Apex Park

Overview

A mountain biker’s mecca, Apex park has some very popular trails that won’t take you hours to reach. The park is located right outside of Golden near the Heritage Square parking lot. The restroom facilities are top notch and there is ample parking at the Colfax area lot along with extended spaced for those taking their Centaur friends out for a nice day on the trail. While we are on the topic of mystical creatures it’s important to note that you should feel free to bring your dog to the park but please do remember that the “Chocolate Fairy” leaves lots of bags in the area and no one wants to confuse your best friends dinner remnants with a glorious bag of free chocolate. The northern section of the park houses a protected area for butterflies and during the spring and summer you can gather some stunning pictures of butterflies doing butterfly type things. The tree cover in the park is sporadic so high exposure is likely on the trails within this park, plan accordingly and wear something to protect you from the sun.

Road Tolls in Apex Park
Road Tolls in Apex Park

9.6 miles of trails

Park Details

  • Hiking on all trails
  • Mountain biking on all trails (There are specific directions of travel on a few trails for Mountain bikers  on odd numbered days. Make sure you follow the signs.)
  • Centaurs Equestrians
  • There is a protected butterfly area along the Grubstake trail
  • Clean odor free restrooms
  • Dogs allowed but must be leashed
  • Ample parking
  • Park open 1 hour before and after sunset
  • Drinking or drug use in the park is prohibited
  • Weapons are not allowed
  • No overnight camping
  • Trails are well marked
  • No entrance fees

Emergency contacts:

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

If the event is life threatening dial 911

Quick Reference Map

Downloadable map of the area can be found at Jefferson County Parks Free GPX files can also assist in planning your next hiking trip.

Argos Trail

Rocky path looking at Green Mountain
Rocky path looking at Green Mountain
Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)6
Distance0.6 miles
Time Needed12 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Pick N Sledge, and Apex trail
  • Mountain bikers must follow specific directions of travel on certain days. Signs on the trail will indicate what you need to do.

Trailhead: S – Apex Trail | R – Argos

Trail Highlights:

  • Views of Denver
  • Views of Golden
Green Mountain from Apex Park
Green Mountain from Apex Park

Review:

When you start off in Apex park you are quickly presented with a couple hiking options, following the Apex trail which runs the length of the park, or taking the Argos trail for the first portion of the park. If you are looking to hike the park’s northern trails and looking for less tree cover and views of the Denver and Golden area, Argos will be a more efficient route than taking Apex to Pick n sledge, and up to the trails in the northern section of the park. The trail is moderately steep and nearly entirely exposed on the west side of the mountain. The trail is well marked and easy to follow with only a couple switchbacks.

Apex Trail

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)6
Distance2.6 miles
Time Needed1 hour

Details:

  • Connects with Argos, Pick N Sledge, Hardscrabble, and Enchanted Forest trails.
  • Mountain bikers must follow specific directions of travel in sections of this trail. Signs on the trail will indicate what you need to do.
  • Most of the hikes in the Apex park connect to this trail.

Trailhead: Starts at the parking lot

Trail Highlights:

  • Runs along Lena Gulch
  • Treed valley with a lot of natural beauty
Apex Trail
Apex Trail

Review:

This trail is moderate with a fair amount of elevation gain in places, but with enough flat hiking to not wear you out too much. Lena Gulch runs the length of the trail offering you ample opportunity to view wildlife partaking in the life giving waters that flow down the valley. Certain times of year will also offer a spectacular display of both wildflower and cactus in bloom. When hiking this trail keep in mind that it is very popular even on the weekdays, due to it being an absolutely beautiful hike and also being very close to Denver. I highly suggest you follow the trail to the end and take the Enchanted forest trail back to its junction with the Apex trail near the halfway point. All of the trails in this park are well marked and you should have no problems with navigation.

Apex Spur Trail

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)4 (Easy)
Views Rank (1 – 10)5
Distance0.2 Miles
Time Needed5 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting Trails: Apex Trail
  • Short trail that can be used to connect with the Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve

Trailhead: S – Lookout Mountain Road. or S – Apex trail | R – Apex Spur Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Views of the valley
  • Ability to connect with different parks

Review:

This ohh so short spur trail runs from the junction of Apex trail and Enchanted Forest trail up to Lookout Mountain road, where just a short saunter down Lookout Mountain Road and a left onto Colorow Road will let you jump on the Lookout Mountain Trail. From there you can connect with the trails in the Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve. For those that have to ask YES it is entirely necessary to saunter the entire way to the Nature Preserve. Remember this is a mystical area and I cannot be held responsible for those that deviate from the required gait.

