Meyers Ranch Park

Overview

There are endless arrays of squirrels that inhabit this park but not much other wildlife is likely to be seen. Meyers Ranch Park is very easy and convenient to get to and offers plenty of picnic areas, but you will be listening to the highway pretty much everywhere in the park. The noise however, does not seem to detour from the popularity of the parks beautiful Pine and aspen forests that etch the Rolling Meadows reaching out to the highway. This is a great place to visit after the snow has begun to fall as there are ample open downhill areas for sledding.

4.2 Miles of Trails

Park Details:

  • Dogs are allowed but must be leashed.
  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Centaurs errr…… Equestrians
  • Sledding
  • There are clean restrooms near the picnic area that emit zero odors.
  • All of the trails are well marked and easy to follow.
  • Camping is not allowed in the park
  • Park hours are one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset
  • Hunting or firearms are not permitted
  • There is an ample amount of picnic areas
  • Parking is limited and this is a popular park
  • No Entrance fees

Emergency contacts:

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

If the event is life threatening dial 911a

Quick Reference Map

A static version of the map and be downloaded to your phone from Jefferson County Parks

Lodge pole Loop

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)4 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)3
Distance1.3 miles
Time NeededAbout 32 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Sunny Aspen and Owl’s Perch trails
  • Couple parts of the hike are slightly steep
  • Gradual elevation gain
  • Good tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Meyers Ranch parking area

Trailhead directions: Hike up access road | trail starts by restrooms

Trail Highlights:

  • Easy trail
  • Forest areas
Mountain prairie view in Meyers Ranch Park
Mountain prairie view in Meyers Ranch Park

Review:

The Lodge Pole Loop is a great hike for those that are new to hiking, have children, or are just looking for a quick hike in the woods that’s not too far from Denver. The bad part about this and all of the other trails in the area is you will not be without the sound of the highway due to its close proximity. While the trails are nice you will probably not see more wildlife than a passing squirrel or bird. Nonetheless this trail does offer a good workout in places.

Owl’s Perch

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)2 (Easy)
Views Rank (1 – 10)2
Distance0.4 miles
Time NeededAbout 10 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail: Lodge Pole Loop trail
  • Mainly connects the picnic areas
  • Slight elevation change
  • Sporadic tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Meyers Ranch parking area

Trailhead directions: Hike up access road | Trail is to the right just after restrooms

Trail Highlights:

  • Views of the cliff faces on the other side of the highway

Review:

This trail is mainly used as an access point to the picnic areas that are scattered throughout the lower portion of the park. There is not much to look at on the trail aside from highway 285 and the power lines that cut through the trees in the north end of the park.

Old Ski Run Trail

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)3
Distance1.2 miles
Time NeededAbout 27 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail: Sunny Aspen trail
  • Note that on the National Geographic map this trail did not present as a complete loop at the top which it is.
  • Decent elevation change
  • Thick tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Meyers Ranch parking area

Trailhead directions: Hike up access road | S-Lodge Pole Loop | L-Sunny Aspen Trail | L-Old Ski Run

Trail Highlights:

  • Views of Aspen Park
  • Interesting rock formations
Tall Pines in Meyers Ranch Park
Tall Pines in Meyers Ranch Park

Review:

Contrary to the name do not expect to see an old ski run; However, I would think that if you could make it up this trail in the winter with a pair of ski’s or a snowboard you would have one fun ride down. There is a decent rise in elevation that is sure to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing as you hike to the top. This is the only trail in the park where you might not hear the highway below that is providing you are on the backside of the loop at the top.

