mount blue sky

Mount Blue Sky from Summit Lake: an Easy 14er

Mount Blue Sky is formerly known as Mount Evans and it is the easiest 14er in Colorado. In 2023, the name of the mountain changed, but this write-up remains the same for the easy hiking trail from Summit Lake to Mount Blue Sky 14,267 ft.

Important Closure Update for 2024-2026

Mount Blue Sky Highway will be closed from September 3, 2024, until Memorial Day weekend of 2026 which means you only have summer months in 2024 to hike this beginner-friendly Colorado 14er if you want to go in the next two years. Construction begins in late July/ early August 2024 so expect lane closures and traffic delays near Summit Lake.

HIKE TO: Mount Blue Sky (Mount Evans) 14,267 ft & Mount Spalding 13,848 ft
TRAIL: Mt Evans Trail/ West Ridge
TRAILHEAD: Summit Lake
MILES: 2.7 miles one way
TIME: 2:45 hr
DATE I WENT: 8/17/22
DIFFICULTY: easy-moderate
HIKE PERMIT: no, but timed entry reservations are currently required
LOCATION: Mount Blue Sky Wilderness Area, Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado
mount blue sky hike

Mt Blue Sky Permits

Advance reservations are required to enter Mount Blue Sky Recreation Area – get your Summit Lake Park ticket on

Timed entry reservations: 75% of the tickets will be available to book online 30 days out. The remaining 25% will be available to book online two days in advance and released at 8 am MT.

Shop My Gear List for this Easy 14er Hike

Hike Mount Blue Sky from Summit Lake

Why Hike a 14er and not drive

There are two 14ers in Colorado you can literally drive right up to: Mount Blue Sky and Pikes Peak. So why hike to Mount Blue Sky from Summit Lake instead of driving right up?

The quick answer: it’s a short, beautiful, easy hike, and you get to summit a 13er on the way. But really, if you’ve been enjoying the scenic drive thus far, it’ll be good to get out and stretch your legs with a nice little hike and enjoy some other views you won’t get from the drive-up summit.

What to expect: Mt Blue Sky from Summit Lake Hike Description

The trailhead elevation at Summit Lake is 12,850 ft so even though the hike to Mount Blue Sky summit is only 2.7 miles one-way with not much elevation gain, it can still be a slow-going hike if you’re coming from a low elevation. Honestly, the altitude kicked my butt a little right from the start.

From the parking lot, you’ll see the trail starting up on the West Ridge across from Summit Lake. The trailhead starts at the end of the parking lot, beyond the restrooms. Follow the obvious trail until you gain the ridge. Don’t let the term “ridge” scare you — it’s very wide and flat up there; it’s more like hiking on the top of a hill than a really exposed ridgeline.

The trail is not well marked with signs but look for cairns as there is a somewhat used trail there to follow. It helps to have a GPS track downloaded to follow and know a bit of route finding, but once you get to the ridge on the top of the hill, the trail is easy to follow.

Bonus 13er Peak: Summit Mount Spalding 13,848 ft on the way

There is a goat trail on the left side of the mountain but make sure you hike the proper trail on top of the ridge crest for an easier hike. The hike is entirely exposed above the tree line. Mount Spalding is 1.12 miles and 1,013 ft of elevation gain from the trailhead at Summit Lake. You can also choose to just hike this peak and head back if you don’t feel like continuing on, and then drive to the summit of Mt. Blue Sky.

From Mount Spalding, the trail drops downhill just a little bit before you enter the boulder field to the summit of Mount Blue Sky. There’s a used trail and cairns to guide the way along this class 1-2 section but be mindful of your surroundings – a boulder came down on a hiker’s hand who we passed on the trail.

You will know when you are on the summit of Mount Blue Sky – it’s the one with the crowds. You’ll see the observatory, road, and parking lot as you approach the few switchbacks leading to the summit.

Once you are done hiking, you can return the way you came or hitchhike down to your car. If you walk the road down, it’s about 5 miles and if you are lucky, you may see some mountain goats and sheep up there!

Pro Tip for Sightseeing Tourists:
If you are just driving up to Mount Blue Sky’s parking lot, go beyond just jumping out of the car and visiting the structures. Hike 5-10 minutes up the hill to the viewpoint — the views looking down at Summit Lake are breathtaking and you won’t regret it! Plus, then you get to stand on 14,267 ft instead of 14,130 ft 😉

hiker on mount blue sky summit looking at summit lake
Summit of Mount Blue Sky 14,267 ft looking down at Summit Lake and Parking Lot

Hiking the Colorado 14ers?
You may be interested in hiking Mt Bierstadt or climbing the Maroon Bells

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Thanks for reading – I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comment section below. & Please don’t forget to practice Leave No Trace.

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    6 thoughts on “Mount Blue Sky from Summit Lake: an Easy 14er”

    1. Thank you for sharing an informative article about Hiking and outdoor activities. love reading your post. As well, I am learning about outdoor activities

    2. I’m hoping for a trek in the snow in May. Not sure if this trail is open. I’m trying to find my 14 year old husky his final wishes. I’ve heard great things about this hike right in line with your description.

      1. It’s a beautiful hike and even if your husky can’t make it, your husky will enjoy the area. The Mt Blue Sky Recreational Area is tentatively opening May 31 this year so you’ll likely have to park and walk up the road. Just a reminder that dogs have to be on leash in this area 🙂

    3. Thank you for this article. Is there a book at the top to sign like the one I’ve seen at Mt Beirdstadt? I want to dedicate the hike to someone and write in the book. Thanks.

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