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest trail
Enchanted Forest trail
Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)8
Distance1.4 miles
Time Needed30 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Apex and Hardscrabble trails.
  • Mountain bikers must follow specific directions of travel on this entire trail. Signs on the trail will indicate what you need to do.
  • Connects to the Apex trail in two places to form a loop trail.

Trailhead: S – Apex | L – Enchanted Forest

Trail Highlights:

  • Thick beautiful forest
  • Lena Gulch
Tangled roots on trail
Tangled roots on trail

Review:

This trail is very appropriately named, as soon as you start to see the signs you will feel as though you are being transported into another world. There is plenty to see and lots of small forest creatures enjoying the shade and protection of the forest. While there are some rather steep inclines in portions of this trail over all it is not too strenuous, and I have seen many a wee human frollicking under the shady cannopy of the forest. There are a couple of creek crossings that are mild and should be crossable without getting wet.

Hardscrabble

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)5
Distance0.3 miles
Time Needed7 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects to Sluicebox and Apex trail.
  • Little tree cover

Trailhead: S – Apex | R – Hardscrabble

Trail Highlights:

  • Great aerial views of the valley

Review:

Given the name one would anticipate a real struggle on this trail, but the elevation gain is moderate and not to technical at any given point. The modest tree cover along this trail creates several great spots worthy of a rest and gander upon the valley below, but the trail is in my opinion less difficult than most of the other trails that make up the northern section of the park.

Sluicebox

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)7 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)6
Distance0.7 miles
Time Needed14 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects to Hardscrabble, Pick N Sledge Bonanza, and Grubstake trails.
  • Technical if you are mountain biking
  • Steep
  • Little tree cover

Trailhead: S – Apex | R – Sluicebox

Trail Highlights:

  • Technical rocks for mountain biking
  • Fairly steep

Review:

Several switchbacks make up the core of this trail snaking up the side of the mountain. The elevation change is strong and the tree cover weak, so if it’s a hot day you will be getting your sweat on. The trail is more technical than some of the other trails in the park, but if you are hiking there is nothing too demanding about the trail aside from the elevation gains.

Pick N Sledge

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)7 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)6
Distance1.6 miles
Time Needed36 Minutes

Details:

  • Connects with Argo, Grubstake, and Sluicebox trails

Trailhead: S – Apex | R – Pick N Sledge

Trail Highlights:

  • Views of the remains of Heritage Square

Review:

Some technical sections with a good variety of hill climbs and flats make this a great trail for both hiking and biking. There is a fair amount of tree cover once you near the top of the mountain, but most of the trail is exposed so a hat or sunscreen is a good idea if you are taking this trail.

Grubstake

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)6
Distance1.0 miles
Time Needed32 Minutes

Details:

Connects with Sluicebox, Pick N Sledge, and Bonanza trails

Trail Highlights:

  • Forested on the north west portion of the trail

Review:

Grubsteak is a great trail if you are looking to make a loop trail with some elevation gains. Fortunately this trail has some tree cover towards the middle of the hike, which gives some relief from the sun on those warm summer days. There is a healthy population of Ebert squirrels in the area messing about, and the forest is beautiful at the top of the mountain where this trail runs. The forest is very similar to the Enchanted Forest Trail, but not quite as dense or steep.

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Flying J Ranch Park

Overview

Flying J Ranch park is so close to Denver and so far away from it all. The Park is an excellent place to take the family for a peaceful outing into nature. The main trail Shadow Pine loop is an easy trail that leads you through a dense lodge pole pine forest and back to a beautiful wetlands area. If you are not looking to do the whole 3 miles of the trail there is a service road that intersects the trail so you can cut a considerable portion of the distance of the trail off. The picnic areas are very clean and many are handicap accessible. Plenty of parking is available and an opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife exists within the park.

4.7 Miles of Trails

Park Details:

  • Dogs are allowed on a leash
  • Hikers on all trails
  • Mountain Bikers on all trails
  • Centaurs Equestrians on all trails
  • There are clean very nice restrooms near the picnic area that emit zero odors. (Flush toilets)
  • Picnic areas are handicap accessible
  • All of the trails are well marked and easy to follow.
  • No camping allowed in the park
  • Park hours are one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset
  • No hunting or firearms allowed
  • There are ample picnic areas
  • No Entrance fees

Emergency contacts:

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

If the event is life threatening dial: 911

Quick Reference Map

Static versions of the park map can be downloaded to your phone from Flying J Ranch Park.