Sunny Aspen

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)4 (Easy)
Views Rank (1 – 10)3
Distance0.8 miles
Time NeededAbout 21 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trails: Lodge Pole Loop trail, and Old Ski Run trails
  • Slight elevation change
  • Good tree cover
  • Closest parking area: Meyers Ranch parking area

Trailhead directions: Hike up access road | S-Lodge Pole Loop | R or L on Sunny Aspen Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Great picnic area if you want to listen to a little less highway noise.
Rocky portion of a trail in Meyers Ranch Park.
Rocky part of a trail in Meyers Ranch Park

Review:

The Sunny Aspen trail does have some rather nice patches of aspens along the way and would make a spectacular trail to enjoy the changing of the leaves in fall. Perhaps the best feature of this hike is there is a covered picnic area at the junction with the Old Ski Run Trail that would make an excellent place to stop for lunch, or escape the rain if you happen to be unlucky enough to get caught out in a storm. This trail will not leave you huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf, but you will get a decent workout while you ramble along.

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?

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?

Elk Meadows Park

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!

Looking for some 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!

Beaver Brook Watershed

Beaver Brook Watershed Overview

Most of the trails in this area are not officially named, so some of the names that I have used for the paths are due to where they connect, or what notable features are located on them. The names given to the lesser traveled trails are merely for the sake of easier navigation and explanation. That being said this area is best visited with a GPS if you want to take some of the lesser traveled side trails as it is easy to get turned around. There are small paths and old logging roads traversing the area some leading to other trails, some leading to subdivisions and others to views of the watershed or abrupt endings in the forest.

Precautions

Please take extra caution when hiking in this area, there is a lot more wildlife and a lot fewer hikers and mountain bikers if you need assistance. The area is a beautiful lush forest that is in many places overtaking the trails and roads that traverse the area. It is very likely that you will see deer, elk and the occasional wild turkey sauntering through the forest doing the nature thing. Most of the trails are rather steep and many are quite long. Lastly come prepared for rapid changes in weather and let others know where you are going and when you plan to return.

15.5 Miles of trails

Park Details:

  • Hiking allowed
  • Mountain Biking allowed
  • Snowshoeing allowed
  • Cross country skiing allowed
  • Centaurs errr…. Equestrian
  • Picnicking
  • Dogs are allowed as long as they are on a leash
  • Motorized vehicles are not allowed
  • No shooting allowed
  • Camping allowed with a permit
  • Fishing allowed but you may need a permit
  • Area usage is one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset
  • Neither you nor your animals are allowed in the water
  • No Entrance fees

Emergency contacts:

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

Clear Creek County Sherriff’s Office @ (303) 679-2376

If the event is life threatening dial 911

Quick Reference Map:

Alternate Route

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)5
Distance 1.1 Miles
Time NeededAbout 2 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail: Hidden Wilderness, and Flat top trail
  • Trail is hard to see at the top
  • Decent tree cover
  • Easy to follow for most of the trail

Trailhead directions: East parking lot | S – Beaver Brook Trail | R – Hidden Wilderness | L- Alternate Route

Trail Highlights:

  • Lush wetland area at top

Review:

You can access this trail from the Hidden Wilderness trail in three locations. The first junction is about 1.2 miles in and, just before the Hidden Wilderness trailheads to the west. The Alternate Route trail will be a well-defined trail leading up the hill to the West. Your second opportunity to join this trail comes as a very short spur trail running south southeast about 0.8 miles further along the Hidden Wilderness trail and again is well traveled and fairly easy to spot. The final upper junction is not so much a junction, as a wander through the woods, and takes some navigation through forest growth to find from the Hidden Wilderness trail. If you have reached the wetland area near the creek from the lower section of the Hidden Wilderness trail, you will want to cross the ravine where the creek runs, and hike up the hill a few hundred yards. You will find an overgrown logging trail that can marginally be followed as it passes over the wetlands area to the southeast and rejoins the trail. The upper portion of the trail is rock strewn and the forest is currently passionately taking the trail over again. For ease of navigation I suggest you take the .gpx files for the area and download them to your phone or a GPS unit. Most of the trail is wide and very easy to follow. It is only the upper section that is difficult to navigate, also expect s fair amount of sun exposure on the trail. The trail if hiked from the first terminus is gentle then becomes somewhat steep, but not overly grueling.

