Apex Park was one of my early trail finds in Denver, and consequently I have had the chance to watch the scenery evolve from a slushy, muddy mess into the beautiful green trail it is today. Actually, I remember going for a trail run at Apex the day after my first snowboarding experience during the winter. The trail was so icy in one part that I literally had to sit down and slide down the trail, which was maybe the most painful experience of my life since I was so battered and bruised from snowboarding. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know any better though, because if I had known how nice the trail could be in the spring and summer I may have never toughed out any of those winter trail runs.
I have run at Apex at least 15-20 times, and I think it is one of my all-around favorites in terms of convenience and trail offerings. Of course it is a Jefferson County Open Space Park and it is actually really close to Denver. Technically Apex is located in Golden, but it’s a completely reasonable 20 minute drive away from Denver. The park is also historical, as the trails used to be part of the roads that led to Central City during the gold rush days. Obviously I’m the cool girl that stops and reads the historical signs along the trail. Anyway, the park cuts in between two foothills and because of this the terrain is pretty varied and feels secluded from the city. One of the outer trails, the Pick’n’Sledge Trail, climbs up the side of one of the foothills and the landscape consists mainly of scrubby underbrush and few trees. However if you get further into the park the trails are completely different.
I like to take the main Apex Trail, which is very pleasant and runs along a creek, back to the Enchanted Forest Trail, which I think justifiably can be described as an enchanted forest. Once you get back to this trail, you are completely immersed in a dense, shady pine tree forest and soft pine tree needles cover the trail. Unfortunately I have no pictures of the Enchanted Forest. I never run with my camera and any pictures that I take are always done post-run. It’s a good 20 minute run back to the Enchanted Forest Trail, but one day I am going to either have to hike back there or carry my camera with me while I run because it is truly awesome.
Apex Park during the spring/summer
The trail is fairly popular with mountain bikers, so I always would recommend trying to go at off times during the week. On the weekends this trail gets pretty packed, but as a graduate student I currently have the luxury of being able to go running at weird times. I know that I will soon be starting my summer job and working during the days, so I am trying to enjoy as many trail runs as I can right now!
Apex Trail = The reason I invested in trail running shoes