Scenic Drives A Short Drive From Denver


Mt. Evans Scenic Byway

The highest paved road in the northern hemisphere
Take I-70 to Exit 240 and follow the signs to Highway 103 and Mount Evans. Drive South 14 miles and turn onto Highway 5, which will take you approximately 14 more miles to the Mount Evans Summit* (From Exit 240, it is about a 1 hour drive to the Summit)

Just before Highway 5 you will arrive at Echo Lake. Be sure to visit the Echo Lake Lodge Restaurant and Gift Shop for a bite to eat, or to pick up a few souvenirs. It is also the the last stop for water and restrooms before reaching the Summit. While you are here, you will need to check-in at the Forest Service Welcome Station and pay the Mount Evans Summit Fee to proceed driving up the remaining 14 miles on the highest paved highway in North America!

On your drive up you will pass several mountain lakes, and wind through the gorgeous Alpine Meadows, an ancient Bristlecone Pine forest with miles of undisturbed tundra, amazing plant life, and plentiful wildlife. You may even see Mountain Goats, Marmots, and many more animals along the way – We only ask that you DO NOT FEED any wildlife on your adventure.

Be sure to stop at the Mount Goliath Nature Center where you can experience a range of breathtaking views, from Rocky Mountain peaks to delicate alpine plants and ancient wind-sculpted bristlecone pines! Guided garden explorations, and shuttle service from the top of the M. Walter Pesman Trail to the Dos Chappell Nature Center take place seasonally and are hosted by the Denver Botanic Gardens! For complete information please click here.

Once you reach the Summit of Mount Evans, you will be at 14,265 feet with incredible views of the entire Front Range and the Continental Divide. Many of the flora and fauna life zones at the Summit are the same as those found at the Arctic Circle.

*The summit of Mount Evans typically opens the Friday before Memorial Day and remains open through Labor Day, weather permitting. Please plan to visit early in the day Monday through Thursday to avoid peak visiting hours as parking is limited. 

On Labor Day, the top five mile section of Highway 5 to the summit of Mount Evans will close for the season. However, the remaining section of Highway 5 to Summit Lake will remain open through the first Monday in October, weather permitting. The lower section of the Mount Evans Scenic Byway (Highway 103 from Idaho Springs to Echo Lake) is open year-round. 

The Welcome Station just off the Highway 103/Highway 5 interchange is open 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM. A fee is charged to help maintain the upper section of this incredible roadway. The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week once it is open for the season. 

Click Here to download a copy of the map as a PDF

Guanella Pass Scenic Byway

Take I-70 to Exit 228 in Georgetown and follow the signs through Historic Georgetown to the Scenic Byway. 23 miles long, Guanella Pass Scenic Byway follows the original wagon route that linked the mining towns of Georgetown, Colorado and Grant, Colorado on US Highway 285.

Along the way you will experience clear mountain lakes, water falls, incredible flora and fauna, animals, and trail heads. The byway is a spectacular drive in the fall, as the aspens put on their autumn best and shower the byway with leaves of gold.

*The byway is now fully paved from Georgetown to Grant to US Highway 285. Guanella Pass typically opens the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend and remains open through late November – Weather Permitting.

Click Here to download a copy of the map as a PDF

“Oh My Gawd” Road aka Virginia Canyon

“Oh My Gawd Road” is the breath-taking, hair-raising shortcut to nearby Central City, another historic gold rush town known as the “richest square mile on earth” – This scenic dirt/gravel road gets its name from its spectacular views as well as its narrow and curving lanes. The canyon is filled with old mining sites, and like the travelers of yesterday, many people drive the road in search of gold as they travel between Idaho Springs and the gambling communities of Central City and Blackhawk. Open year round.

Take I-70 to Exit 241 in Idaho Springs. Follow Colorado Boulevard into town, and stay to the right at the fork, take the second right onto Virginia Canyon Road and follow the road up through the residential neighborhood, which then curves to the right onto the dirt road. Maps are available at the Idaho Springs Visitor Center.

For local traffic information and webcams throughout Clear Creek County please visit or download the CDOT Mobile App for up to date traffic information. All information is provided by of the Colorado Department of Transportation.