Beaver Brook Trail

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)7 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)5
Distance2.9 miles
Time NeededAbout 90 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail: Hidden Wilderness, Mushroom Trail, and Upper west Junction trail
  • Trail is steep in places
  • Mostly exposed trail
  • Starts at both parking areas

Trailhead directions: Starts at either parking area

Trail Highlights:

  • Creek and Creek Crossings
  • Beautiful Meadow views

Review:

This old logging/pipeline road serves as the starting point to the other adventurous trails that await you within the watershed. The path is moderately steep from both parking areas, but flattens out for about a half mile stretch as you reach the valley floor. The trail meanders along Beaver brook for a good portion of the hike as it runs down into the reservoir, and there are a couple very minor crossings along the way from small tributaries. The lush grasses that flank the more southern portion of the trail is a great place to spot the occasional deer or elk. The trail is rather wide for most of the trek so exposure may be more of an issue on this trail than some of the other hikes in this area.   

Beaver Brook Reservoir Trail

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)4 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)8
Distance0.3 Miles
Time NeededAbout 10 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail: Beaver Brook Trail
  • Easy terrain with slight elevations changes
  • Mostly exposed trail

Trailhead directions: East Parking Area | S – Beaver Brook Trail | R – Beaver Brook Reservoir Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Beautiful view of the reservoir
  • Amazing views of the saddle for Santa Fe Mountain and Squaw Mountain

Review:

This short trail will not disappoint, the views are some of the best in the park, and there are some spectacular views to be had in this area. The lower fork leads down to the reservoir and the upper fork leads to an outcropping that will have you staring off into the wilderness in awe. There were several little deer trails darting off here and there from the upper fork, I did not meander down those paths as most of them looked rather short and not well trodden. In all honesty the views on this slight trail make it my favorite in the park with the Overlook trail being a very close second.

East Overlook

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)4 (Easy)
Views Rank (1 – 10)8
Distance1.3 Miles
Time NeededAbout 25 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail: Hidden Wilderness trail
  • Easy trail to hike
  • Decent tree cover
  • Out and Back
  • Gradual elevation change

Trailhead directions: East parking area | S – Beaver Brook trail | R – Hidden Wilderness trail | R – East Overlook

Trail Highlights:

  • Fantastic views
  • Starts at a beautiful meadow

Review:

The beginning of this trail starts just off the Hidden Wilderness trail and juts off to the east through a meadow clearing. The trail regains the cover of trees again about half a mile in and never has a lot of elevation change. The trail is easy to follow and will lead you down to a rock outcropping before abruptly disappearing into the forest below. If you head in a southerly direction into the forest for a short distance from here, you will come to a beautiful rock outcropping overlooking the valley below all the way out to I-70. This is a really great trail and is not too demanding, although the hike to this location has some decent hills to climb.

Overlook on the East side of the Beaver Brook watershed.
Overlook

Elk Way Trail

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)6 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)5
Distance0.4 miles
Time NeededAbout 8 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail: Upper west Junction, and Logging trail Loop
  • Steady rise up to a subdivision
  • Mother Nature is taking back parts of this trail

Trailhead directions: West parking area | S – Beaver Brook | L- Upper West Junction Trail | R – Elk Way

Trail Highlights:

  • Creek Crossing

Review:

This trail is wide, rocky and easy to follow for most of the trek up the hill. Once you reach the meadow the trail narrows down to a narrow path before widening a little and starting to climb again, for a short stretch until you reach a cul-de-sac for a neighborhood. The trail is mostly forested and dense, in fact in places you may need to dodge trees that have leaned over into the path to reach for sunny areas. There is another small path at the top near the cul-de-sac behind the wooden fence like structure that quickly fades into the forest.

Flat Top Trail

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)6 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)7
Distance 0.6 Miles
Time NeededAbout 16 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail: Alternate Route
  • Easy to follow trail
  • Moderate tree cover
  • Trail can be somewhat steep

Trailhead directions: East parking area | S – Beaver Brook trail | R – Hidden Wilderness | L – Alternate Route | L – Flat Top Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Large flat area at the top
  • Good views of the valley below
Dense foliage on one of the trails in the Beaver Brook Watershed
Beaver Brook Watershed

Review:

This trail is wide with a large amount of lose rock like many of the others in the area, and somewhat steep for most of the trek up the hill. At the end of the trail there is a small plateau area that offers some decent views of the valley below. Expect a fair amount of exposure due to the width of the trail, and clearing at the end.