You are also free to use our free GPX files to help plan your trip.

Shadow Pine Loop

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)3 (Easy)
Views Rank (1 – 10)4
Distance2.9 miles
Time NeededAbout 1 Hour

Details:

  • Connecting trail: Junction House trail
  • Gradual elevation changes
  • Part of the trail enters into Denver Mountain parks area.
  • Slight elevation changes
  • Mostly forest hiking
  • Closest parking area: Flying J Ranch parking area

Trailhead directions: Trail starts at the parking lot

Trail Highlights:

  • Thick lodge pole pine forest
  • Great meadow views
  • Great wetland views

Review:

Shadow Pine loop is an easy trail with a lot of great natural views along the way. Whether it’s hiking past the beautiful meadows or through the closely packed lodge pole pines there’s something special throughout the entire trail.  Near the middle of the trail there is a small wetlands area with a wooden pathway that makes for an ideal spot to rest on a bench and listen to the birds sing. This path is quite popular with the locals and you may see bear or elk depending on the time of year that you are visiting the park. If you need to head back sooner than anticipated there is a service road that can be taken at the halfway point back to the parking area.

Junction House Trail

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)3 (Easy)
Views Rank (1 – 10)4
Distance0.6 miles
Time NeededAbout 15 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail: Shadow Pine Loop trail
  • Small parking area that located outside and to the south of the main park entrance
  • Little elevation change
  • Most of the trail is exposed
  • Closest parking area: Flying J Ranch parking area

Trailhead directions: Trail starts at the parking lot and leads to a parking area outside the park.

Trail Highlights:

  • Meadow trail
  • OneSunChasers favorite trail in this park

Review:

This is used mainly as an access trail to get to the Shadow Pine Loop trail in the park itself. This trail starts at a little parking area just outside the park, which is excellent if the parking lot is full. The trail allows you to slow down and watch the traffic pass by at a safe distance and hike alongside Turkey Creek for a short while before swinging west to join Shadow Pine loop.

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!

Front Range Hikes

Looking for Free Colorado Camping?

Dedisse Park

Dedisse Park Overview

A part of Denver Mountain Parks system, Dedisse Park is nearly 30 miles west of Denver a little west of Evergreen, The Park offers several shelters that you can reserve for picnics by contacting the Denver Parks and Recreation permits office. There are a lot of little trails that meet up with the Dedisse trail within the park. Good tree cover makes for lots of shady spots to kick back and relax in the mountains; the hard part will be picking the bench you want to take in the views from.

3.6 Miles of Trails

Dedisse Park Details:

  • Dogs are allowed but must be leashed.
  • Hikers allowed
  • Mountain Bikers Allowed
  • Centaurs Equestrians
  • Climbing
  • No camping allowed in the parks
  • Park entrance is one hour before sunrise
  • Park closure is one hour after sunset
  • No hunting or firearms allowed
  • No Entrance fees

Emergency contacts:

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

If the event is life threatening dial 911

Evergreen Parks and Recreation @ (720) 880-1021 (7AM-7PM)

Denver Parks & Recreation Permit Office @ (720) 913-0700

Quick Reference Park Map

Dedisse Trail

Difficulty Rank6 (Moderate)
Views Rank6
Distance Rank2.3 Miles
Time NeededAbout 1 Hour

Dedisse Trail Details:

  • Connecting trails: Evergreen Lake Trail and Hidden Fawn Trail
  • Within Dedisse park parts of the trail are not marked well and there are many small paths
  • Good picnic shelters along the trail in Dedisse Park
  • Decent elevation change
  • Partially treed
  • Closest parking area: Lower lot off of Highway 74 as you enter the park

Trailhead directions: Right off of the road in several places.

Dedisse Trail Highlights:

  • Views of Evergreen Lake
  • Views of Upper Bear Creek
  • Creek Crossings via bridges
  • OneSunChasers favorite trail in this park

Dedisse Trail Review:

This is my second favorite of the Denver Mountain Parks hike within this guide. There is a good amount of elevation change and a lot of switchbacks to take you down or up depending on your direction of travel, so the trek is not too steep anywhere along the path. The trail is fairly well marked aside from all the little trails near Upper Bear Creek and on the north side of Upper Bear Creek Road. Along the way there are great views of the valley Evergreen High school sits in as well as views of Evergreen Lake and the golf course. There is a fair amount of tree cover, but there is also a long stretch where you will be exposed to the elements so dress appropriate for the weather and wear something to protect you from the sun.

