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Elk Meadow Loop

 4.2 (13)
Trail Mapped Wrong?

Length

5.2 Miles 8.4 Kilometers

97%

Runnable

Elevation

513' 156 m

Ascent

-527' -161 m

Descent

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

17%

Max Grade (10°)

8,083' 2,464 m

High

7,562' 2,305 m

Low

Conditions


All Clear 21 days ago

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A scenic loop traveling through both an open meadow and old-growth forest.

Mikhaila Redovian

Overview [Suggest Changes]

The park is closed an hour before sundown and reopens an hour before dawn.
This is a lovely loop which ascends the Sleepy S Trail from Elk Meadow into the pine forest surrounding Bergen Peak. Sleepy S Trail turns into the Meadow View Trail shortly after where you drop back into the meadow and join the Painter's Pause Trail. Painter's Pause Trail empties into the parking lot, returning you back to the starting point.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife [Add/Remove]
Dogs: Leashed

Need to Know [Suggest Changes]

If running the route counter-clockwise, the Painter's Pause Trail is subtly uphill and in direct sunlight, especially in the AM. On hot summer days, water can be a lifesaver!

Runner Notes [Suggest Changes]

This route demands your full attention in parts, as exposed rocks and roots pose a trip hazard.

Description [Suggest Changes]

Depending on your opinion of hills, it is easier to run this loop clockwise, so as to climb in the shade and gain most of the elevation in the beginning. In order to do so, take a left from the trailhead on the Sleepy S Trail and begin the run heading southwest towards Bergen Peak.

For the first two miles, the trail is rolling, with a net elevation gain. There will be an intersection with the Elk Ridge Trail but continue straight on Sleepy S. The trail winds south before turning back north and west, and heading uphill at a steeper incline.

There is a beautiful shelter about halfway up the hill, which provides a great place to catch your breath and enjoy the forest. Once you're about two miles in, the trail begins to drop in net elevation, while remaining rolling. As the trail descends, the landscape changes from forest to more open meadow, affording expansive views of Bergen Park. The Sleepy S Trail eventually turns into the Meadow View Trail along the way.

If 5 miles seems a bit long, there is a bail-out point at the intersection of the Meadow View Trail, and the Founders Trail, which shortens the loop by about a mile. If you're in for the whole tuna, continue on the Meadow View Trail as it makes a sharp right turn, and dead-ends into the Painter's Pause Trail. Take the right, and enjoy the fast descent into the parking lot!

When running through the grassland of the Painter's Pause Trail, keep a look out for bluebirds and speckled woodpeckers, as they often nest there.

Flora & Fauna [Suggest Changes]

Elk Meadow takes its name from the large herds of elk that inhabit the area, but don't be surprised to see deer or the occasional coyote. During summer months, the meadow is also a haven for brilliant blue birds, woodpeckers, and a variety of hawks. Be alert during dawn/dusk hours, as mountain lions have been sighted in the area!

History & Background [Suggest Changes]

Visible from the parking lot is the original Bergen Barn, a well-maintained relic of the first settlers of the area. A common stop on the logging route, the Bergen's established one of the first general stores in the region.

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Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

May 20, 2018
George McCague
4.7mi
Apr 16, 2018
Kelly Burton
Oct 29, 2017
MealyM Mealy
5.4mi
Oct 1, 2017
Lynda Wacht
Sep 3, 2017
Tracy Weiman
Added extra incline up Bergen peak trail 6.4mi
Aug 27, 2017
Jen McMurtrey
Aug 20, 2017
Todd Bracken
5mi
Jul 21, 2017
Kelly Tuomala
5.5mi

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 13 votes

#1478

Overall
  4.2 from 13 votes
5 Star
15%
4 Star
85%
3 Star
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2 Star
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1 Star
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Rankings

#213

in Colorado

#1,478

Overall
261 Views Last Month
2,432 Since Jul 29, 2015
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