Hidden Wilderness

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)10 (Difficult)
Views Rank (1 – 10)8
Distance4.8 Miles
Time NeededAbout 150 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail: Beaver Brook, Alternate Route, East Overlook
  • Trail is very steep
  • Navigation is difficult at time as the trail disappears into the new forest growth
  • Dense pine forest
  • Out and back

Trailhead directions: East parking area S – Beaver Brook | R – Hidden Wilderness

Trail Highlights:

  • Great views of Mount Evans when you rejoin the trail
  • Run down A Frame house
  • Creek
Cabin ruins along the Hidden Wilderness trail within the Beaver Brook Watershed.
Cabin ruins

Review:

This is by far the most adventurous trail in the area, and a GPS of some sort is a good idea on this “trail”. You will start off on a large well defined road that turns right onto a narrow trail leading down a tree cleared path. As the trail begins to climb and veer to the West you will come to a clearing where the “jeep trail” begins to climb a valley. You can either make a path through the trees, or make the creek crossing and head up the wider easier to follow trail on the southwest side of the creek. The trail becomes impossible to follow on either side of the valley a little farther up, and you will need to blaze your own path up the hill. The Southwestern side of the trail has several old log cabins that Mother Nature is quickly dismantling, and if you choose to follow the northeastern side of the valley there are glimpses of the trail here and there as you climb. I found it easiest to somewhat follow the gas pipeline signs on the Northeast side of the valley as I headed up the hill. After a vigorous climb you will be at 10300 feet and there will be a very wide road to follow. From here directly ahead there will be amazing views of Mount Evans with nothing between you and one of the more notable peaks in Colorado. As you begin to descend the hill you will come to an A frame house that has seen better days. I stopped and had lunch here, there was no wait, no service, but the open atmosphere was invigorating, and the granola bar and water hit the spot after the steep climb. If you continue the trail down the hill you will soon come to a subdivision filled with cabins and homes.

Little Bear Trail

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

Details:

  • Connecting trail: Overlook Trail
  • More of an access trail from Little Bear Creek rd. than a trail
  • Easy to hike trail
  • Well forested

Trailhead directions: There is a small pull over area off Little Bear Creek Rd.

Trail Highlights:

  • Wide easy to follow trail

Review:

This trail section is very short, but I would like to state it only looks that way due to how I split the trails up. After you have traveled the short length from Little Bear Creek Rd. down the trail all of 0.1 miles the trail branches off to the east and west. The West leads out to the overlook and the East trail leads into the interior of the park, and will later connect with the Beaver Brook trail that connects both parking areas, after a trail connection with Logging trail loop that is.

Logging Trail Loop

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)5
Distance1.1 miles
Time NeededAbout 22 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail: Overlook trail, Elk Way, Upper West Junction Trail
  • Easy trail to hike
  • Wide well-traveled path

Trailhead: You could park off Little Bear Creek Rd. | R or L On logging trail Loop

Trail Highlights:

  • Dense forest
  • Mother Nature is taking parts of this trail back

Review:

This trail begins at the junction with the Elk Way Rd. trail and will be the path that continues up the hill more straight ahead (West). The trail also meets back in almost the same area on a much narrower fairly well concealed path. The trail quickly narrows down and continues up the valley, until you reach a small creek crossing followed by a very steep rise to a well-defined and much more traveled logging road.