Evergreen Lake Trail

View of Evergreen Lake
View of Evergreen Lake
Difficulty Rank2 (Easy)
Views Rank5
Distance Rank1.3 Miles
Time NeededAbout 25 Minutes

Evergreen Lake Trail Details:

  • Connecting trail: Dedisse Trail
  • Slight elevation change
  • Very little tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Evergreen lake parking lot

Trailhead directions: Start by boat ramp either R or L

Evergreen Lake Trail Highlights:

  • Lake views
  • Mountain Views
  • Close to great places to eat in Evergreen

Evergreen Lake Trail Review:

Evergreen lake trail circumnavigates the entirety of Evergreen Lake, and while this is more of a walk than a hike, I feel that the connection the trail makes to Alderfer/Three Sisters Park warrants its inclusion in the guide. The south side of the path is quite, while the northern side skirts Highway 74 and can be a bit on the loud side. Near the east side where Evergreen Lake flows back into bear creek again there is a great little place to hang out and explore. The western side of the path is a beautiful wetlands area that is teeming with birds in spring and summer.

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!

Bergen Peak State Wildlife Area

Hiking in Evergreen Colorado

This is one of my favorite places to go hiking in Evergreen, Colorado. This fantastic loop hike offers a good workout and a chance to get away from crowds along with a good chance to see some wildlife, all while being close to Denver. For this reason you should be aware on the trail and keep a look out. Because it is less traveled than nearby Elk Meadows Park and it’s highly likely that you will run across animals so make noise as your hiking so as to avoid sneaking up on the wildlife.Lastly the Boulder/Golden 100 Map indicates this is a 2.8 mile hike, other sources on the internet say everything from 2.8 to 4.5. However, my Garmin GPS came out with a total distance of 3.5 miles.

Bergen Peak State Wildlife Area Details:

  • Hiking
  • No Mountain Biking in Bergen Peak Tract area
  • Centaurs errr…. Equestrian
  • Picnicking
  • Restrooms are not available
  • Likely to see Deer, Elk and Red-tailed Hawks
  • Views of the Continental Divide
  • No camping allowed in the park
  • Park entrance is one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset
  • 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:

There is no park map for this area, fortunately the Boulder/Golden #100 Map is very useful for finding great hiking in Evergreen, Colorado. Yet another option is to use these free GXP files with a GPS or GPS application on your phone. 

Bergen State Park Wildlife Area Loop

Difficulty Rank9 (Hard)
Views Rank8
Distance Rank3.5 Miles
Time NeededAbout 2 Hours 15 Minute

Bergen Peak Loop Details:

  • No other trail connections
  • Steep elevation change in places
  • Partially treed
  • Closest parking area: Across the street from the park entrance
  • Trailhead directions: Directly across the street from the parking area


BERGEN PEAK LOOP Trail Highlights:

  • Sprawling views of several prominent mountains in the area
  • Abundant Wildlife

BERGEN PEAK LOOP Review:

Starting the trail can be a bit tricky as the only notation of the trail is a small sign and small break in the barbed wire fencing on the right hand side of the road, which can be difficult to spot in summer. The parking area consists of a small pull off on the left hand side of the road with enough space for about 5 cars. 

Dead tree at the first clearing on the Bergen peak loop
Bergen Peak Loop

The hike starts off with a quick rise through the trees, then veers right to a small plateau and a meadow. Next you have the option to head east on a slightly worn narrow path or continue up the hillside. Continuing left you will climb a bit more before the trail levels off some allowing you to catch your breath. Near the halfway point shortly after the trail levels off, among the lodge pole pines and Juniper bushes is a small rock cairn to the right of the trail. The cairn marks a very faint trail meandering south bound to a rock cliff with excellent photo opportunities.

Back on the trail within half mile you come to the fork of the trail that heads back down the hill to finish the loop out. There is a large pine tree directly before the trail turns right down the hill.

Turning point on the Bergen peak loop Trail this is one of the best places to go hiking in Evergreen Colorado.
Bergen Peak Loop

Note: The main trail you follow to this point is quite wide, because of this the turnoff is easy to miss as it is far narrower and looks to be less traveled. If you come to a small creek crossing followed by a meadow running up the south face of mount Bergen you have missed the loop turn. While there are some faint deer trails that lead up the side of the mountain the trails soon die off, but they are fun to explore. The path down becomes harder to follow as it fades away  in the grass before becoming more prominent again. Finally once you near the bottom of the descent the trail narrow while skirting private property that runs along stagecoach Boulevard. The loop ends again in the first meadow clearing.

