Why Evergreen Is Colorado's Best-Kept Outdoorsy Secret

This mountain getaway feels far away but is a short drive from Denver

Evergreen Lake
••• Evergreen Lake is an outdoor paradise not far from Denver. Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce

Want to lose your troubles in the mountains, surround yourself with green trees, and get a little dirt on your hands, but you don’t have endless money or time off from work?

Evergreen, Colorado is a favorite local getaway for people visiting or living in Denver who want a quick mountain excursion without hours on I-70 in traffic. Evergreen is a short 15- to 30- minute drive west of Denver — about the closest mountain experience you can get from the city.

6 Fun Things to Do in Evergreen, Colorado

Here are our six favorite ways to enjoy the outdoors in Evergreen.

1. Follow the water.  

Evergreen Lake offers stand-up paddleboarding, fishing and boating. On special occasions (every other summer Saturday through August), look for night boating, where you can coast across the waters under the stars until 10 p.m. Or travelers can rent a Holder 12 sailboat, after a two-hour lesson on how to rig and skipper the boat. Looking for a way to entertain the little ones this summer? Evergreen features a youth sailing camp for kids age 9 to 16. 

If you enjoy the SUP experience, hop over to Buchanan Ponds for paddleboard fitness classes.

After getting wet, have a picnic at Evergreen Lake Park, 55 acres with picnic tables and a short trail. The lake is also stocked with fish, if you have your fishing license.

In the winter, this lake becomes an ice-skating paradise. 

The Evergreen Lake Trail is an easy hike (er, saunter) for just over a mile around the lake. While you're not going to get an extreme workout, this loop is appealing for the views: of canoes gliding across the water and rolling hills not too far in the distance. Bring your camera.  

2. Hit the pavement.

Evergreen boasts a great Trail Running Series, including the Evergreen Mountain 15K on July 9. The series spans five different mountain races, from a 5K to the challenging, 2,000-plus-vertical-foot half-marathon to the top of Bergen Peak. The Bergen Peak Half Marathon, Aug. 27, peaks at an elevation above 9,000 feet. We’re talking hard core.

Kids can sign up for Evergreen’s youth trail-running class, located on the trails at the Three Sisters Park and Alderfer Ranch. This park features more than four miles of developed trails and spans 335 acres.

3. Touch nature.

The Evergreen Nature Center is a way to learn more about the area’s natural surroundings and animals — hand’s on. Touch real fur and antlers in this historic hut scenically located on the lake.

Then go for a guided bird hike with a naturalist with the Evergreen Naturalists Audubon Society, a local group that promotes the education and conservation of natural resources. The society also organizes kid hikes. 

4. Get outside — in downtown.

While Mother Nature is what draws many visitors to Evergreen, its downtown is also charming and worth a visit. Walk through the quaint, old-fashioned-feeling downtown and browse more than 180 shops.

Or for the real old-timey experience, take a horse-drawn trolley down Main Street. Stop at the Hiwan Homestead Museum, inside an old log lodge with relics as old as the 1800s.  

5. Do yoga in the park.

New this year: an evening yoga class at the Alderfer Barn. Get your zen, while you realign and reconnect with your body, in an environment that lends itself to peace and relaxation.

6. Get festive.

Although Evergreen is not a big town, it has some big festivals that draw people from across the state. In the spring, there's the Taste of Evergreen. The summer has the Evergreen Lake Summer Concert Series and the Evergreen Rodeo and Parade.