Mushroom Trail

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)5 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)4
Distance0.9 miles
Time NeededAbout 20 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail: Beaver Brook Trail
  • Out and back to a pull off on Highway 103
  • Short and easy
  • Strong tree cover

Trailhead directions: East Parking area | S – Beaver Brook trail | L – Mushroom trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Dense forest
  • Creek

Review:

The Lewis creek flows along this trail for about a half mile before the path forks, The trail leading more southwest leads to a creek crossing and a very overgrow trail that I have not followed up the hill. The other side the southeasterly trail leads up to a small pull off area on Highway 103. The forest is very thick in here and if a rain storm suddenly appeared as they sometimes do in this area, I scarcely think you would feel a drop of rain through the thick tree cover. The trail is covered in a thick bed of pine needles and the trail begins to fade as you near the highway. As one would assume from the name the trail has an overabundance of mycelia growing on the side of the trail and very often right in the center. There were at least 10 distinctly different mushrooms along the trail the last time I passed through this area of the park.

Overlook Trail

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)3 (Easy)
Views Rank (1 – 10)8
Distance0.7 miles
Time NeededAbout 13 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail:
  • Easy trail
  • Mostly forested

Trailhead directions: You could park off Little Bear Creek Rd. | S – Little Bear Trail | R – Overlook Trail

Trail Highlights:

  • Debris hut with an amazing view of the area

Review:

This trail starts off as a well-defined logging road and continues to hold that standard until you reach some of the smaller branch trails. All of the paths that I followed faded away into the forest, and one led to a rather large debris hut with some million dollar views of the watershed below. There is a smaller trail that branches off to the north about 0.5 miles down that looked like it looped back towards where the logging trail loop junction is on my GPS, but it quickly turned into an act of navigating back to the overlook trail.

Saddleback Mountain Trail

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)8 (Difficult)
Views Rank (1 – 10)10
Distance0.8 miles
Time NeededAbout 45 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail: None
  • Short very steep trail
  • Decent tree cover
  • Not accessible from other trails in the park

Trailhead directions: Very small parking area on Saddle Ridge Rd.

Trail Highlights:

Great views of the surrounding mountains

Review:

With over 800 feet of elevation gain is less than a mile; this trek up the side of the mountain will have you stopping along the way to take in the scene and catch your breath. At roughly a quarter of a mile in there is a split in the trail and you will have two options as you continue your climb to the summit. Both paths lead to the same amazing views so you can take one up and the other down for a change of scenery. Aside from a couple patches along the trail there is a good amount of strong tree cover, and there is a thick aspen grove on the south side of the mountain. That being said the summit is just over 9500 feet in elevation so if there is bad weather moving in; it would be a good idea to head down the hill to avoid being a lightning rod.

This trail is part of the Beaver Brook Watershed, but does not have any connecting trails to the main two parking lots. There is a separate parking lot that can hold three cars if everyone gets that parking thing down. To get to the parking lot take I-70 west then take Exit 248. Take Highway 40 West along I-70 until you get to Homestead Rd, which passes over to the other side of I-70. Next take a right on Hyland Dr., followed by a right on Ponderosa Dr. You will them make a right on Aspen Dr. then take a slight right on Saddle Ridge Rd. Continue following Saddle Ridge Rd. until you spot the small parking area on the left hand side of the road at the crux of a very sharp switchback.

Upper West Junction

Difficulty Rank (1 – 10)6 (Moderate)
Views Rank (1 – 10)5
Distance1.5 miles
Time NeededAbout 30 Minutes

Details:

  • Connecting trail:
  • Mostly dense forest
  • Follows a creek

Trailhead directions: West Parking Area | Beaver Brook Trail | R – Upper West Junction (about 1.3 miles down)

Trail Highlights:

  • Creek views
  • Lush forest

Review:

The trail is a steady rise as you follow the small creek that rolls down the mountain valley. There is ample opportunity to view wild life on this trail and all the others in the park due to the area being less traveled by hikers and mountain bikers. There are some very large wild turkeys in the area which may throw you for a loop the first time you see them, but they are pretty secretive and tend to stick to the tree line most of the time. The end of this section of trail meets at a clearing with three wider trails and a smaller trail. The trail to the right will have an immediate creek crossing and lead to a subdivision. (Elk Way is the road it leads to.) The more strait on path is Logging trail loop which starts as a decent rise and leads to a creek crossing and a very steep climb to meet the logging road, which if you take a left on loops down to the trail junction.

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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.

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