More Evergreen Colorado Hiking

Check out some of our other posts for great hiking in Evergreen Colorado, like Alderfer/Three Sisters Park. All the information listed in this post is also available in an E-book which can be purchased from Amazon. We also produce guides filled with free camping in many states. All sales assist in the creation of new content!

Arapaho National Forest

Arapaho National Forest Overview

It’s hard to beat national forest land for a lot of reasons. These areas are often brimming with natural beauty and offer the opportunity to camp, sometime for free and sometimes for a small fee. You should check the regulations in the area you are interested in. Hiking trails tend to not be marked as well as in county parks, however, that is not always true. There are only a few hikes within the Arapaho National Forest that are covered in this post. Another great spot to check out is Beaver Brook Watershed, which is also part of Arapaho National Forest, but covered in a separate post. The first section is the Maxwell falls area and the next is the Cub Creek area that leads into the Mount Evans wilderness area and connects with several other trails leading farther back into the wilderness.

Only the areas on National Geographic map 100 are covered in this post

8.4 miles of trails (In this section of the park)

Arapahoe National Forest Details

  • Hiking is allowed
  • Dogs are allowed but must be on a leash
  • Picnicking
  • Free Camping is allowed in places
  • Centaurs errr…. Equestrians
  • Hunting in places and during certain seasons
  • No entrance fees for areas listed in this guide

Emergency contacts:

Forest Supervisor’s Office @ (970) 295-6600

Boulder Ranger District @ (303) 541-2500

Canyon Lakes Ranger District @ (970) 295-6700 and (970) 295-6710

Clear Creek Ranger District @ (303) 567-4382

Pawnee National Grasslands @ (970) 834-9270

Sulphur Ranger District @ (970) 877-4100

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

If the event is life threatening dial 911

Quick Reference Map

Sorry there are no park maps for this area, I recommend either the Boulder/Golden # 100 Map, or use the GPX files on a phone or GPS for navigation.

Cub Creek Trail

Difficulty Rank7 (Moderate)
Views Rank4
Distance Rank4.8 Miles
Time NeededAbout 2 Hours

Cub Creek Trail Details:

  • Connecting Trails: Unfortunately there are no connecting trails until you reach Mount Evans Wilderness area (Not covered in this post)
  • Strong elevation gain/loss
  • Mostly forested
  • Closest parking area: There is one parking area off of Carol Ln. just off Black Mountain Dr. it is not the same lot as the Upper Maxwell Falls lot.
  • Trailhead directions: This is the only trail from this parking lot
  • Note: There are free camp sites near this lot

Cub Creek Trail Highlights:

  • Lots of camping opportunities along the trail
  • Dense forest in places
  • Chance to see areas regrown after fire

Cub Creek Trail Review:

The Cub Creek trail is a lot less popular than the other hikes in the area, but is a fantastic trek into the woods that can lead you right into the Mount Evans wilderness area where there are ample trails far off the beaten path. The trail is steep in places and the views are lacking at the start of the trail, but soon begin to improve.

As you ascend the trail the forest becomes denser and much taller. By the time you reach mile 2 on the trail you will come to the property boundary and a choice of paths. One path veers to the right leading down to a small mountain subdivision and the path to the left continues up the hill. There is a small flexible marker that points you to where the trail continues.

After a short rise the trail begins to again level off a little and there are several primitive camping areas. If you are planning on staying try and avoid making a fire. Small backpacking stoves are cheap, easy to use and much safer than a fire. I will point out that on the couple times I have hiked this trail I have occasionally seen fresh evidence of a large predator in the area, however, I have never seen a large predator in the area, aside from the most fearsome creature on earth, man. 

Burn area along the Cub Creek Trail in Arapaho National Forest leading to Mount Evans Wilderness area
Cub Creek Burn Area

Cub Creek continues gaining elevation as you skirt Staunton Ranch. About 4.5 miles in there is a large area that was burned in a forest fire where small trees are once again taking root to reclaim the area. At this point you will be at about 10,000 feet and depending on the time of year you may see snow. The last time I hiked this trail was in late May of 2017 and it did snow on me while it was in the upper 70s in Denver. This is a good place to turn back if you are doing a day hike.

Note: Boulder/Golden 100 does not show the entire trail, but does cover the area up to private property. There are no markings to let you know before the trail crosses private property, but the far side where you enter Arapaho National Forest again there is a tree across the path. This trail leads into the Mount Evans wilderness area and connects with several other trails.

