Bergen Peak via the Too Long Trail, Elk Meadow Park, Boulder - Denver - Golden - Fort Collins - Lyons, Colorado
Bergen Peak via the Too Long Trail - 9.6 miles
Elk Meadow Park
|Round-Trip Length:||9.6 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||7,628' - 9,708' (9,708' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+2,080' net elevation gain (+2,255' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Bergen Peak via the Too Long Trail - 9.6 Miles Round-Trip
Bergen Peak (9,708’) is located in Evergreen CO between the Denver foothills and Continental Divide. Elk Meadow Park spans 1,140 acres below the peak, and a well-maintained trail network that funnels several different starting points onto the Bergen Peak Trail up to the summit.
While most visitors begin at the trailhead on Stagecoach Blvd, consider the equidistant Elk Meadow Park Trailhead on Lewis Ridge Road, a route that follows the Too Long Trail to the Bergen Peak Trail.
This is a compelling alternative highlighted by travel through the meadows and lighter use. You may extend the hike by returning south on the Meadow View Trail to form a loop around Elk Meadow back to the trailhead. This adds only .5 miles and nominal elevation gain to the hike:
From the trailhead on Lewis Ridge Road, veer right off the Sleepy S Trail to pick up the Painters Pause Trail. Painters Pause runs north to the Founders Trail (.45 miles : 7,655'), where you can divert a few steps to see an historical cabin.
The Founders Trail edges northwest across the meadow to the Meadow View Trail (1.05 miles : 7,825'), which turns south and steepens in thicker timber on the west side of the meadow to the Too Long Trail (1.5 miles : 8,055’).
The Too Long Trail climbs methodically on winding switchbacks with expanding views across Elk Meadow Park and peaks to the east.
Variously steep and moderate grades pass through open hillsides and intervals of ponderosa, lodgepole and fir to 3.0 miles (8,895’) - an 840’ gain in just 1.5 miles from the Too Long split. Travel moderates through 3.5 miles (9,137’) to the Bergen Peak Trail split (3.75 miles : 9,207’).
The Bergen Peak Trail climbs steadily on winding switchbacks through mixed conifer and aspen. Note large blocks of quartz scattered about these hillsides.
The trail moderates and wraps to an east-facing outcrop just below the summit, where it all but fades amid rock and root. This is a fine stopping point (as views are quite expansive), but it’s not the summit.
To reach the summit, turn uphill past the radio tower and follow a faint but intuitive path to the Bergen Peak sign (4.8 miles : 9,708’). The rather anonymous summit is in sight of the radio tower and ringed by thick timber, with limited views and room to explore.
- N39 39.802 W105 21.535 — 0.0 miles : Trailhead on Lewis Ridge Road
- N39 40.120 W105 21.615 — .45 miles : Painters Pause - Founders Trail split
- N39 40.353 W105 22.151 — 1.05 miles : Founders Trail - Meadow View Trail split
- N39 40.270 W105 22.523 — 1.5 miles : Meadow View Trail - Too Long Trail split
- N39 40.397 W105 22.658 — 2.0 miles : Steady, methodical climb on switchbacks
- N39 40.326 W105 22.891 — 2.5 miles : Grades moderate into lodgepole-fir stand
- N39 40.324 W105 23.058 — 3.0 miles : Steady climb into diversifying forest
- N39 40.162 W105 23.353 — 3.5 miles : Steady climb; more aspen
- N39 39.971 W105 23.483 — 3.75 miles : Too Long Trail - Bergen Peak Trail split
- N39 40.014 W105 23.635 — 4.3 miles : Begin wrapping to east sideof summit
- N39 39.966 W105 23.707 — 4.8 miles : Bergen Peak summit (9,708')
- This is a popular multi-use trail network that sees heavy weekend traffic. Arrive early to secure parking and avoid crowds.
- The Too Long Trail offers a compelling alternative to the Bergen Peak Trail, highlighted by travel through Elk Meadow, a historical cabin and lighter use. Extend the hike (.5 mile) and see more of Elk Meadow by returning south on the Meadow View Trail to form a loop around Elk Meadow back to the trailhead.
Rules and Regulations
- Dogs must be leashed at all times.
- Camping is not permitted in Elk Meadow Park
Directions to Trailhead
The Elk Meadow Park Trailhead is located on Lewis Ridge Road, 4.6 miles from I-70 in Evergreen. From I-70, take the Evergreen Parkway exit (#252) and continue on Evergreen Parkway (Hwy 74) 4.6 miles to Lewis Ridge Road. Turn right on Lewis Ridge Road and veer right into the parking lot.
Jefferson County Open Space
700 Jefferson County Pkwy, #100
Golden, CO 80401 - 6018