Located in Elk Meadow park near Evergreen, Colorado, the Bergen Peak trail proved to be a rather enjoyable trek. It was a picture perfect Saturday morning right after Thanksgiving with only four other cars in the parking lot when I arrived at 8:30. The sky was a beautiful shade of light blue with only some wispy upper level clouds. Towards the beginning, there were only several patches of ice and snow that were easily navigable. Part of this probably had to do with the fact that the first several miles are completely exposed to the sun.
Once you get more into the woods, the incline becomes more moderate but can easily be managed with good traction. However, on this particular day, good traction and the help of trekking poles were needed as the trail becomes quite icy for long stretches. I really enjoyed this hike too because it had quite a few unexpected vistas that opened up out of nowhere to give you pleasant views of the tree filled hills and valleys nearby.
The closer that I got to the summit of Bergen Peak, I noticed that the weather was beginning to change. The once clear skies were starting to become cloudy and the wind was picking up with each step that I took. I knew that it was going to snow that day, but I was simply in awe of how quickly the weather can change. Nonetheless, I got to an overlook just before the summit that typically offers views of both Mount Evans and the rest of the front range mountains, and sure enough I could see a snow squall beginning to move in from the west.
At the summit, you will find a sign marking the highest point. Leading up to this hike, I wasn’t really sure how good the views would be at the summit but I was definitely surprised to the point that I even sat down to eat a cinnamon bun as the snow was beginning to fall just to take it all in. The views are so splendid that I’ll probably head back up there in the summer to have a picnic. In a similar fashion to my Square Top Mountain hike, the weather going back down to the trailhead made it feel like two different hikes. Most of the way back down the mountain consisted of hiking in white out conditions.
Other Relevant Information
Overall, the trail is a little over nine miles round trip from the Lewis Ridge trailhead but may vary depending on what trail you take coming back. Elk Meadow Park is part of the Jefferson County Open Space system which consists of 252 miles of trails in 28 parks. A fee is not required to access this park. Another parking area can be accessed off of Stagecoach Boulevard as well.