(WINTER) HOLD ON! If you don't have much high-elevation, winter climbing experience, be careful in your planning and take a partner. Even the "easy" 14ers (Quandary, Sherman, Grays & Torreys) can be deadly in winter.
Take Exit 240 at Idaho Springs on Interstate 70. Drive south on Colorado 103 for 13.5 miles to Echo Lake. Pay the entrance fee and drive 9 miles up the Mt. Evans road (Colorado 5) to the Summit Lake parking area.
Taken from northeast of the trailhead, Photo #1 and Photo #2 show the general route. Leave the parking area (Photo #3) and walk back to the Mt. Evans road. Turn right and continue 0.6 mile up the road to the base of the Northeast Face, near 12,900' - Photo #4. On the right side of the road, look for a small, unmarked trail that starts up the center of the face - Photo #5.
You are approximately 1,350' below the summit. Follow the trail up the middle of the face - Photo #6. About half way up, near 13,500', the slope gets a bit steeper and the terrain more rocky - Photo #7. Photo #8 looks back on the lower portion. Continue up the rugged trail, weave through some rocks above 13,700' (Photo #9) and continue to the top of the face, near 14,000' - Photo #10. Cross the summit parking area (Photo #11), continue right to the tourist trail that leads to the summit and climb a bunch of switchbacks (Photo #12) to reach the top - Photo #13.
If you hike this route in late winter, there may be enough snow for a full descent to the road. In spring, it rarely has enough snow.
This is the easiest way to hike from Summit Lake to the summit. IMPORTANT: This route enters the Mount Evans Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the Wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.