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Front Range - Evergreen
Squaw Pass, to Echo LakeType: Mountain Bike
Start elevation: 7,798 ft
End elevation: 10,600
Total climb: 2,799 ft
Distance: 17 miles
Squaw Pass is an easy ride to access from anywhere on the Front Range. The route begins from Bergen Park in Evergreen at the intersection of Hwy 103 and CO 74. You then head west and travel seventeen miles to Echo Lake, at the foot of Mt. Evans. This ride climbs to 10,6007ft. The elevation of Squaw pass itself is 9,807 ft. The average grade for this scenic ride is 6%. The road surface itself is paved with the occasional pothole along the way. If you travel one way to Echo Lake, it is a rewarding ride for the climber. There usually is not much traffic other than the occasional deer or elk crossing, so keep your eyes open. If descending is your bag, ride back the way you came for a wonderful ride to the parking area and reward yourself with one of Evergreens fine establishments. If not, have someone wait at Echo Lake, there are some picnic areas your shuttle crew or family can cheer you on from.
Elk Meadow Park: Jefferson County Open SpaceType: Mountain Bike
Elevation: lower lot- 7,560 ft upper lot- 7,790 ft.
Top elevation: 9,708 ft.
Total miles of trails: 13.1 miles
Elk Meadow Park is located in Evergreen, Colorado and is part of the amazing Jefferson County Open Space. One of the more established parks of the group, land was purchased in 1977 for what is now Elk Meadow. Getting there is easy: take I70 exit 252 HWY 74 and travel past the town of Bergen Park and into Evergreen about four miles to Lewis Ridge Road, turn right. This is the lower lot and can be seen from the highway. To access the upper lot travel approximately one mile to Stage Coach Road and go right up the hill another mile to the parking area. This is where I prefer to start my adventure. From here the Meadow Trail will begin your journey as you travel out slowly with minimal vertical rise. The singletrack is well maintained and consists of embedded rock and smooth old forest growth, hard pack with the occasional root and switchback. To get the full effect of this little gem, the rider with the higher level of fitness will want to divert to the Bergen Peak Trail which rises 1,730 ft. and is the longest trail at 3.7 miles. This section of trail is superb, with the conifer canopy keeping you shaded you will enjoy the trail as it ascends its way through the forest. When it intersects with the Too Long Trail make a left and continue your quest up. The views from along the route are stellar with Mount Evans standing at 14,264 ft. looming around what seems to be every turn. You have an unobstructed view from the top. Once at the summit enjoy a quick snack or energy drink and soak up the 360 degree views of the Continental Divide and the eastern plains. Pikes Peak can be seen to the south, Longs Peak to the north and Mount Evans in the middle. A very zen place to reflect and refuel after your climb. To begin your descent you travel in reverse down Bergen Peak Trail to the intersection of the Too Long Trail and continue on this singletrack dropping 1,220 ft. in 2.4 miles. You may encounter some extremely tight switchbacks and natural obstacles such as boulders, roots, water-bars and the often seen elk. Too Long Trail will dump you back onto the Meadow Trail and leave you with more riding options. If you stay straight and to the right along the Meadow Trail you will come upon the Elk Ridge Trail and descend 270 ft toward the lower parking area. To get the heart pumping some more, travel up the Elk Ridge Trail with an average grade of 14% this half mile hit may leave you short of breath. Continue to traverse the trails in all directions and link them together for a day of fat tire fun. When you’re finished, head back to the car and into Evergreen or nearby Bergen Park. There is plenty to do so check out the Family Fun page for more tips.