Trailhead: Heritage Square Parking Lot
Activities: Hiking, Mountain Biking
Closest City / Town: Golden, Colorado (Denver)
- Take I-70 to the Morrison Exit (Exit 259);
- Get off on the Morrison Exit, and then hang a right (north);
- East access is on the northeast corner of the Heritage Square parking lot;
- The trailhead is well signed.
Hiking Distance: 5.6 Miles (roundtrip)
Description: The Enchanted Forest Loop in Jefferson County’s Apex Park is probably the least used route in the open space – especially during the winter months. This route closely parallels the old Apex and Gregory Wagon Road.
The route is relatively gentle. From the Heritage Square Trailhead, hike 2.5 miles up the Apex Trail. This trail is well delineated and should not be difficult to follow. Once you reach the top (west end) of Apex Park, hang a left (heading south) on the Enchanted Mesa Trail. Follow the Enchanted Mesa Trail for 1.3 miles; you’ll eventually run back into the Apex Trail. Hang a right (east) on the Apex Trail, following it back down to the parking lot.
Worth Noting: Apex Park is full to the brim with historical value. The Apex and Gregory Wagon Road was carved through Apex Gulch and was one of the primary early routes to the gold camps of Central City. Apex City, where tolls were collected to travel the Road, was located at the bottom of Apex Gulch near the present location of the Heritage Square Shopping Center.
The mining supply town was constructed on top of an ancient Indian campground. The location provided the perfect lookout for approaching enemies and buffalo herds. Additionally, it provided greater shelter during the winter from storms that ravaged the mountains and plains.
Other Information: This hike can be made longer by linking up with the Pick N’ Sledge Loop, which is also located in Jefferson County’s Apex Park.
Community Member Trip Reports: Kelly S. (July 15, 2016)