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Bergen Peak Trail, Elk Meadow Park in Evergreen
Distance: 10.5 miles round-trip
Shade is the saving grace of this lengthy climb to the summit of 9,701-foot Bergen Peak. Long switchbacks, knotted with roots and rocks, help you traverse the 2,000 or so feet of elevation gain over approximately five miles. The first section, Meadow View Trail, is an easy romp past fir and pine trees. The climb begins in earnest about one mile in, where Bergen Peak Trail officially starts, but it’s at the three-mile marker where you’ll start to test your legs on sustained, rocky ascents that are gratefully broken up with some flatter segments. The junction with Too Long Trail (see “Alternate Route” below) marks the beginning of the final push. The switchbacks tighten until you make one last swing around the hillside and reach the aspen-dotted summit and its sweeping valley views.
Who Will Love This Trail: Hikers seeking big mountain vibes without a long drive; leaf peepers (the latter part of the trail and the summit are bedecked with aspens); hikers with dogs
Alternate Route: Want to extend the hike? Take Too Long Trail on the way down to tack on an extra mile.