If you ever need to claim that you have been ontop of a 14,000 foot peak, then Mt Evans is probably the easiest to way to accomplish this. It is a cheap feeling, but if there is a mountain by a major interstate you should not let such an opportunity pass you by. Or more realistically, you should not pass by such an opportunity at 75mph.
After you jog south of interstate 70, you start climbing up and up through pine and aspen. The road switches back and forth, and those who have trouble dealing with this should be sent to the front of the car.
Along the way, you'll first pass by Echo lake, which is pristine in the morning. After you enter the park, the road narrows in places as you go even higher. The temperature drops naturally, and you feel it immediately if you stop at Summit Lake first.
As you drive up the final switchbacks, you pass by mountain goats and big-horned sheep on the side of the road. Sometimes on the road. In the distance to the east you may even catch a glance of the sun shining off of the buildings in Denver.
After parking at the top and if you made a particularly rapid ascent, the altitude will finally hit you. And every breath of fresh air is precious. At least for those of us from the low country. The trail up to the summit is short. And on a clear day you can gaze around at the Rocky Mountains around you.
On this occasion, I was awed looking back down at Summit Lake and at how far up we had just driven. And then my eyes adjusted to the rocks at the top, and there they were. Cute little things. Marmots.
And like many a rushed travel experience, it was time to go back down. A long day on the interstate loomed ahead and I would be taking the next shift. Easy come, easy go. A fleeting moment in a road trip.