Maxwell Falls Trail

Difficulty Rank6 (Moderate)
Views Rank8
Distance Rank2.3 Miles
Time NeededAbout 50 Minutes

Maxwell Falls Trail Details:

  • Connecting trail: Maxwell Falls Cliff Loop Trail
  • Out and back trail
  • Moderate elevation change
  • Good tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Upper and Lower parking area
  • Trailhead directions: Trail is right off of Black Mountain Dr. on the upper lot and Right off of S. Brook Forest Rd. on the lower lot

Maxwell Falls Trail Highlights:

  • Waterfall during certain times of the year
  • Follows a small stream for most of the trail
  • OneSunChasers favorite trail in this park
  • Great views

Maxwell Falls Trail Review:

If you’re looking for a moderate hike that offers some stream and waterfall views and a chance to beat the heat this is a great hike. The trail winds up a canyon following a stream that will lead you to a great overlook of a waterfall during the right seasons. 

One of the small waterfalls upstream form Maxwell falls Waterfall in Arapaho National Forest.
Maxwell falls

If you are hiking the trail in the off seasons there will still be a little waterfall but you will not really be able to see it from the overlook. If you hike back down the trail from the overlook to the switch backs there are a couple minor trails that will take you down to the creek and up to the waterfall. They are not marked so you will need to keep your eyes peeled to find them.

Maxwell Falls Cliff Loop

Rock overlook located on Maxwell falls Cliff Loop.
Rock overlook
Difficulty Rank5 (Moderate)
Views Rank8
Distance Rank1.3 Miles
Time NeededAbout 30 Minutes

Maxwell Cliff Loop Details:

  • Connecting trail: Maxwell Falls trail
  • Moderate elevation change
  • Partially treed
  • Closest parking area: Upper parking area Note: there are free campsites just off the trail by the creek
  • Trailhead directions: S-Maxwell Falls Trail | L-Maxwell Falls Cliff Loop

Maxwell Falls Loop Trail Highlights:

  • Fantastic Mountain valley views
  • Opportunities for rock climbing

Maxwell Falls Cliff Loop Review:

Fantastic views of the surrounding mountains along with great cliff overlooks are how this trail gets its name. Maxwell Falls Cliff Loop is not very steep as it weaves in and out of the trees.The trail has several spots that make for great places to take a break or do some rock climbing. There are some pieces of equipment already bolted in so if you’re looking for a picturesque place to climb there are some great opportunities here.

Note: if you are hiking this trail from the top of Maxwell falls back towards the Northeast parking lot when you descend the hill you will come to a T in the trail. Your instincts will tell you to take the path that leads to the north (Left) back towards the parking lot you parked in. This instinct sadly is wrong, if you take this trail you will end up at a dead end to private property. Instead you will want to take the path South (Right) back to the Maxwell Falls trail. You will know you are headed in the right direction as you will see the wooden bridge you came across on Maxwell Falls Trail after a couple minutes hiking.

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, all proceeds assist in the creation of new content!

Looking for some Free Colorado Camping?

Scouting Report – ( CO-3) Kenosha Pass Camping Area

Free Dispersed Camping Near Denver

At 62 miles from Denver many would rightfully argue that this site is not close to Denver. In fact I highlight several other sites in Colorado Free Camping that are closer mileage wise, but a most noteworthy point is that this free dispersed camping near Denver is right off the highway. Having a strait shot up US 285 this is one of the fastest to get to free campsite close to Denver. The reason being that you will not be driving 25 to 30 MPH on narrow forest service roads for much of the trip.

Colorado Trail with rain coming in.
Colorado Trail after descending from the free Kenosha pass campsites.

Kenosha Pass Campground:

Kenosha Pass Dispersed Camping Information

Phone Number: (719) 553-1400

Elevation: 10,025

Lat/Long: 39.414627, -105.754798

Nearby Town: Fairplay, Co. @ 21 miles

Details:

  • No fees
  • No water
  • No trash
  • No restrooms

Date of Report:

06/2018

View of the dirt road leading to the free camping at Kenosha pass in Colorado
View of road conditions leading to the free campsites in Kenosha Pass Colorado

Road Conditions:

Good

The dirt roads (126 & 126.A) off of US 285 that allow dispersed camping are well cared for and can be navigated by normal passenger car.

Note: this may change with heavy rain or snowfall as ruts can become quite large when people get stuck.

picture of one of the free dispersed campsites at Kenosha Pass
Free Colorado Campsite at Kenosha Pass dispersed camping area.

