Summit Lake Park

Summit Lake Park is a park located along Mount Evans Scenic Byway about 64 miles (100 km) west of Denver, Colorado. The park is 160 acres (0.65 km²) in size and contains alpine tundra. Land to the east of the lake is in a state of permafrost which helps to prevent drainage of the area.[2] During the summer, the park is filled with wildflowers, some of which have not been found anywhere else outside of the Arctic Circle.[3] The park is named after Summit Lake, the headwaters of Bear Creek.

Summit Lake Park
Summit Lake Park
LocationClear Creek County, Colorado, USA
Nearest cityIdaho Springs, CO
Coordinates39°35′55″N 105°38′39″W
ArchitectBenedict, Jules Jacques Benoit; CCC
MPSDenver Mountain Parks MPS
NRHP reference #95000110 [1]
DesignatedApril 1965
CSRHP #5CC.645
Added to NRHPFebruary 24, 1995

Summit Lake

Summit Lake is a tarn which sits at 12,836 feet (3,912 m) altitude in a glacial cirque on the north face of Mount Evans and the east face of Mount Spalding. To the north, there is a col (12,855 feet/3918 m altitude) looking down into the chain of two cirques holding the Chicago Lakes at the headwaters of Chicago Creek.[4] By one count that includes several unnamed lakes, Summit Lake is the 13th highest lake in the United States.[5] In 1915, the USGS reported that Summit Lake was the highest lake in Colorado, at 12,740 feet.[6] Later secondary sources occasionally report it as the highest lake in the United States.[7]

The land was acquired by Denver in 1924 and incorporated into the Denver Mountain Parks system.[3] It was declared a National Natural Landmark in April, 1965.[8]

See also


  1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 15, 2006.
  2. "Driving and Watching for Alpine Wildlife - On Mount Evans". June 14, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-22.
  3. The City and County of Denver. "Denver Mountain Parks - Summit Lake Park". Retrieved 2011-10-30.
  4. Summit Lake on The National Map Viewer Archived 2008-06-02 at the Wayback Machine from the USGS.
  5. Carl Drews, The Highest Lake in the United States of America, 2004.
  6. R. B. Marshall, Appendix B, Secondary Elevations, Results of Spirit Leveling in Colorado, 1896 to 1914, Inclusive, Bulletin 565, United States Geological Survey, Government Printing Office, 1915; page 186.
  7. Michael Martin and Leonard Gelber, Colorado,Dictionary of American History, Philosophical Library, 1978; page 132.
  8. "National Natural Landmark summary". National Park Service. February 5, 2004. Retrieved 2009-05-10.
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