Summit Lake Park

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Summit Lake Park
2006-07-16 Summit Lake Park Colorado.jpg
Summit Lake Park
LocationClear Creek County, Colorado, USA
Nearest cityIdaho Springs, CO
Coordinates39°35′55″N 105°38′39″W / 39.59861°N 105.64417°W / 39.59861; -105.64417Coordinates: 39°35′55″N 105°38′39″W / 39.59861°N 105.64417°W / 39.59861; -105.64417
ArchitectBenedict, Jules Jacques Benoit; CCC
MPSDenver Mountain Parks MPS
NRHP reference No.95000110 [1]
DesignatedApril 1965
CSRHP No.5CC.645
Added to NRHPFebruary 24, 1995

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[edit]

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[edit]


  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. ^ a b 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.

External links[edit]