CLEAR CREEK COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — Mount Evans highway is back open for the first time since the 2019 season and now two hour reservations are required to drive in.
FOX31’s Nicole Fierro spent the first weekend day at the mountain to see how the reservation system is working.
Five minutes into the first two hour reservation slot, Fierro found only one car in front of her.
Making her way up to the 14th tallest 14er during the 8 a.m. hour, the main traffic concern wasn’t cars, rather it was wildlife.
“I’m used to seeing the goats and other animals but I’ve never seen the marmots sitting on the road and they wouldn’t move,” visitor Kyle Monson said.
Marmots were not the only pleasant surprise on the mountain for fourth time Mount Evan’s visitor Monson.
“I thought it was going to be super crowded and hard to get a ticket just because Mount Evans is a really popular spot but there was a lot of tickets available and it was pretty easy,” Monson said.
“We booked last night and there was plenty of space this morning,” Leighanne Jenkins said.
Reservations got Jenkins in easily but she and her hiking partner decided to cut their hike short after coming across icy conditions on the way up to the peak.
“I’d rather come back two weeks later when we feel more comfortable with it,” Jenkins said.
As more snow melts, reservations may fill up quicker. However, during the first two days of the system officials say they didn’t see too many issues or backups.
“We’re going to monitor that and see how it goes and adjust as needed,” Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests’ Reid Armstrong said.
Around 11 a.m., John Terry from Tennessee joined a line of people at the bottom of the mountain, who were told they needed a reservation to get in.
Terry said the team in the booths told him and others to pull over and try to make one on their phones.
“I’ve had an account created since this morning before I lost cell service but I’ve been here 15 minutes and it keeps telling me to reset my password,” Terry said.
The U.S. Forest Service is requiring motorists to make reservations if they plan to drive on the highway, while hikers and cyclists are not required to make a reservation at this time.
Officials with the USFS estimated there were roughly 70 people in line to get in for the first 8 a.m. time slot on opening day.
Visitors can arrive early without a reservation, just as long as they’re out before the first time slot opens up at 8:00 a.m. People can also visit late in the day without a reservation, after 6:30 p.m.