#60HikesDenverChallenge – Elk Meadow Open Space Park: Sleepy S Loop

evergreen-elk-meadows-open-space-sleep-s-loop

(For 2017, I have a goal of getting through all 60 trails in the book “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Denver”  You’ll see these posts all year-long. You can find a lot of info on each of the trails in the book, but I’ll highlight some things each time in addition to including my experience and opinion on the trail. The number below is associated with how they are labeled in the book if you have it.)

Trail #19 – Elk Meadow Open Space Park: Sleepy S Loop
Completed: 2/22/17 | Mode: Run/Hike
Location: HW 74 and Stagecoach Blvd
Distance: 2.5 miles (we did 3.75)
Difficulty:  Relatively challenging! Gradual climbs will some steep spots, flat open areas and fun downhills. Can be icy in the winter.
Surface: Hard packed dirt with a few bigger rocks in parts
Exposure: Lots of shade

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My Experience:
After some pretty busy and stressful weeks, I was begging to get outside and check off a trail from the book. I hadn’t done ANY for the month of February. On a particularly warm, sunny day in what’s supposed to be winter time, Ben and I ventured up to Evergreen again to check out another trail in the book. There are three trails in Evergreen in the book. I’ve already done the Evergreen Lake Trail, and now I have one more trip to Evergreen left – not that I mind, Evergreen is beautiful!

This trail was very fun, beautiful and challenging! It felt like we were in the high country but only 30 minutes from home. The trail varied between inclining and declining as it wound in and out of tall evergreen forests. The smell of the pines was great for the senses and satisfied my need for the outdoors.

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Pros:
-Beautiful views
-Tall trees lining parts of the trail; creates a very peaceful run
-The Sleepy S Loop is only 2.5 miles, but there are a lot of other side trails to take to add on the mileage.
-Trail is hard packed gravel with only a few large rocks to avoid
-Enough inclines and declines to get in a workout without being too challenging

Cons:
-Can be very crowded with people and off leash dogs. (There’s a dog park across the street from the trail head, but the trails themselves are NOT supposed to have off-leash dogs, however, people seem to not follow rules.)
-Can be icy during the winter; there is a lot of shade.

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Overall:
I really want to come back here and run to the top of Bergen Peak. That trail looks enjoyable, steep but fun (you can see the trail map on the picture at the top). I really liked the wooded parts of the trail; It felt like I was up in the high country of Colorado without having to travel far at all.  I highly recommend this trail for a great run or hike no matter if you’re from Colorado or just visiting!


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