Outdoor Recreation and Dining in Evergreen, Colorado


Known for its hiking trails, scenic vistas, and abundance of wilderness, the town of Evergreen, Colorado, offers visitors an escape into the great outdoors.


  • Evergreen boasts hiking, biking, skiing, seasonal festivals, cozy cabins, local dining, and stunning mountain scenery.
  • Visitors can experience Evergreen's natural wonders along trails like Lariat Loop or during wintertime activities at ski resorts.
  • The area offers family-friendly attractions like summer camps plus events like fall festivals.

Blanketed in ponderosa pine and Douglas fir trees, Evergreen rests in the shadow of Mount Evans, one of Colorado’s famous fourteeners. There are a plethora of trails here, such as segments of the Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway, wind through pine forests, and wildflower meadows. Visitors delight in the variety of outdoor recreation available across the seasons, from hiking the Sisters of Flagstaff Trail during the spring to skiing at Echo Mountain Resort when winter snow blankets the landscape.

In addition to natural splendor, Evergreen brims with small-town charm and cultural richness. Historic buildings line the main street, now home to locally-owned shops, galleries, restaurants, and cafes. Community events like the Evergreen Rodeo and Evergreen Jazz Festival showcase local traditions and talent. The friendly community is proud of its Western heritage, which is evident in popular attractions like the Hiwan Homestead Museum and Heritage Square Music Hall.

Local Experiences and Culture

Evergreen offers visitors a window into authentic Colorado mountain culture. Local shops sell traditional wares, from buffalo fur hats to handcrafted leather boots. Restaurants serve up classic cuisine using local ingredients, such as wild game and produce from nearby farms. Signature dishes include elk tenderloin and rainbow trout.

Several cultural events spotlight Evergreen’s Western roots, like the annual Evergreen Rodeo each August. Here, you can watch professional cowboys compete in bronc riding, steer wrestling, and barrel racing. Other events include the Buffalo Bill Days festival, which celebrates the frontier legend with reenactments, contests, and live entertainment. To dive deeper into local history, take a guided tour through Historic Park County or visit the Hiwan Homestead Museum to explore a preserved 19th-century homestead.

In addition to its Old West charm, Evergreen hosts several contemporary cultural events. Each July, the Evergreen Jazz Festival draws acclaimed jazz musicians for outdoor concerts surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. Every fall, the Evergreen Arts Festival showcases over 100 Colorado artists and artisans. Visitors can browse and buy fine art, photography, jewelry, and more while enjoying live music performances.

Outdoor Adventures

Evergreen offers boundless opportunities for outdoor recreation across its forests, lakes, peaks, and valleys. Over 600 miles of hiking trails allow visitors to immerse themselves in pristine wilderness and enjoy panoramic mountain vistas. Popular hikes include the Lariat Loop, a 12-mile trail encircling Mt. Evans that passes abandoned mines and pioneer cabins. For a family-friendly hike, try the O’Fallon Park Trail, winding through a scenic valley along Bear Creek.

In winter, downhill skiing and snowboarding take center stage at Echo Mountain Park and Evergreen Lake. Groomed trails and terrain parks at Echo Mountain cater to all ability levels. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing adventures abound along the Sisters of Flagstaff Trail or through Mount Evans State Wildlife Area. Ice skating on Evergreen Lake against a snow-capped mountain backdrop creates lifelong memories.

From scenic drives along Squaw Pass Road to rock climbing the dramatic sandstone cliffs in Mount Evans Wilderness, Evergreen serves up endless outdoor recreation. Whether hiking through wildflower-filled meadows on the Alderfer/Three Sisters Trail or paddling a kayak across Buchanan Ponds, visitors connect with Colorado’s natural splendor.

Here are a few places in and near Evergreen, Colorado, for residents and visitors to enjoy:

  • Downtown Evergreen
  • Echo Lake
  • Evergreen Park
  • Bear Creek
  • Idaho Springs
  • Evergreen Golf Course
  • Arapaho National Forest
  • Mount Evans Wilderness

These are a bit farther away, but worth the day trip:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Summit Lake
  • Winter Park

Seasonal Attractions

Each season in Evergreen unfolds its own special charms. Spring welcomes wildflowers and whitewater rafting. Summer promises sunshine-filled days on hiking trails and at outdoor concerts. Fall delights with blazing golden Aspens and harvest festivals. Winter offers frosted forests and snow sports like skiing, snowboarding, and ice fishing under bluebird skies.

