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The snow is melting in the high country and soon the roads over Colorado's majestic mountain passes will be open again for a season of exploring and hiking. If you are looking for an adventurous Denver, Colorado day trip, take time to explore one of Colorado's scenic byways near Idaho Springs.

Known as the highest paved road in North America, the Mount Evans scenic byway takes you on a stunning drive past crystal mountain lakes, breathtaking vistas and, if you drive near the summit (the parking is located at 14,130 feet!), a glorious view of the entire Front Range. Mount Evans is located in the Arapaho National Forest and requires a small recreation fee for access to the Summit parking lot and nearby amenities.

As you drive to the summit, there are several great spots to stop and enjoy the wildlife and glorious scenery. First, pull off at the Mount Goliath Nature Center. The interpretative center has information about various mountain ecosystems, including highlights about the Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine tree, which is one of the oldest tree species in the world. There is a short quarter-mile loop trail where you can explore first-hand the beauty of the alpine landscape.

Continue farther up the 28-mile scenic byway and you will reach the Mount Evans Summit and Interpretative Site. Arriving here is one of the easiest ways to add a Rocky Mountain fourteener to your list of accomplishments. In addition to the heavenly views of the plains and the continental divide, you can follow the interpretative site trail and read more about some of the historic structures near the summit, including an observatory operated by the University of Denver.

On your way down from the summit, you can stop and explore Echo Lake. There is a campground and a nature trail around the lake that is perfect for an afternoon picnic or some leisurely fishing. There is also the local Echo Lake Lodge and Restaurant nearby.

After a day of exploring and enjoying the views, you can head back toward Idaho Springs to refuel your car and your energy. Idaho Springs has been a well-loved watering hole for mountain adventurers since the mining heyday of Colorado. Whether you are in the mood for pizza, burgers or sandwiches, you are sure to find a tasty option to wrap up your day. To learn more about activities in Clear Creek County or to get the latest information about road conditions, check out the county website.

Are you interested living in Colorado and having endless mountain adventures in your own backyard? Then, please contact us for more information about real estate available across the Front Range.

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