Half of popular Jeffco open space area will close until spring 2025

More than half of popular Elk Meadow Park near Evergreen has been closed for a major improvement project that is expected to take until next spring to complete.

Jefferson County Open Space officials closed the southern half of the park on Monday to make way for a project that will include a major rebuild of the Stagecoach trailhead. Crews also will be working on trail maintenance and the removal of some trees to enhance forest health.

Elk Meadow Park is well-known as a haven for hiking, trail running and elk watching. It is located south of Bergen Park, stretching for three miles along the west side of Colorado State Highway 74. When fully open it has 14.7 miles of trails that include a 2,100-foot climb from the Stagecoach trailhead to 9,708-foot Bergen Peak.

Hikers at Elk Meadow Park in Evergreen, Colorado on Tuesday, July 9, 2024. (Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

“Stagecoach trailhead is one the oldest trailheads in our system,” said Jeffco Open Space spokesman Chris Barker. “It’s over 40 years old. We are replacing a really inefficient restroom there that is not very convenient for park visitors, and that restroom is over 30 years old. The trailhead parking capacity will be increased by two-thirds. We’re adding an accessible picnic area and some modern amenities, including EV chargers.”

While the Stagecoach trailhead is closed, the Lewis Ridge trailhead remains open. Trails that are closed until further notice include Elk Summit, Ever So Green, Elk Ridge, Bergen Peak, Sleepy S and Meadow View. Trails remaining open are Painter’s Pause, Founders, Too Long and Noble Meadow.

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“Instead of doing numerous closures sprinkled over a long period of time, we’re trying to package this closure to do forest health management, trailhead improvements and trail maintenance,” Barker said. “By lumping those together, we can reduce the amount of time that this section of the park is closed.”

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Barker said the current extent of the closure likely will remain until the fall, and that areas will reopen in stages as work is completed.

“The closures will slowly shrink,” Barker said. “This is Phase One, so this is going to be the largest closure. As the forest health work finishes, we can reopen quite a few of those trails. Then, once all of the forest health and trail maintenance is complete, it will shrink even further. Phase Three will basically be just the Stagecoach trailhead and the trail from Stagecoach. The trailhead work will take the longest amount of time, but the smallest closure.”

Flowers bloom at Elk Meadow Park in Evergreen, Colorado on Tuesday, July 9, 2024. (Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

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