When spring melts the snow, the rafting season begins on Clear Creek. Outfitters lead whitewater rafting adventures through Class III-IV rapids, passing sheer cliffs and spring-fed waterfalls. From March through May, wildflowers like columbines and paintbrush bloom across mountain meadows and forests. Popular hikes to see wildflowers include O’Fallon Park Trail, Brook Forest Trail, and Echo Lake Trail.

Summer emerges in June, opening high alpine trails and beckoning visitors to sunny festivals and farmers’ markets. As temperatures climb, cool off with stand up paddleboarding at Buchanan Ponds Rec Area or by renting a boat on Evergreen Lake. At night, enjoy free concerts at Evergreen Lakehouse or performances at Heritage Square Music Hall. July brings the Evergreen Rodeo, Buffalo Bill Days, Evergreen Fine Arts Festival and more.

When fall foliage spreads across the hills in September, Evergreen blazes with golden Aspen groves popping against dark green pines. Crisp air and sunny days create ideal conditions for hiking and biking the trails. Don’t miss the Evergreen Fall Festival in September and the Annual Evergreen Oktoberfest in October.

The first snowfall signals the start of ski season by late November, where powder days and bluebird skies reign at Echo Mountain Park through April. Snow blankets the hillsides, frosting pines, and frozen creeks. Enjoy ice skating under the stars on Evergreen Lake, snowshoeing through the valley, or simply cozying up by the fire in a secluded cabin.

Family Activities

From alpine slides to summer camps, Evergreen bursts with family-friendly attractions. At Echo Mountain Park, kids delight in the tubing hill, bungee trampolines, an alpine coaster ride through the woods, and more. The friendly ski instructors make learning fun. Off the slopes, try an Evergreen Recreation Center pool or indoor rock climbing at Thimbleberry Rock Gym.

The Denver Botanic Gardens and Tropical Conservatory offer family programs year-round, like summer camps focused on plants or winter light displays. At the Hiwan Homestead Museum, kids can feed farm animals, play pioneer games, and tour historic buildings. Interactive exhibits at Mount Evans Homestead History Center let kids pan for gold, pump water, and explore homestead life.

When summertime hits, options expand to rafting, paddleboarding, hiking, and horseback riding. Consider sending kids to summer camp with the Girl Scouts or YMCA of the Rockies, where they develop outdoor skills while making friends. Endless adventures await families in Evergreen across every season!

Some events of note are the Evergreen Jazz Festival and the Evergreen Town Race.

Accommodations and Dining

Evergreen offers diverse lodging options to suit different tastes and budgets. From luxury mountain resorts to cozy cabins surrounded by pine forests, visitors will find the perfect place to call home during their stay.

The historic Evergreen Hotel, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, offers warm hospitality and comfortable accommodations in the heart of downtown. Guests praise the elegant yet rustic rooms and excellent dining at the on-site restaurant Dam Brewery. Nearby, Briarwood Inn charms visitors with its quaint Victorian-style architecture. A recent renovation updated their suites while retaining the old-world character.

Visitors seeking a peaceful mountain retreat surrounded by nature can choose from many secluded cabin rentals. These range from rustic log cabins to luxurious mountain homes featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with breathtaking views. Local property management companies like Evergreen Mountain Cabins offer curated collections of cabins to meet various tastes and group sizes.

The dining scene in Evergreen ranges from casual cafes to fine dining restaurants focused on quality, seasonal ingredients. The Wildflower Cafe crafts delicious breakfast and lunch entrees, like green chili burritos smothered in Hatch chilies. Locals flock to Cactus Jack’s Saloon, a classic watering hole serving juicy burgers and hand-cut fries. For a special night out, The Wild Rose features an extensive wine list alongside dishes like grilled elk chops with huckleberry glaze.

Getting Around Evergreen

Evergreen offers relatively straightforward transportation options for visitors. While having a car allows easy access to trailheads and attractions outside the town center, walking suffices for exploring downtown. Visitors can also utilize a limited free shuttle service in town.

