Timed-entry reservation systems will be implemented soon for access to Brainard Lake and the road to the summit of Mount Evans, two of the Front Range’s most scenic recreation destinations.
Officials of the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests who manage those destinations are still working out final details, but the decision to require passes in advance of visiting has already been made. Plans are to have the systems in place when the two areas open in early June, weather permitting. Reservations will only be available in advance through Recreation.gov.
“We’re expecting passes to be available for purchase beginning in late May,” said Katherine Armstrong, public affairs specialist for the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests. “We will have another announcement just before they go live.”
Brainard Lake is scheduled to open on June 4 and Mount Evans on June 11, although both dates are weather-dependent. The Mount Evans pass applies to the road from Echo Lake to the summit, a popular drive just 60 miles from Denver.
Last year, Brainard Lake was restricted to 80% of its parking capacity and Mount Evans was closed to vehicular traffic due to the pandemic, although cyclists were allowed to ride the road from Echo Lake to the summit of Evans. While COVID-19 remains a consideration, the measures coming this summer are also intended to better manage huge growth in visitation numbers that took place across both forests in recent years and exploded last summer.