Elk Meadow Park

Nearest town: Evergreen
Distance from Denver: 25 mi / 0:30
Location: Jefferson County Open Space
Distance hiked: 5.0 mi loop
Recommended routes:
9.7 mi loop to summit Bergen Peak (9,708 ft)
3.4 mi loop around meadow and across the hillside
Elevation: 7,700 ft at Stagecoach Blvd TH; 7,600 at Lewis Ridge Rd TH
Direction notes: Brown signs mark the turns from Hwy 74 to each of the THs.
Dogs: On leash, or visit the off-leash dog park and trails across the road from the Stagecoach TH
Trailhead: Bathrooms (just out of sight up the trail at the Stagecoach TH), signage, brochures with maps
Date hiked: March 2013
Additional resource:
Jefferson County Open Space

Trail notes and photos:
The forecast called for rain turning to snow but the sun and blue sky peeking out in Denver kept nagging at me. I had cancelled my hiking plans the day before due to the grey skies and warnings of rain which never came. It’s often hard to know what the weather and trail conditions will be after climbing from the city into the foothills or mountains.

With a late, last minute start and grey skies threatening I quickly chose a Jefferson County Open Space park I had yet to visit and mapped out a 5.0 mi trail I could do in 2-3 hours, hopefully before the storm hit.

Jefferson County Open Space - Elk Meadow Park

Elk Meadow Park trail map

This post describes the route I took from the Stagecoach TH, looping CCW via the Sleepy S, Painter’s Pause, Founders and Meadow View Trails.

Jefferson County Open Space - Elk Meadow Park

First look at Elk Meadow and the storm beyond via the Sleepy S Trail

From the Stagecoach TH the Meadow View Trail climbs gently 0.3 mi where I turned right onto the Sleepy S Trail. This trail is mostly double track and weaves (yes, like a sleepy s) along the bottom of the hillside, across the meadow and down toward the Lewis Ridge Rd TH just off busy Hwy 74.

Jefferson County Open Space - Elk Meadow Park

The Sleepy S Trail weaves along Elk Meadow

Use the blue barn as a landmark for where the Sleepy S Trail connects to the Painter’s Pause Trail, which heads back across the meadow toward the hillside with nice views of Bergen Peak. At the barn is also a very short off-shoot down to the Lewis Ridge Rd TH.

Jefferson County Open Space - Elk Meadow Park

Bergen Peak from Sleepy S Trail

The 0.4 mi along the Painter’s Pause Trail is within earshot of Hwy 74, but the noise fades after taking Founders Trail away from the traffic. Just 0.6 mi later I had crossed the meadow and connected to the Meadow View Trail. Finally I found solitude, far enough from the highway noise and forested enough to not see other hikers.

Jefferson County Open Space - Elk Meadow Park

Meadow View Trail wanders thru the forest along the hillside above the meadow

Getting out of the exposed meadow reduced the wind chill and warmed me up with some minimal elevation gain. The trail rolls along the hillside in the forest with regular openings to provide views of the meadow below.

Jefferson County Open Space - Elk Meadow Park

Looking south from the Meadow View Trail

Stay on the Meadow View Trail for 2.6 mi back to the Stagecoach TH.

Jefferson County Open Space - Elk Meadow Park

Looking north from the Meadow View Trail to the oncoming storm

Suggested routes:

  • 3.4 mi CCW loop from Lewis Ridge TH. Take Painter’s Pause, Founders, Meadow View, Elk Ridge and Sleepy S Trails.
  • 9.7 mi CW loop to the top of Bergen Peak from Lewis Ridge TH. Take Sleep S, Elk Ridge, Meadow View, and Bergen Peak Trail to the summit and back down. Descend via the Too Long, Meadow View, Founders and Painter’s Pause Trails.
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