The downtown area is highly walkable, with ample sidewalks and pedestrian crossings. Popular stops like the Hiwan Museum and Little Bear Saloon are less than a mile apart. Renting a car provides maximum flexibility when traveling long distances. Major rental agencies offer pick-up and drop-off locations right at Denver International Airport.

During ski season, visitors can catch the Colorado Mountain Express shuttle, which offers direct transportation to Echo Mountain Resort and other ski areas. Within Evergreen, the free Evergreen Shuttle runs limited routes connecting downtown to local trailheads and parks. Visitors should check schedules and plan accordingly to utilize the shuttle.

Scenic drives winding through the foothills let visitors soak up gorgeous vistas. Don’t miss traveling the Lariat Loop National Scenic Byway, an epic 25-mile drive offering stunning panoramas. Other beautiful routes include Squaw Pass Road, Upper Bear Creek Road, and Evergreen Parkway.

Planning Your Evergreen Getaway

With endless sights and activities across the seasons, Evergreen delights visitors year-round. But careful trip planning helps ensure you experience the best of Evergreen that matches your personal interests.

One of the most popular times to visit is during summer or fall. Summer offers long sunny days primed for outdoor adventures like hiking and boating. Fall provides cooler weather for exploring amid dazzling golden Aspen groves. Crowds thin after Labor Day, but abundant festivals continue through October.

For skiing and snowboarding, target winter months starting in mid-December when resorts open through April. Lodging prices drop substantially in spring and fall shoulder seasons, allowing budget-conscious travelers to enjoy lower rates. Spring offers fewer crowds and budding wildflowers.

Must-see attractions include Echo Mountain Park, Evergreen Lake, Mount Evans Scenic Byway, and downtown Evergreen. But don’t overlook hidden gems like O’Fallon Park, Brook Forest Trail, and Buchanan Ponds for escaping crowds. Travel early or late in the day to avoid peak times at top sites.

With its natural splendor, small-town charm, and abundance of year-round recreation, Evergreen promises visitors an unforgettable Colorado adventure. Whether hiking through wildflower meadows or racing down ski slopes, Evergreen offers authentic mountain experiences across all seasons.


What is the best time of year to visit Evergreen?

The summer and fall seasons provide ideal weather for enjoying Evergreen’s hiking trails, scenic drives, festivals, and outdoor concerts. Winter offers top-notch skiing and snowboarding. Spring brings fewer crowds and wildflower viewing.

What is there to do in Evergreen when it’s not ski season?

Year-round recreational activities include hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, boating, zip lining, and more. Cultural events happen across all seasons, like summer concerts and fall festivals. Attractions such as museums and adventure parks operate in spring through fall.

Where should visitors stay when exploring Evergreen?

Downtown Evergreen offers small inns and BandBs for a charming mountain town experience. Secluded cabins throughout the surrounding forests promise a peaceful escape from nature. Luxury resorts like Evergreen Lodge at Vail or Evergreen Mountain Retreat deliver first-class amenities and easy trail access.

What makes the dining scene special in Evergreen?

The mountain town is home to excellent restaurants utilizing fresh, seasonal ingredients. Specialties include rainbow trout, elk, bison and regional produce like Palisade peaches. Top picks range from family-owned cafes to Colorado cuisine fine dining restaurants. Don’t miss local craft beer, wine and spirits.

What is the best way to get around Evergreen without a car?

Evergreen’s small downtown area is very walkable. Visitors can also use the free Evergreen Shuttle, offering limited routes mainly during summer and winter seasons. Ride-share services provide another option, but should be booked well in advance when cell service is spotty.


About the author

James Ranson

I’m an editor, traveler, and fan of the great outdoors. I’ve been to all 48 continental US states, and my drives through Colorado’s rugged peaks and snowy forests (not to mention whiskey tastings in Denver!) still stand out in my memories. I’m excited to use my ten years of editing experience to develop engaging and informative guides and articles that enhance the outdoor experiences of both Colorado residents and visitors. Whether a piece is about exploring the best ski resorts, uncovering scenic trails for hiking, or finding the most inspiring drives through the Colorado Rockies, my aim is to provide comprehensive and accessible content that encourages adventure and exploration.