Weekend Trail Running: Bergen Peak, Evergreen, CO

We are on a roll over here exploring new trails in and around Boulder, and I feel like I’m truly living my best summer life over here. Since I knew I was going to have a big bike ride on Sunday, I decided to keep things relatively tame on Saturday and save my legs for the next day.

I did some scrolling on AllTrails—as I do—and found Bergen Peak in Evergreen. I’ve only ever passed through Evergreen, which is a little mountain town of 9,000 southwest of Boulder, but never stopped to explore.

Through the app, I found a bunch of trails in Elk Meadow Park heading up to Bergen Peak, which offers beautiful mountain views. Here’s the route I chose: Bergen Peak via Sleepy’s Trail, Elk Ridge, Bergen Peak Trail and Meadow View Trail. BUT, I didn’t climb all the way up Bergen Peak. We’ll get to that.

After about a 50-minute drive, I arrived at the small trailhead parking lot off 74, a main road in town. The lot is pretty small, but there were a couple spaces left on the road leading into the lot and I was so happy to snag one. I would say you have to either get to the trailhead very early in the morning or wait until the afternoon after the early birds have left to find a spot. I lucked out, but that is good to know for the future.

The first mile or two was pretty mild; it weaves around a meadow at the base of a mountain with a bit of climbing, then eventually gets more and more steep as the trail makes its way into the forest and up maybe like 100 switchbacks. Ok, not 100, but damn did it feel like it.

Miles 3-5 were probably the toughest of the day because the trail never really lets up. You climb for about five straight miles—some sections were steeper and rockier than others.

And there aren’t many amazing overlooks to break up the monotony of huffing and puffing. The trail is also open to mountain bikers, who I believe are only allowed to do the trail clockwise, so that resulted in lots of stopping and starting on the way to the top.

When I finally reached the turn-off point to climb the only out-and-back section up to Bergen Peak itself, I was toast and wanted nothing to do with more climbing. I was only at about 9,500 feet in elevation, but my legs and lungs were screaming at that point. I think if I would’ve stopped for five minutes to collect myself and continued up to the peak, I would’ve been fine. But after a truly brutal ascent, I just wanted the run to be over, especially since there really wasn’t anything amazing to look at.

Without even thinking about it, I ran right past the connector and enjoyed about 3.5 miles of DOWN. It was glorious and that’s honestly when I started to enjoy the time on the trail. The last mile or so was pretty difficult for me as well because it’s pretty boring and is just a very shallow descent in a meadow along 74, the road I came in on. I’ve never regretted driving far for a trail run, but I think this one got the closest.

When I finally made it back to the parking lot, I had covered over eight miles with around 1,600 feet of climbing. If I had included the out-and-back up to Bergen Peak, I think I would’ve had over 10 miles and 2,200 feet of climbing. That would’ve been a big day, but I was happy with my run. The lot was also pretty empty when I arrived back around 11-ish, so that’s probably a good time to go. Then again, it was pretty overcast and a little rainy that morning, so that could’ve turned people away as well.

On my way home, I stopped in Golden for lunch at the Windy Saddle and had the same thing I always do while sitting outside on the main road: a falafel salad with homemade hummus and pita. It’s so good, I can’t quit it…but not nearly as good as the falafel pita I had at Salto. I’m still dreaming of that meal…

Overall, I’d give this trail a 6/10. I wasn’t overly impressed, but I was still happy I gave it a try. I know there are many more good ones in the Evergreen area, so I will be back to explore…and come back here to tell like the one person who reads this about it 😉

Hope you’re having a great week!

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