Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,000.00 ft (304.80 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
3.60 mi (5.79 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Loaded with history, Apex Park is a pleasantly rugged, rustic valley just west of Golden. The Apex Trail itself, follows the path of the Apex and Gregory Wagon Road, which back in the day was one of only three wagon routes leading the gold fields in Central City (located to the west). Along the trail hikers are treated to an old-timey sign listing road tolls: 60 cents for every wagon or vehicle drawn by one pair of horses, mules, or cattle, or oxen. Sheep herders had to pay 10 cents per head to move their flock along the road and so on. 

Apex Park is part of the Jefferson County (JeffCo) Open Space system for this trail network JeffCo has implemented strict use guidelines to better manage pedestrians and mountain bikers. A portion of the trail system is open only to hikers, trail runners, and horses on odd calendar days and open to only mountain bikers on even calendar days. Using the trail on an off day can result in a minimum $100 fine. Plus, all mountain biking traffic is one-way only. The rules may sound strict, but the ultimate goal is to give everyone a more pleasant experience. Depending on your activity, it's important to know the calendar day because part of the Apex Park Loop includes sections of trail that are subject to these restrictions. The restrictions are a small hassle, but they are worth it. 

For a beautiful 3.3 mile hike, start at one of the Enchanted Forest Trail spurs, a short switchback trail called Poco Calle. Using Poco Calle as the trailhead sets you up for an interesting change in elevation. Instead of hiking up and then down as with most mountain trails, Poco Calle trailhead represents the highest point in the loop. After a fifth of a mile descent, turn right onto Enchanted Forest. For the most part the trail continues downhill but there are some uphill portions. It's easy to see why the trail is called enchanted. The single track moves up and down and around, going through pine tree and cottonwood tunnels alongside a pleasant stream.

Enchanted Forest goes for 1 mile and then becomes the Magic Mountain Trail for a short distance. Poco Calle, Enchanted Trail and Magic Mountain are all part of the restricted trail portion. After popping out of the woods, the trail opens up into meadows, aspen groves and valley views of downtown Denver in the distance. After crossing the stream you climb up the valley's southern facing slope. There are scattered pine trees across a much more open landscape. Go up Paydirt Trail, turn left at the fork along Hardcrabble Trail, which leads to Apex Trail (that historic toll route). After 1 mile on Apex Trail, stay to your left and hook back up to Enchanted Forest. After about one-third mile you connect back to the base of Poco Calle to complete your loop. 

 

 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Diverse ecosystems. Wildlife.

Cons

Limited trail access. Often crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

7,400.00 ft (2,255.52 m)

Highest point

7,400.00 ft (2,255.52 m)

Features

Big Game Watching
Wildflowers
Bird watching
Wildlife
Near lake or river
Horseback riding

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking
Horseback

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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