General Site Information:

There is roughly a dozen campsites off of FSR 126 and 126.A. A vault toilet is sometimes available for use at the intersection of FSR 126 & 126.A with a small parking area to accommodate hikers and campers to the area, although the last time I was at this site there was a sign on the restroom stating that it was closed.

There is no potable water at this sites, likewise as is to be expected, there are no picnic tables in the dispersed camping areas. The free developed camping spots do have stone fire rings, furthermore all sites have cleared areas to set up a tent. Several of the spots are large enough to accommodate several campers in one location, for that reason, if you are traveling with others you will want to scout out one of the larger sites.

Nearby Activities or Attractions:

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    • Fishing in the South Platte River
    • Antero, Eleven Mile and Spinney Reservoirs are all within 60 miles of this campground. Antero is the only one that does not charge an entry fee.
    • Hiking near Guanella pass is excellent
  • Lost Creek Wilderness area is also excellent for hiking

Hiking from the campground:

  • Colorado Trail

For more great free dispersed camping near Denver and beyond consider purchasing. Colorado Free Camping, or one of the other guidebooks listed on this website.

Scouting Report – (CO-2): Camp Rock

Free Camping close to Denver

When you are talking about free camping close to Denver it is natural to assume there are plenty of available sites. After all the homes are well spaced and certainly fewer in number than in the city. All this combined with the presence of pay campsites on National Forest land would lead you to believe there is free camping with fewer amenities close by. While this theory is certainly more accurate of the back country, it does not always apply near big cities. Certainly there is an abundance of great places to camp near Denver, but keep in mind that most of them are going to require a $10 – $30 fee per night. We hope that with the guidebooks on this site along with these posts you can easily find more affordable options.

Camp Rock Campground:

Camp Rock Campground Information

Phone Number: (303) 567-4382

Elevation: 9,000

Lat/Long: 39.613655, -105.534348

Nearby Town: Evergreen, Co. @ 15 miles

Details:

  • Free Camping
  • No water
  • No trash
  • Vault toilets

Mount Evans State Wildlife Area

A mandatory free self issuing permit required when hiking into the Mount Evans Wilderness Area.

Date of Report:

06/2018

Road Conditions:

Good

The road leading to the campsite is well maintained packed dirt with gravel, Mount Evans State wildlife area camping location is located at the beginning of this road which is a little steep in places. Fortunately this road can easily be traveled by normal passenger car providing there are no extreme weather events that would normally impact driving conditions.  

Note: It is always the operators responsibility to gauge current road conditions and the vehicle’s ability to handle the current terrain and conditions. The author of this content cannot and will not take responsibility for the users actions. The presented content is a guide only the user assumes all responsibility for their actions.

Check local forecasts prior to your visit.

General Site Information:

If you are looking for Free Camping close to Denver, this is one of the best sites. There are about ½ a dozen sites available clustered near the parking lot at this campground, which is fairly flat on the campground side with a slight incline on the trail parking side. All of the campsites are within sight of the parking area, and are situated under a thick pine and aspen canopy that offers good shade, with a lush green forest undergrowth.  There are several trails that start from this parking area so there is generally a lot of traffic in and out of the area during the day time. Due to the close proximity to Denver this is a very popular spot overall. That being said there is a high possibility that all campsites may be taken during peak times. Finally there is one handicap accessible site available at the beginning of the campground.  

In the event this campground is full you may find a free campsite at the Mount Evans State Wildlife area which is located at the beginning of the road that leads to the Camp Rock campground. A couple sites are also positioned along the road leading down to Camp Rock. Be mindful of the signs on the road side that will let you know if camping is allowed at each pull off along the way. 

Nearby Activities or Attractions:

  • Evergreen
  • Evergreen Lake
  • Hiking at nearby:
  • Alderfer/Three Sisters Park
  • Elk Meadows Park
  • Dedisse Park
  • Bergen Peak Wildlife Area

 Great hiking trails wander into the Mount Evans Wilderness area from the campground but a free permit required. There is a self issuing permit station in the parking lot of the campground. The Mount Evans Wilderness area is a very beautiful area to hike that is close to the Denver area, and yet still isolated from modern convinces. Because of this there are often times when cellular service will not be available. As always when you are hiking in the back country it is wise to hike with a partner and or let someone else know where you are hiking and when you plan to return from your trip.

Available Hikes:

  • Beaver Meadows Trail #44 – (10.8 miles)
  • Bear Tracks Trail

Please consider supporting the development of more content like this by purchasing Colorado Free Camping. or one of the other great camping books available on this site.

