam around Echo Lake Lodge.

The highway to the summit is scheduled to open for vehicle traffic June 4, depending on weather.

While prices remain the same based on vehicle type, there will now be an additional $2 reservation fee. Those entering the highway on bikes and on foot do not need reservations, USFS spokeswoman Reid Armstrong said.

Once the online reservation system goes live, which was scheduled for this week, Armstrong said visitors will be able to purchase various tours based on which area or areas around Mount Evans they intend to visit.

Entry before 8 a.m. and after 6:30 p.m. will remain free, however if someone is taking up a parking spot during the day, they need to have a reservation, Armstrong clarified. Likewise, if visitors only want to drive the highway without stopping, they can get a free hang tag at the welcome station.

“Our estimations are that most people are going to want to get a reservation,” Armstrong continued.

Even with the reservation system, there is a possibility that trailheads will still be full for those arriving later in the day. Thus, the USFS will be monitoring and adjusting the system as needed as part of its adaptive management, Armstrong said.

“We’re basing it on data we’ve collected about use patterns and available parking spots,” she said.

Haas told the Clear Creek County commissioners during a May 18 meeting that there will be signs along the major thoroughfares to inform visitors of the change, and there might be some day-of passes available at the welcome station.

To make a reservation, visit recreation.gov.

‘Know before you go’

With land managers across the state anticipating incredibly high levels of use this summer, the USFS and its partners are encouraging visitors to research their recreation areas and be aware of any new rules before visiting.

One major change for the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests is a food storage order at all sites, which should minimize bear encounters. Haas and Armstrong said bear encounters in the ARNF numbered in the hundreds last year, and thankfully, no one was hurt.

Another major change in Clear Creek County is that Maxwell Falls near Evergreen will now serve as a day-hike area only. Camping, overnight parking and campfires are now prohibited.

“For the U.S. Forest Service, it’s pretty unusual to go to only day use,” Haas said, adding that the agency has been working with residents to address various issues since 2016.

As for the fire season’s outlook, Haas said the Front Range is currently expecting a normal season. While conditions can change very quickly, the forests are not nearly as dry as they were at this time last year, he said.

“We’re not out of the woods,” Haas continued, “but we’re looking much better.”

Comments

Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.