About an hour west of Denver, the Mount Evans State Wildlife Area is an easily accessible 3,438-acre destination for enjoying the outdoors in Clear Creek County, Colorado. The Mount Evans SWA lies on the eastern slopes of the 14,265 mountain of the same name.
It borders the Mount Evans Wilderness Area section of the Arapaho National Forest. Like all State Wildlife Areas, entrance to the Mount Evans SWA requires a valid state fishing, hunting, or public lands license for every visitor 18 years or older. Aside from this, there are no additional fees to use the area’s bathroom, picnic, parking, and camping facilities.
Activities in Mount Evans SWA
Although hiking and picnicking are popular in the Mount Evans SWA, land access is only permitted for hunting and fishing after Labor Day, until the end of rifle season. The gates typically open for vehicles on June 14th of each year.
Birding & Wildlife: As a protected state wildlife sanctuary, Mount Evans SWA is an important breeding ground for rocky mountain elks. Although it is only about nine miles from Evergreen, CO, the area’s dense forest is full of a variety of bird and animal species that seldom leave visitors without a wildlife interaction.
Within the SWA, bighorn sheep, black bears, deer, foxes, mountain lions, owls, nuthatches, sapsuckers, and finches, have all been spotted.
Camping: On the western border of the Mountain Evans SWA, the Camp Rock Campground offers a few free, primitive campsites with access to a vault toilet. The campground is operated by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and individuals are limited to camping five days in any 45 day period.
After Labor Day, hunters are permitted to camp for fourteen-day periods during big game hunting season.
Fishing: The Mount Evans SWA has ample opportunity for licensed anglers to fish in the area’s streams and wetlands. Most commonly, wild brook trout are caught in Bear Creek and the surrounding waters.
Hiking: Mount Evans State Wildlife Area is home to a myriad of hiking trails that extend into the neighboring Arapaho National Forest. Namely, hikers of all experience levels can enjoy the scenery along the Beaver Meadows, Lost Creek, Beartrack Lakes, or Captain Mountain trails.
Hunting: Until around mid-November, hunting is very popular in the Mount Evans SWA. Licensed hunters have their shot at both big game and small game, and the area is popular for elk, grouse, rabbit, and more.
Picnicking: When you enter the Mountain Evans SWA, there is a parking area with picnic tables and restrooms. This area is free to use, and there are additional picnic areas located along a short walking trail next to the shores of Bear Creek.
Address: 7824 Upper Bear Creek Rd, Evergreen, CO 80439
Season: June 15 – Labor Day (Restricted access after) | Access prohibited January 1 – June 14
Fees: Valid CO fishing, hunting, or public lands license required
Maps: Mount Evans SWA (PDF)