Elk Meadows Park

View from Bergen Peak, near Evergreen Colorado.

Overview

Elk Meadows Park is simply a fantastic park to spend the day at. There are plenty of picnic areas available with grills to make for a great outing. The restroom facilities are clean and odor free, and while this park is busy there is usually adequate parking available. There are a few difficult trails that offer more than just a great workout, so don’t even think of leaving the camera in the car. I love that there are plenty of long trails to allow you to hike for hours on end. The layout of the park lends itself to the creation on many different loop combinations, and one could feasibly spend several days making excellent connections on several trails in the park.

13.4 Miles of Trails

Park Details:

  • Hiking permitted
  • Mountain Biking
  • Centaurs Equestrian
  • Picnicking
  • Restrooms available
  • Likely to see Deer, Elk and Red-tailed Hawks
  • Views of the Continental Divide
  • No camping allowed in the park
  • Park hours are one hour before sunrise until one hour past sunset
  • Non potable water available at Stagecoach parking area
  • No Entrance fees

Emergency contacts:

Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office @ (303) 569-3232

Jefferson County Sheriff’s office @ (303) 277-0211

Area CPW Office: Denver (303) 291-7227

If the event is life threatening dial 911

Quick Reference Map:

A static copy of the map can be downloaded to your phone from Jefferson County Parks.

As always a copy of the GPX files is available for your use.

Bergen Peak Trail

Rocky portion of the Bergen Peak Trail in Elk Meadows Park
Elk Meadows Park
Difficulty Rank8 (Hard)
Views Rank10
Distance Rank4.0 Miles
Time NeededAbout 2 Hours 5 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Meadow View Trail, and Too Long Trail
  • Sharp elevation changes
  • Mostly forested
  • Closest parking area: Stagecoach lot

Trailhead directions: S-Meadow View | C-Meadow View | L-Bergen Peak Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Views of Evergreen
  • Fantastic Mountain Views
  • OneSunChasers favorite trail in this park

Review:

The views from the top of Mount Bergen are amazing in almost every direction. This is certainly my favorite trail in the park and if you only have time for one long trail make this the one. The trail is steep in places and a decent trek at 4 miles each way. When you add in the 1 mile stretch to get to the trailhead you have yourself a good day’s hike at 9 miles.

I personally like to hike in on Bergen Peak Trail, peruse the summit and take Too Long Trail back down to meadows which is about 10.3 miles, but it makes for a great day hike. Note that this trail can be snow packed for quite some time after snow fall, so even close to the end of spring you may be hiking in slushy muck.

Elk Ridge Trail

Difficulty Rank6 (Moderate)
Views Rank7
Distance Rank0.5 Miles
Time NeededAbout 11 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Meadow View Trail, and Sleep S Trail
  • Slightly more than moderate elevation change
  • Light tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Lewis ridge lot

Trailhead directions: S-Sleep S Trail | R-Elk Ridge Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Good Views of the Meadow below
  • Decent work out

Review:

Elk Ridge Trail is a short trail with a healthy incline to get your blood pumping. The trail is not incredibly steep, but will definitely give you a good workout. There are several great places to stop take in the beauty and snap a few memorable photos on the way. This trail along with Sleepy S will allow you to make some great shorter loop trails in the park.

Founders Trail

Difficulty Rank4 (Easy)
Views Rank6
Distance Rank0.6 Miles
Time NeededAbout 10 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Meadows Trail and Painters pause Trail
  • Mild elevation change
  • No tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Lewis Ridge lot

Trailhead directions: S-Painters Pause Trail | L-Founders

Trail Highlights:

  • Views of Meadows
  • Views of old farm building

Review:

No matter the direction of travel on the Founders trail you will have something good to look at. If you are heading down from too long trail you will have the meadow and an old farm building within your line of sight. If you are heading up into the hills for some relief from the sun you will have the face of Mount Bergen to reveal upon.

Meadow View Trail

Difficulty Rank5 (Moderate)
Views Rank5
Distance Rank2.2 Miles
Time NeededAbout 47 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Sleepy S Trail Elk Ridge Trail, and Bergen Peak Trail
  • Light and sometimes moderate elevation change
  • Good tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Stagecoach lot

Trailhead directions: Starts from the parking lot

Trail Highlights:

  • Meadow views

Review:

Spanning from the South side of the park almost the entire distance to the north, and having many connections this trail serves as the backbone of the park. The views pale in comparison to some of the other trails in the park, however, there are many great picture opportunities to be had while you are traversing this trail. Most of the trail runs through the woods with stents out in the open.