Scouting Report – (CO-1) Mount Evans SWA

This is one of the free campsites at mount evans state wildlife area, featured in Colorado Free Camping.
Free Camp Site at Mount Evans State Wildlife Area

Free Camping Near Denver

Free Camping in Colorado can be a challenge when you are looking to camp near Denver, although there are a few gems out there within a short drive of the mile high city. The aim of these posts is to reveal some affordable options for enjoying nature with great free camping near Denver. We hope you consider purchasing a copy of our free camping guide Colorado Free Camping available for purchase on Amazon. All book sales help to grow the availability of easy to use content and resources from Onesunchaser.

Mount Evans SWA:

Mount Evans SWA Information

Phone Number: (303) 291-7227

Elevation: 7,947 – 9,905

Lat/Long: 39.619866, -105.475211

Nearby Town: Evergreen, Co. @ 11 miles

Details:

  • No fee
  • No water
  • No trash
  • Vault toilet
  • Camping is for 5 days in a 45 day period

Date of Report:

06/2018

Road Conditions:

Very good – Road is paved most of the way to the campsites

Last 3 miles to the campsites is groomed dirt road

From the Mount Evans Wilderness area gate to the first set of campsites is less than 1 mile but has a slight incline and is easily traveled by normal passenger car providing there are no extreme weather events  that would normally impact travel.

There are 2 more sites very near the Camp Rock site about another 3 miles down the dirt road. Making all of these sites some of the best free camping near Denver.

Check local forecasts prior to your visit.

General Site Information:

The site is only available for camping from June 15th until January 1st, and is restricted beyond that time. See the following link for more detailed information Mount Evans SWA Information. There are 3 campsites at the main site that have fire rings, a vault toilet and a couple picnic tables available for use. If you continue down the road  which does have some steeper parts there are 2 more sites along the way to Camp Rock Campsites, but there are no restrooms facilities at these sites. Fear not as restroom facilities are a short walk away at the Camp Rock Campground. Both sites near the camp rock campsite are located just off the main dirt road amidst clearings in the pine forest. No potable water is available at any of these sites so be sure to plan ahead and bring your own water.

Nearby Activities or Attractions:

  • Evergreen 
  • Evergreen Lake

Hiking at nearby:

  • Alderfer/Three Sisters Park
  • Elk Meadows Park
  • Dedisse Park

Please consider supporting the development of more content like this by purchasing Colorado Free Camping. or one of the other great camping books available on this site.

Embedded image for Mount Evans State Wildlife Area
Mount Evans State Wildlife Area

Colorado Front Range Hikes

 

“My vicinity affords many good walks; and though for so many years I have walked almost every day, and sometimes for several days together, I have not yet exhausted them. An absolutely new prospect is a great happiness, and I can still get this any afternoon. Two or three hours’ walking will carry me to as strange a country as I ever expect to see. “

– Henry David Thoreau

Colorado is renowned for its amazing hiking mountain biking and breathtaking views. The Front Range is brimming with life and overflowing with natural beauty. From the vibrant red rock spires of Red Rocks Amphitheater, to the dense pine forests around Evergreen, there is the perfect trail for everyone.

The goal of this guide is to give the reader the information they will need to make the best selection for their given time and physical desires. Formatted for your mobile device, this affordable guide travels more easily than a book, yet can still be accessed without an internet connection.

Volume 1 covers the trails listed south of I-70 within the National Geographic (Boulder/Golden 100 Map Not included). It provides trail information reviews and links to trail videos for over 90 hiking trails spanning more than 140 miles and covering 18 parks within the Morrison, Ken Caryl, Idledale, Kittredge, Conifer, Aspen Park, Indian Hills and Evergreen Areas.

Details include:

  • Driving directions to 18 of the main parks and wildlife areas
  • Park information and overview
  • Local emergency contact information
  • Trail connections and suggested routes
  • Pictures from the trails
  • Estimated time to complete park trails
  • Links to free downloadable .gpx files and more
  • Trail reviews including distance, highlights, difficulty, allowed trail use, seasonal wild flower ratings, presence of water, and views you can expect to see
  • This guide easily downloads on your phone with the Kindle app so you will have the information you need even if you have no cellular service

Budget minded travelers and adventurers will find information on several free places to camp that don’t include checking in at hotel Walmart, along with little known alternative facts about the Front Range and Colorado’s mythical history. So grab the granola, strap on a pair of hiking boots, and get ready to go on an adventure.

Colorado Front Range Hikes (South) Volume 1 – Map

 

Link to Download the Map

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1xoMnX11yRzyDyTes-6JRhRR1RctnqCr3&usp=sharing