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Performance evaluation for routing protocols is still an unexplored field in cognitive radio networks (CRNET) and faces great challenges. In this paper, we propose a rough set approach to comprehensive performance evaluation of routing protocols in CRNET. We further present a multi-layer evaluation index system based on an analytic hierarchy process for CRNET routing protocols. In the proposed approach, rough set theory is applied to explore the evaluation index data of routing protocols. In addition, the concept of information entropy is introduced to determine the weighting coefficients of evaluation indexes and the subjectivity that influences the determination of weighting coefficients is effectively reduced. Experimental results show that the proposed approach is feasible and effective.