There is nothing more Colorado than an escape to the mountains. And while many Colorado mountain towns are best done on an overnight trip, Evergreen is an easy day trip from Denver. Our frequent visits have uncovered many adventures and fun things to do in Evergreen Colorado.
Whether it’s a mountain escape from Denver or a stop before the scenic drive to Mount Evans, here are all the best things to do in Evergreen CO.
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About Evergreen, CO
- The mountain town is an easy day trip from many cities along the Front Range. About 45 minutes from Denver, an hour from Boulder, and 1 1/2 hours from Colorado Springs.
- Originally named “The Post,” the town’s name changed to Evergreen for the forests of evergreens and old-growth trees throughout the area.
- The area was once a hunting ground for the Ute Tribe.
- Home to several open space parks, there’s more than outdoor recreation in Evergreen. The town is also known for arts, music, and dining.
- At 7,200 feet in elevation, Evergreen is an ideal spot to acclimate to the altitude before heading further into the mountains.
Things to Do in Evergreen Colorado
From outdoor activities to arts and dining, here is everything you want on your list of what to do in Evergreen CO.
Endless Outdoor Recreation at Evergreen Lake and Dedisse Park
29612 Upper Bear Creek Rd
Evergreen Lake is the highlight of the area, located within Dedisse Park. In the summer months, you can’t miss the colorful SUPs, kayaks, and paddleboats that dot Evergreen Lake as you come into town.
The park and public lake are filled with fun activities making it easy to spend the entire day at the mountain lake. Several recreational activities, except swimming, are permitted on the lake.
Paddle On the Lake
Take your paddleboard, kayak, or canoe out on the lake, or rent one from the Evergreen Lake House. Pedal boats are also available for rent.
Rentals are by the hour, and boaters must wear life jackets. Check the website for rental hours and rates.
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Fishing is one of our favorite get-outside activities. Evergreen Lake, stocked with rainbow trout, is the perfect setting to bring the kids out to see what they can catch. A Colorado fishing license is required for ages 16+.
Hike Around the Lake
Walk the partially paved trail along the 1.3-mile path around the lake. The eastern side of the lake, where Bear Creek meets the dam, is the perfect spot playing at the water’s edge.
Visit the Evergreen Nature Center
A historic warming hut is now home to the Evergreen Nature Center. Let kids explore the interactive displays, like the Touch Table, and meet the Center’s bull snake and tiger salamander.
The Evergreen chapter of the National Audubon Society founded the Center. One of the highlights of their efforts is the Annual Birding Challenge. Print their list to see how many of the variety of birds you can find at Evergreen Lake.
Picnic at the Lake
Pack lunch and head to the park for a lakeside picnic. There are ten picnic tables around the lake, or find a grassy area to lay a blanket for lunch.
Need some ideas? Our list of road trip food and meal ideas has plenty of packable and portable options.
Attend One of Evergreen’s Events
Visit Evergreen during any of the annual events hosted by the Evergreen Parks & Recreation District.
- A free concert series on Wednesday nights on the lawn of the lake house. The Evergreen Lake Summer Concert Series schedule is posted on the website.
- The annual Easter Egg Hunt is a favorite springtime event for the kiddos. Meet the Easter Bunny, compete in games, and more.
- Compete in the Evergreen Trail Race Series, a three-race event held in June, July, and August. Kids can participate in August’s Kid’s Triathlon event.
The Dam Duck Derby, an event hosted by Downtown Evergreen, funds the Annual Downtown Evergreen Holiday Walk, held in December. And don’t miss the Halloween Walk on October 31!
Experience Evergreen Lake in the Winter
One of our favorite unique Colorado experiences is winter on Evergreen Lake. In the winter, the lake turns into the world’s largest Zamboni-groomed outdoor ice rink. Admission is only $7; skate rentals are available in the Evergreen Lake House, and lessons and food are also available on-site.
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Golf in the Mountains
29614 Upper Bear Creek Road
e Evergreen Golf Course, operated by Denver Golf Parks & Recreation, is an 18-hole executive course that sits at 7,200 in elevation. The pine tree-filled course is the perfect place to beat the heat in the summer months. The mountain location makes it an ideal place to spot wildlife, like elk, on the course.
Looking for a place to work out during your stay in Evergreen or a place to escape for indoor activities when the weather isn’t cooperating? Evergreen Parks & Recreation District operates two recreation centers. The facilities have weight lifting, cardio, climbing, indoor pools, and more. Wulf Recreation Center (5300 Olive Road) and Buchanan Recreation Center (32003 Ellingwood Trail).
Explore Downtown Evergreen Colorado
Evergreen has a bustling downtown area filled with shops and galleries along Bear Creek.
Explore the Art Galleries
See Performing Arts in Evergreen
Experience the performing arts at one of Evergreen’s theaters.
- Center Stage (27608 Fireweed Dr) is home to the Evergreen Chorale and musical performances like Ragtime.
- You can also find performances at the Colorado Children’s Theater (27972 Meadow Dr) and the Evergreen Players (27886 Meadow Dr).