Noble Meadow Trail

Old farm building in a meadow at Elk Meadows Park in Evergreen, Colorado.
Mountain Meadows
Difficulty Rank3 (Easy)
Views Rank5
Distance Rank1 Miles
Time NeededAbout 19 Minutes

Details :

  • Connecting trails: Painters Pause and Meadows Trails
  • Gradual elevation changes
  • No tree cover
  • Closest parking area: There is a parking lot at Bucharan Park Recreation Center

Trailhead directions: Starts from the parking lot

Trail Highlights:

  • Meadow Views
  • Views of old farm buildings

Review:

Nice easy short trail in the northern corner of the park with gradual elevation changes. There is an old farm building near the middle of the trail, before you loop back around to Painters Pause a little ways down a beautiful valley definitely a picture perfect scene aside from the houses on the north side of the valley.

Note: The Elk Meadows Park Map and the Boulder/Golden 100 maps are not very accurate for the northern part of the park. Noble meadows trail swings out to meet Meadow View trail which is not depicted on the Elk Meadows maps at the park. The Boulder/Golden 100 map shows Pioneer Trail on the wrong side of Highway 74, and makes no mention of Noble Meadow and does not show Painters Pause trail extending all the way to where it crosses under Highway 74. Note that Painters Pause and Noble Meadow trail can form a loop around the small hill in the north of the park.

Painters Pause Trail

Difficulty Rank3 (Easy)
Views Rank6
Distance Rank1.9 Miles
Time NeededAbout 40 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Founders Trail, Meadow View Trail and Sleepy “S” Trails
  • Gradual elevation changes
  • No tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Lewis Ridge lot

Trailhead directions: Starts from the lot

Trail Highlights:

  • Meadow Views
  • Views of old farm buildings

Review:

Nice easy trail with slight and gradual elevation changes. There is an old farm building near the middle of the trail, just off the highway. The trail is wide raised in several spots to keep the springs in the meadow from turning the trail into a mud pit. The trail is a great place to run or ride, but bear in mind that there is constant noise from the highway which is never more than a couple hundred yards away. There is no tree cover on this trail so if you are prone to burns from the sun protection is a must.

Note: The Elk Meadows Park Map and the Boulder/Golden 100 maps are not very accurate for the northern part of the park. Noble meadows trail swings out to meet Meadow View trail which is not depicted on the Elk Meadows maps. The Boulder/Golden 100 map shows Pioneer Trail on the wrong side of Highway 74, and makes no mention of Noble Meadow and does not show Painters Pause trail extending all the way to where it crosses under Highway 74. Note that Painters Pause and Noble Meadow trail can form a loop around the small hill in the north of the park.

Sleepy S Trail

Difficulty Rank5 (Moderate)
Views Rank3
Distance Rank1.2 Miles
Time NeededAbout 26 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Meadow View Trail, Painters Pause Trail, and Elk Ridge Trail
  • Gradual elevation changes
  • Light tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Lewis Ridge lot

Trailhead directions: S-Painters Pause | L-Sleepy S Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Meadow views
  • Easy access from 2 parking lots

Review:

With nearly as much tree cover as exposed areas on this trail sun and wind exposure is not as big of a concern as it is in other areas of the park. The trail is short and if taken with the Meadows View trail can offer a great loop hike that keeps the distance down for those that are running short on time.

Too Long Trail

Difficulty Rank8 (Hard)
Views Rank8
Distance Rank 2.4 Miles
Time NeededAbout 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Bergen Peak Trail, and Meadow View Trail
  • Sharp elevation changes
  • Mostly forested
  • Closest parking area: Lewis Ridge lot

Trailhead directions: S-Painters Pause | L-Founders | L-Meadow View | R-Too Long Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Great views
  • Good workout

Review:

Snaking down the North side of Mount Bergen, the too long trail is an excellent way to make a loop back to the south lot if you take Bergen Peak Trail to the top. The views are a little better than the Bergen Peak Trail on the way up, save for the actual peak which boasts the best views in the house… err park. Expect a steep trail with very heavy tree cover for most of the trail with lots of switchbacks. The views of the meadow stretched out before the park is best taken in from this trail so keep the camera handy and enjoy the ride.

All the information listed in this post is also available in an E-book which can be purchased from Amazon. Please consider purchasing a copy, or one of the other outdoor guides we have available!

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