First, reserve a site for the weekend at the West Chicago Creek Campground (877-444-6777, reserveusa.com; toilets, no showers; each site $11 a night); sites 5, 7, and 9 have the most privacy and the best views. There are nonstop or direct (one stop) flights to Denver from Austin (American, Frontier, United, US Airways), DFW (American, Delta, Frontier, United, US Airways), El Paso (Frontier, United), Houston Bush Intercontinental (Continental, Frontier, United, US Airways), and San Antonio (United, US Airways). To get to the campground from Peña Blvd. (where all the airport’s car-rental agencies are located), go west on Peña to I-70, take I-70 west for about 45 miles, then take exit 240 at Idaho Springs and head south on Colorado Hwy. 103. After 6.5 miles, turn right on Chicago Creek Rd. West Chicago Creek Campground is at the end of the 3-mile road.
GEAR: You’ll need a two-person tent, a sleeping bag, a mattress pad, a flashlight, a camp stove, pots and pans, water bottles, a small backpack, rain gear (thunderstorms can hit at any time), and a set of warm clothes (you’re camping at nearly nine thousand feet, so the temperature can drop into the forties at night even in August, when you can expect daytime temps in the mid-eighties). Denver’s REI (303-756-3100) rents sleeping bags, tents, pads, and stoves, and it’s a convenient stop between the Denver airport and Mount Evans.
FOOD: Stock up at the Safeway in Idaho Springs, just ten miles from the campground.