Shop in Downtown Evergreen
Pick up souvenirs or find additions to your art collection at the shops and galleries along Bear Creek Road. Stop into shops for locally made goods.
- Silver Arrow Jewelry
- Seasonally Yours / Mountain Man Fruit & Nut
- Evergreen Crafters
- Evergreen Clothing & Mercantile
Things to Do Around Evergreen, CO
The lake and downtown might be the town’s highlights, but there is much more to do in Evergreen.
Drive Mount Evans Scenic Byway
Evergreen is a short drive to Mount Evans, the highest paved road in North America. Drive the 14-mile Mount Evans Scenic Byway to one of Colorado’s famous 14-ers (mountain peaks with elevations of at least 14,000 feet). It’s one of only two 14-ers that can be reached by car (the other is Pike’s Peak). Due to its popularity, the road only opens in summer and requires timed-entry reservations.
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Explore Hiwan Heritage Park
28473 Meadow Drive
Explore indoors and out at Evergreen’s historic 25-room home that is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building was constructed in 1893 as a residence known as Camp Neosho, and in 1938, it was turned into a Hereford cattle ranch. Free tours of the Hiwan Museum require a reservation, but visitors can tour the outdoor space and the old-growth ponderosa grove anytime.
Hit the Trails at Alderfer/Three Sisters Park
Head to Alderfer/Three Sisters Park for trails fit for any skill level. Jefferson County Open Space manages these forested trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
These three trails all include climbs to stunning views of Evergreen and beyond:
- Easy: Three Sisters Trail and Little Brother Trail (2.5 miles)
- Moderate: add Brother’s Lookout to the Three Sisters Loop Trail (2 miles) or the Evergreen Mountain Trail (4.2 miles)
- For a more difficult trail, take the Evergreen Mountain Trail (via the East and West Trail Loop) for a 5.5-mile hike that includes a climb to Evergreen Mountain.
Hike to a Waterfall in Evergreen Colorado
The Maxwell Falls Trail is a 4.6-mile easy-to-moderate trail along Maxwell Creek. The trail runs between the Upper and Lower Maxwell Falls trailheads, but the falls are closer to the Upper Maxwell Falls trailhead. The waterfalls are at their peak in the spring, but trails are more crowded, so arrive early.
Go Mountain Biking at Elk Meadow Park
Elk Meadow Park in Evergreen is a popular spot for mountain biking. There are 37 miles of multi-use trails within the park, offering a range of trails for any ability level. The park is also open to hikers, so plan to share the trails.
Ones to try:
- Elk Meadow & Bergen Peak Loop. The 11-mile challenging trail leads bikers (and hikers) to the gorgeous views from Bergen Peak.
- Pioneer Trail. The 3-mile trail, rated easy-moderate, runs between Elk Meadow Park and Evergreen Lake.
Visit Evergreen’s Breweries
When in Colorado, one must end a day of adventure at a local brewery. Evergreen Colorado is home to two family-friendly breweries with full lunch and dinner menus. Lariat Lodge Brewing Co. and Evergreen Brewery & Taphouse are a few minutes from downtown.
The Best Evergreen Colorado Restaurants
There are plenty of restaurants with a wide variety of delicious meal options in downtown Evergreen.
- Cactus Jack’s Saloon & Grill is an ideal spot along the creek with something for everyone. We loved the wings served with sauce on the side, so they stay crispy. There are also a lot of fun combinations for the burgers. 4651 County Hwy 73
- The upscale Willow Creek Restaurant offers locally sourced dishes with gorgeous lake and mountain views. 29029 Upper Bear Creek Rd
- Murphy’s Mountain Grill (27906 Bear Creek Rd), where you’ll find salads, sandwiches, fantastic burgers, and milkshakes.
- You can’t visit Colorado without trying Colorado-style pizza. Beau Jo’s Pizza offers some of the best and is another spot with waterfront seating. 28186 Bear Creek Rd
- Or, head out of downtown Evergreen to Echo Lake Lodge (13264 Chicago Creek Rd, Idaho Springs). There isn’t actually a lodge here anymore, but there is an excellent restaurant (and gift shop). 2023 Update: After more than 50 years in business, the lease was not renewed for Echo Lake Lodge, and they permanently closed their doors at the end of the 2022 season.
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Where to Stay in Evergreen
Making it more than a day trip? There are plenty of excellent lodging options in Evergreen.
- Comfort Suites (29300 US-40, near Evergreen Parkway) is the closest chain hotel.
- or a stay with all the mountain vibes, check out The Alpen Way Chalet Mountain Lodge (4980 Hwy 73), with three suites and a cabin large enough for families. Highland Haven Creekside Inn (4395 Independence Trail, near downtown Evergreen Colorado) has a selection of rooms, cottages, and even a treehouse.
- Bring your tent and camp at the Echo Lake Park campground. There are 17 campsites at Echo Lake Campground for both tents and RVs.
Evergreen, Colorado, is an unforgettable mountain escape near Denver. There are plenty of outdoor adventures, shopping, arts, and more. This list has all the best activities to make it easy to plan what to do in Evergreen CO on your visit.
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