Apex Trail > Enchanted Forest Trail > Apex Trail
Starting Elevation: Approximately 6200 Ft
Highest Elevation: Approximately 7400 Ft, elevation gain is 1200Ft, but the trail goes up and down so the total gain was likely more.
Trail Length: 5.8 miles is what we did but there are more options to make it longer.
Trail Uses: Hiking Biking (portions of the path go only one way on odd-numbered days) Skiing & Snow shoeing
Degree of Difficulty: Moderate
Bathrooms: Yes at the trailhead – and the trail is pretty exposed with a lot of traffic.
Pets: Yes but dogs have to be on leash.
We learned about this hike from 2 sources, my hiking superhero Wendy and a coworker of Aaron’s. It has been on my to do for a while but I was saving it for a bad weather weekend, this weekend we were going to originally going to retry Ben Tyler #606 but there was snow forecasted for Friday night into Saturday in the nearest town which meant 11,700 was undoable. Apex Park is pretty close to home and really easy to get to off of I-70. We started out pretty exhausted as our bed is on the outs and we have been trying to ignore how badly we need a new mattress. We hit our usual hiking breakfast of bagel sandwiches from Einsteins and as I was chowing it down I thought hmmmm this ham tastes a little odd….. and about an hour into the hike I discovered that in fact I was right. But I wanted to finish at least a short hike and really ham should wait 3-4 hours before the stomach really got bad so I figured I would push it…. we have not had much luck lately!
Any-who….. The trail itself starts off from the north corner of the Heritage Square lower parking lot. The first stretch is just along this parking lot not very exciting with a nice a steady climb, at the first trail break we stayed left to follow the Apex Trail:
It was also an unusually cloudy day (did you know that Colorado is one of the sunniest states in the country with an average of 320 days of sun a year?) , which made the terrain seem a little gloomy. The trail goes straight back between those 2 mountains in the above picture. This is a favorite of bikers but apparently there were a number of reported incidents with bikers being dangerous and ignoring the rules so Jefferson County Open space changed the rules by implementing a ticket system and having several stretches of the trail allow only one-way bike traffic on odd-numbered days….today was an odd-numbered day so there weren’t too many bikes.
We came across the first trail break at the Pick N Sledge trail pretty quickly:
We stayed straight on Apex Trail, but notice the map this is at almost every trail break so it is nice and easy to stay on track. It is just under a mile to the next trail break at the Sluice box:
At this point I started to feel the effect of that not tasting right ham and started to worry a little… so we decided that we would make it a shorter hike then planned, and just do the Apex trail instead of trying to get the Grubstake Loop where the views are supposed to be at.
When we got to the Enchanted Forest Trail, the surrounding terrain changed considerably to a lovely forest ( probably why it was named enchanted forest). Lots of pretty pines and huge boulders, my favorite part of the hike.
I am not going to lie, things got pretty bad for me here and my focus was to not get sick as opposed to the hike. When we got to the last trail break for us that day and followed the Apex trail all the way back to the car, I was thrilled and a little worried about my chances of getting back to the car without an incident.
From the 6-ish miles we hiked, the trail seemed very nice and I honestly cannot wait to get back to try our original route under better circumstances. I also think this is best in fall, spring and summer, but not too bad in winter. My state of sickness did not make pictures a priority and I(really Aaron at that point) got just few so that we could keep moving. Here is the only one of Aaron and I, he took as we were walking in an effort to finish as quickly as we could…. I look miserable!
The next couple of weeks will be crazy with travel and holidays so I am not sure I will get a true hike done, but I will likely get some type of walking in so I will post anything that makes sense. Just in case I get no walks in, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!!
Directions to the Hike:
Take 70 west out of Denver to the Morrison Exit #259, Travel 1 mile North on Route 40. Take a left into Heritage Square. Take your first right and enter a large parking area – on the north end is the trailhead….You can’t miss it!