Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cub Creek Trailhead, Evergreen Colorado; A Hike through the Pine Forest and getting into the spirit!

Single aspen in a field, with pine all around
It's been about a week and a half since I hiked North Table Mountain and I had been promising the dogs all week I'd take them; Friday came and I had to fulfill my promise.  Lately, I haven't really had the desire to hike, maybe it's because the winter is here and there are no more colorful aspen leaves, the high peaks aren't very accessible or safe (by myself in the winter), and our 10th peak over 14,000 feet late this summer was Mt. Elbert; Colorado's tallest mountain and the second tallest in the continental USA.  So, I am kind of feeling like what else is out there? And what can I do in the winter that will be new and interesting when the higher peaks aren't accessible safely?  
I forced myself to get into the car, and by 9:30am I was heading up I-70 toward Evergreen and thinking to myself that I wasn't really in the 'holiday' spirit this year and I didn't really want to hike.  Then I thought of my former co-worker who used to listen to KOZI 101.1 all through the holiday season in our small office and they play only Christmas music at this time of year.  While I was very sick of it by the time Christmas rolled around, it was nice now and then, so I turned it on only to hear some cheezy Gloria Estefan songs and I nearly changed it but some jazz Christmas music came on, and suddenly I was getting excited for the upcoming holidays and for the hike. 

Getting there:  This trail is very near to the Lower Maxwell Falls trailhead, just 2.5 miles farther up the road.  To get there drive to Evergreen Colorado and continue south where Hwy 74 and 73 intersect, at the center of town.  Turn right or South onto Highway 73 and drive about .9 of a mile to Brook Forest Road and turn right.  Take Brook Forest Road for almost exactly 6 miles (*hint* use the odometer on your car) until you see a sign for "Cub Creek Trailhead", turn right after the sign on a dirt road which immediately leads to the parking lot.  As long as you see the sign, you won't miss the hike.  Here is the google map to the intersection. 
End of fall and beginning of winter
Specs: There are no bathrooms at the large parking lot, which was completely deserted at 10am on a Friday morning.  There is no mileage on the signs, the trail is part of the Mt. Evans Wilderness.  Dogs offleash easily without any people around and there werent' any signs with dog leash laws. 

The Journey: When I left the house Friday morning, I was actually planning on trying to find the "Upper Maxwell Falls trailhead", I have hiked the Lower falls, and have read there are "upper" falls, but I haven't found the parking lot yet.  A blog that I had read gave me some hint that the trailhead and parking lot to the upper falls were a few miles past the lower trailhead.  So, I turned on my odometer, and started up Brook Forest Road in search of the trail, passing the trailhead to the Lower Falls after 3.5 miles.  I continued up the road and eventually came to a section where there were several houses, and the Brook Forest Inn.  I kept going and soon saw a "national forest land" sign which gave me hope that I was close, shortly after that was the sign pointing to Cub Creek Trailhead.  I turned right, and right again immediately and drove a short distance (100 yards) to the large parking lot.  Even though this wasn't Upper Maxwell Falls, I wasn't going to be picky, it was a new trail that I hadn't hiked before and I was ready to hit the trail!  
 The lot was deserted, and I parked right in front of the trail, got out and started walking.  Immediately, I remembered the other reason I hadn't been hiking recently; my MP3 player was broken and I missed listening to the music while hiking.  However, the sounds of the forest became mesmerizing and I listened to the birds and squirrels chirp, and the wind blow through the evergreen trees as I walked along.  
The pine forest was thick and bright green in contrast to the fresh dusting of snow, as the trail continued through the pine forest, then out into small meadows before entering the forest again.  
Dog Rock hiking through tunnel of trees

It was an easy to hike trail with a gradual incline the entire way, but nothing extreme.  There were small national forest markers at trail intersections, but no signs or mileage, and since I wasn't familiar with the trails, I just kept straight on the main trail.  Eventually I came to two trail crossings within a few hundred feet of each other, at the second was a large old growth aspen grove.  I decided to turn right here and follow this trail, which immediately split again and I chose right again, which basically was taking me back the way I came, but on a different trail.  This lead me to more trail intersections but I stayed straight and then eventually to a small pond that was frozen over and there was a house up over the bluff.  I was concerned about trespassing, so I turned around and started walking back.  It was 11:15 by this time and I had hiked for more than an hour.  
I followed my trails back the way I came, and made it to my truck less than an hour later feeling refreshed, happy and ready for my next hike.  Even though it is winter, there are still amazing trails, solidarity on hikes with less people and crisp snow against the evergreen trees for me to enjoy. 

If you know of any 'less known' hikes in the front range area, peaks, or trails that are hikeable in winter PLEASE post, I'd love to check them out! 

Lime Green Ear Flap Hat available on etsy, great for hiking! 

Berries on the trail

Click on map below to input your own address for personal directions

View Larger Map


  1. Question, do you do any snowshoeing? I am pregnant this ski season and am looking for some alternative mountain activities! I will be checking into trails around Winter Park since that is where we will be going most of the winter, but I was just curious if you've every done much snowshoeing?

  2. I love to snowshoe! My favorite places to go are St. Mary's Glacier and then anywhere in Evergreen when the snow is deep enough. I hope to review some trails in snowshoes this winter for sure!

  3. Oh, I'd love to chat more about hiking while pregnant and with a new baby ~~~ Colorado mom's are so awesome and I think it's a great topic. Message me sometime and we can chat :)

  4. There is a little known hike at the intersection vicinity of Stagecoach and Witter Gulch Road. The trail goes up the back side of Bergen Peak...called Bergen Peak trail.
    The hike is about 2 miles to the peak...4 miles round-trip. The start is steep, but levels out until the valley just at the base of the peak.