Natural Highs: Evergreen’s Elk Meadow Loop

The gravel trembles as your tires rotate and the earth pivots on its axis, gravity giving you all that you want as you grip your handlebars with anxious tension. You bounce over rocky terrain while the topography in front of you rolls up and down, the trail slicing through the thick trees. You are exhilarated with the rush of emotions flowing through your veins, braking at exactly the right moments in order to keep yourself from careening off the trail. Dew from the foggy morning drips silently from the surrounding shrubberies, the fresh scent of rain on pines stimulating your sensory glands and delving into your conscious. The intoxicating natural high you get from this cool mountain air as it rushes over your face is refreshing. Aren’t you glad you finally dusted off that old, trusty mountain bike and made your way up to Evergreen?

Elk Meadow Park is a gorgeous, multi-terrain loop that is very easy to find and acts as a perfect trail for people who want a fairly easy bike ride or decent hike/trail run that holds some beautiful scenery and elevation change. You will ride through lush green forests, hilly open tree-scapes, and venture out into a vast meadow where birds, bees, and flowers create a peaceful landscape in which to frolic. The uphill stages aren’t too tough for beginners, but still hold enough elevation change to give you a nice workout. The downhills can be very fast, but if you know how to use your handbrakes, you will not have a problem keeping yourself under control. The trail is fairly smooth most of the way, but you will ride over some rocky areas or come across protruding tree roots.

From the trail head, you can either head left and climb steadily into a heavily forested area and then back down into the meadow, or you can start right and take yourself down into a grassy field which wraps around to the meadow from the other side. I sat for over an hour simply taking it all in and contemplating life as the breeze wafted the fresh scent of wildflowers across my nostrils. Overall, the trail is a 6 mile loop, which makes for a great afternoon or an early morning.

You can get to the park by taking I-70 to exit 252 and heading down 74 to Lewis Ridge Road. The whole area is visible from the highway, and the parking lot is right off the road. If you have a bike, and a day off, this is the perfect place to enjoy a little nature without having to do any rigorous climbing or searching.

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