Why did this Colorado 14er just get a new name?

A sign on Mount Evans shows the elevation with mountains in the background
Mount Evans has been stripped of its former title effective immediately (Image credit: Alex Walker)

Colorado 14er Mount Evans, a 14,270ft peak that towers over the front range has a new name: Mount Blue Sky.

The move follows years of conversations and negotiations between residents, Native Americans and local and state elected leaders and was decided by a formal 15 - 1 vote on Friday, held by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

Several names have been discussed, but in March, Governor Jared Polis requested that the board go with Mount Blue Sky as a result of two years of review by his Colorado Geographic Naming Advisory Board.

The mountain was originally named for John Evans, Colorado’s territorial governor from 1862 to 1865. Evans was forced out of office for the part he played in the 1864 massacre of more than 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho people that took place at Sand Creek.

Tribal leaders voiced their backing of the new name at several board meetings, however the Colorado Sun reports that this support was not unanimous, with descendants of Evans and the northern Cheyenne tribe of Montana among those in dissent, the latter voicing concerns that the term "blue sky" refers to a sacred ceremony that is not open to the public. The Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes applauded the name change. 

The vast majority of US peaks over 14,000ft are found in Colorado which clocks in with a whopping 53 14ers spread out over 12 different mountain ranges across the state. Learn more in our guide to hiking 14ers.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.