Mount Evans Hill Climb gets a new name — but the ride won’t return in 2025

The 62-year-old endurance event leads cyclists up the sides of 14,265-foot Mount Blue Sky

john meyer

Since 1962, the Mount Evans Hill Climb ranked as one of Colorado’s highest and most iconic endurance events. Leather-lunged cyclists pedaled 27 miles from Idaho Springs to a finish line atop one of Colorado’s most majestic fourteeners, climbing more than 6,700 feet.

The 14,265-foot peak, which had been named for 1860s-era territorial governor John Evans, was renamed last year, though, because of Evans’ involvement in the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864. As a result, the event is now called the Blue Sky Hill Climb.

On race day, the road to the summit — the highest paved road in North America and third-highest peak in the Front Range — is closed to motorists. Registration for this year’s installment, scheduled for July 20, opens Wednesday at 8 a.m.

But ride organizers let cyclists know that the event won’t return in 2025 because of a road construction project, and they concede there are no guarantees it will return in 2026.

Jen Barbour, executive director of Team Evergreen Cycling, vows club members will do “everything in our power” to bring it back, but putting on the event requires cooperation from the Colorado Department of Transportation, Denver Mountain Parks, and the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests.

“It’s so incredible to ride up there without any cars, and be at such a high altitude,” Barbour said. “It’s unlike anything else, so we would not pull the event for any reason other than someone telling us we couldn’t do it. But it’s a strain on CDOT, the forest service and Denver Parks, just to give us that opportunity to close that road for one day of the year.”

In recent years, CDOT and the forest service have required reservations for motorists to drive the road, which typically is open only from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“You can never tell if a permitting agency is going to say, ‘This is too much, we can’t do this,’” Barbour said. “We close that road in the middle of July when everybody wants to go up there. So, with the closure of 2025, in the back of my head I worry that our permitting agencies might say, ‘We’ve got too many people who want to use this road, we cannot close it (for) cyclists.’”

john meyer

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