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Reservations to visit Mount Evans, Brainard Lake open this month

summit house on mount evans, Mount Evans Scenic Byway
Posted at 4:17 PM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 08:00:18-04

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Reservations are opening this month for two popular destinations in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests.

Advanced reservations to visit Mount Evans and Brainard Lake will open in May on Recreation.gov. These are some of the most visited recreation areas in the National Forests and draw hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the globe.

The reservations will help reduce wait times, parking woes, lines and crowding, while also minimizing impacts on wildlife.

Visitors can select a reservation time slot from multiple windows throughout the day. The reservations come with a $2 fee plus the standard fees outlined below. The reservations apply only to drivers, not hikers or bicyclists.

Anybody who arrives at these two locations without a reservation will need to find cell service and secure the timed entry pass.

Always check for any fire restrictions, closures and other need-to-know items by clicking here.

Mount Evans

Mount Evans is the 14th tallest fourteener — or mountain with a summit above 14,000 feet — in Colorado. The Mount Evans Highway is a 14-mile drive from Echo Lake to the summit of the mountain.

Mount Evans
View of Mount Evans from summit of Mount Spalding in July 2020.

The Mount Evans Recreation Area is expected to open on May 27, depending on weather. Reservations became available Tuesday around 10 a.m. Reservations, which are required to visit any parts of the mountain along the road and to park, can be made up to 30 days in advance.

READ MORE: The Clear Creek County commissioners voted to rename Mount Evans. Here's what happens next

The area around Mount Evans has very little to no cell service available, so be sure to make the reservations where you have service.

Here is the cost breakdown:

  • One-day personal vehicle on fee free days: $0
  • Reservation for Mount Evans and any of its recreation sites:
    • Three-day personal vehicle: $15
    • Three-day two-person motorcycle: $6
    • Three-day one-person motorcycle: $3
  • Reservations for Mount Evans, Mt. Goliath Nature Center, and summit of Mt. Evans Interpretive Area:
    • Three-day personal vehicle: $10
    • Three-day two-person motorcycle: $6
    • Three-day one-person motorcycle: $3
  • Reservations for vehicle at Summit Lake Park only:
    • One-day personal vehicle: $5

Brainard Lake

The Brainard Lake Recreation Area is the doorway to the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area near Ward. At the lake, visitors can hike, picnic and view wildlife.

Human remains found in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area
Brainard Lake Recreation Area

It is scheduled to open June 10, depending on weather. Reservations for Brainard Lake will become available on May 26 and can be made 15 days in advance. However, reservations for the upper parking lot won't be available until mid-June, with a tentative opening date of July 1. Reservations for overnight parking have been available since February.

Here is the cost breakdown:

  • Personal vehicle parking at Mitchell Lake Trailhead (day use):
    • Personal vehicle: $14
    • Motorcycle: $8
    • Multi-passenger van: $33
  • Long Lake trailhead parking (day use):
    • Personal vehicle: $14
    • Motorcycle: $8
    • Multi-passenger van: $33
  • Niwot Picnic Site and Trailhead (day use):
    • Personal vehicle: $14
    • Motorcycle: $8
    • Multi-passenger van: $33
  • Overnight parking at Niwot Picnic Site:
    • Personal vehicle: $14
    • Multi-passenger van: $33
  • Overnight parking at Brainard Lake:
    • Personal vehicle: $14
    • Multi-passenger van: $33
  • Brainard Lake Picnic Site and Trailhead (day use):
    • Personal vehicle: $14
    • Motorcycle: $8
    • Multi-passenger van: $33
    • Bus: $53
  • Red Rock Lake Picnic Site (day use):
    • Personal vehicle: $14
    • Motorcycle: $8
    • Multi-passenger van: $33
  • Mitchell Lake overnight parking:
    • Personal vehicle: $14
    • Multi-passenger van: $33
  • Overnight parking at Long Lake:
    • Personal vehicle: $14
    • Multi-passenger van: $33