Looking to escape the city bustle for a mountain-town feel close to Denver? Say hello to your new favorite: Evergreen, Colorado, located just 40 miles from downtown Denver!
Formerly Ute and Arapahoe hunted this area until the 1860s when settlers began homesteading. Ranches and farms fed the Denver metro area, and lumber from its forests supplied the Mile High City. Celebrities flocked to the town’s luxurious resorts. And it continues to be a home to many while offering an escape for travelers.
Rising above Denver at an elevation of 7,200 feet in Colorado’s Jefferson County, fun things to do in Evergreen, Colorado include a variety of outdoor activities, restaurants, theater, entertainment, art galleries, and shopping in its vibrant downtown.
Read More: Fun Day Trips from Denver
I’m lucky to live in the Rocky Mountain foothills near Evergreen (less than a 30-minute drive), so it’s the perfect road trip for our family, just to get away for an afternoon. Recently, I volunteered to drive my daughter and son-in-law to a wedding at the Evergreen Elks Lodge, and then stopped at the Hiwan Heritage Park – for the first time!
Afterward, I walked the Evergreen Lake Trail at Dedisse Park, all just to unwind and enjoy the fall colors. It was the perfect afternoon, ending with an ice cream at the local Baskin Robbins in downtown Evergreen.
If you’re a local, you already know, and if new to the area, add Evergreen to your short list of places to visit in Colorado. Read on for a glimpse of things to do in Evergreen, Colorado.
Things to Do in Evergreen, Colorado
Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, Evergreen is the perfect, year-round getaway to take a peek at Colorado’s brilliant fall colors, snow-covered peaks, and wildflowers in the summer, or enjoy surprisingly cool summer days. This mountain town is a popular destination for both tourists and residents, known for its safe and family-friendly atmosphere – and its abundant outdoor activities.
Evergreen Visitors Center
When traveling, I always recommend the first stop should always be the local visitors center or chamber of commerce. Here, you can ask the locals for advice: where to eat, where to hike, where to shop, if there are any special events, etc. Local maps and visitor guides are also available.
SheBuysTravel.com Tip: Before arriving, go online to Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce to access their visitor’s guide. Download maps and read tips ahead of time.
Outdoor Attractions and Outdoor Recreation
Evergreen is an outdoor lover’s year-round paradise. This mountain town features easy access to hiking, biking, and fishing. It’s bordered by mountain parks with access to miles of trails, towering bristle cone pine trees, wildflowers, wildlife, scenic byways, and more.
SheBuysTravel Tip: REMEMBER: you are in the mountains, at a high altitude. When performing any physical activities on any trailheads in Colorado, you may be subject to dehydration, heat exhaustion, altitude sickness –and wildlife. Be prepared! Wear comfortable hiking shoes and bring a jacket. (Colorado’s weather can change in minutes!) Pack a water snack. Be aware of your surroundings.
Hiking, Biking, and Snowshoeing
- Whether a beginner or hardcore hiker, Evergreen is surrounded by miles of trails for all levels, and all activities, offering a variety of difficulty levels and scenery.
- Bear Creek Trail: A 7-mile one-way paved trail that follows Bear Creek from downtown Evergreen up past Evergreen Lake.
- Alderfer/Three Sisters Park: A network of trails offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
- Mount Goliath Natural Area: A challenging hike to the summit of Mount Goliath, rewarding hikers with panoramic views of the Front Range. Managed by Denver Botanic Gardens, this peak high on Mount Blue Sky is outside of Idaho Springs within the Arapaho National Forest. It is also a designated bird-watching hotspot.
- Purchase advanced timed tickets to access the road to Mount Goliath and Mount Blue Sky. Due to the weather, it is NOT open year-round, so do check the website for open dates
- Maxwell Falls Trail is another popular hike close to Denver. Perfect for families, it is a 4-mile round-trip hike to a scenic waterfall cascading 76 feet into a rocky canyon. There are options to shorten the hike based on skill level.
- Evergreen is also a popular destination for mountain biking, with trails ranging from beginner to expert level. Some popular trails include Evergreen Mountain Park, Meyer Ranch Park, and Staunton State Park.
- Evergreen Mountain Park: A network of trails through the foothills, with scenic views and varying difficulty levels.
- Meyer Ranch Park: A network of trails through open meadows and forests, with beginner to intermediate difficulty levels.
- Staunton State Park: A network of trails through a variety of terrain, including meadows, forests, and red rock formations.
- Many of the above trails also are perfect for snowshoeing. Another all-season option is the 8,536 Evergreen Mountain, with its forested, dog-friendly summit trail.
- For those seasoned hiking, biking, and snowshoeing visitors, consider Bergen Peak Trail, a 10.7-mile challenging trail, also popular for horseback riding.
No matter the season, the 65-acre Evergreen Lake is THE centerpiece of this town and THE destination for lake activities. Hiking Trails, biking, fishing, boating, swimming, ice skating, and ice fishing, oh my!
- Walk, jog, hike, or bike the 1.3-mile Evergreen Lake Trail loop. Start at the Evergreen Lake House for a windy trail along a boardwalk, through the wetlands area, and then towards downtown. Take the high path into town or over the dam to the backside of the lake.
- Another lake trail is the multi-use Dedisse Trail extending across the north and west parts of the park and surrounding Evergreen Lake. The Dedisse Park is managed by Denver County but is located in Jefferson County. It is also home to Denver’s first mountain golf course, Evergreen Golf Course. Keep an eye out as elk, deer, fox, and other wildlife will also amble their way across the fairways and greens.
- A popular spot for fishing, Evergreen Lake is stocked with trout and other species. Purchase fishing licenses at local sporting goods stores.
- Evergreen Lake has been nominated multiple times as one of the top scenic destinations for ice skating.
- Choose from ts a variety of annual events at the lake too. These include Skate the Lake, (December 31), Lake Plunge (January 1), Summer Concert Series, and more.
History, Arts, and Cultural Scene
In addition to its outdoor attractions, Evergreen also has a thriving arts and culture scene.
- Evergreen Nature Center moved from its long-time Evergreen Lake location to the historic Bancroft House, east of town. All ages will enjoy the displays of real animal furs, antlers, animal and bird displays. Learn about the natural environment surrounding the lake and meet their in-house Bull Snake Jennifer and Tiger Salamander Moco.
- Visit Hiwan Heritage Park: This living homestead museum tells the story of the people who have lived in the Evergreen area for centuries. The park features a variety of historic buildings and exhibits, as well as a working farm.
- Hiwan Heritage Park and Museum: Originally built in 1893, the one-room cabin evolved into Camp Neosho. The 25-room log lodge was a summer camp for one of Colorado’s First woman physicians, Josepha Williams Douglas. It is now a living history museum that tells the story of the people who have lived in the Evergreen area for centuries. The park features a variety of historic buildings and exhibits, as well as a working farm.
- Evergreen Ovation West Performing Arts: This community theater company produces a variety of shows throughout the year.
- Center for the Arts Evergreen: Free to the public, this community center supports the surrounding area with visual and performing arts and also hosts classes workshops, exhibitions, and cultural events.
- Evergreen also hosts a number of festivals and events throughout the year, including the Evergreen Mountain Fair, and Evergreen Art Festival.
- Downtown Evergreen is home to a variety of art galleries, including the Evergreen Gallery located on Main Street.
- Downtown Evergreen is a charming mountain town with a variety of shops and restaurants. Visitors can find everything from unique boutiques to art galleries to antique stores.
- There are also a variety of restaurants to choose from, offering everything from casual fare to fine dining.
- Little Bear Saloon live music
Evergreen Breweries and Restaurants
You’ll not go hungry in Evergreen, as you can choose from a variety of restaurants ranging from Mexican to Barbeque to Burgers and Pizza. Some of my favorites include:
- Stop by the legendary Beau Jo’s for Colorado Style Pizza.
- Visit the town’s first brew pub, the Lariat Lodge Brewing Company to order local craft beer and comfort food.
- Little Bear Saloon and Restaurant is known as the Old West image complete with swinging doors, brass registers, and wooden stools. Their menu includes comfort bar food of burgers and chicken, but I’d suggest their famous buffalo burgers. Live music reigns here as well, so come on in pull up a stool, order a brew, and kick back to listen to musicians from far and wide.
- The historic El Rancho Colorado is close to I-70 and worthy of a stop with its 6 fireplaces, oak floors, and chairs built in 1948. Oh and those views of the Continental Divide from the Sunset deck!
How To Get To Evergreen, Colorado
The beauty of traveling in Colorado is road trips! If coming from Denver, visitors could make their way via I-70 West to Evergreen, and sure, you’ll take in our famous mountain views.
Colorado is the perfect road trip state, although I may be a little biased as a resident of the state. It is home to 26 Scenic and History Byways, with 13 federally designated America’s Byways. Evergreen
Road Trip: Lariat Loop National Scenic Byway
Take the 40-mile Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway and retrace the adventures of the early 1920s and the Front Range foothills west of Denver. This loop connects the Colorado towns of Golden, Morrison, Lookout Mountain, and Evergreen.