Summit & Meadow Trails, Pence Park
Denver Mountain Parks
Directions: Pence Park is a Denver Mountain Park up Bear Creek Canyon near Kittridge. From Morrison take Bear Creek Road (74) west. Pass Corwina Park, and O'Fallon Park and make a left (south) on Meyers Gulch Road. Head up the hill and the trailhead and parking area will be on the right.
Pence Park has two trails but good luck finding any information on them. The trailhead does not have a map. The start of the trail for both hikes is obvious but both trails tend to get overgrown and can be tricky to find. The hike to the summit, as I have just recently learned is called the Independence Peak Trail and I have dubbed the other trail, the Meadow Trail, for lack of an official name.
Independence Peak Trail
Date Hiked: June 6, 2012
Distance: 1.88 mi (Round Trip)
Elevation Gain: 800 ft
Pence Park, Independence Peak Trail Map (Denver P&R)
Pence Park Summit Trail Map (Google Maps)
This trail starts from the parking area and switchbacks up the hill facing the parking lot. The first part of the trail is clear but keep an eye out for a switchback to the left, but not the first left. The first left takes you up to a small lookout and back to the parking lot. Stay on the main trail and make the second left, this one a bit tricky to spot. From here the trail climbs through dense forest crests the hill, and levels out.
About .5 mile in to the trail you'll come across an Aspen grove and a view of the rocky summit ahead. The trail leads you to a rocky outcropping which you need to scramble up to reach the summit. Once on top you a rewarded with a 360 degree view and a decent view of Mt. Evans. Head back the same way you came. You also have the option of adding the short loop I mentioned on your way back.
Date Hiked: April 3, 2012
Distance: 2 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 400 ft
Pence Park Meadow Trail Map (Google Maps)
The "Meadow Trail" starts the same way as the summit trail however instead of making the second left, stay on the main trail. This trail winds around the North side of the hill and has some decent views along the way. The trail dips down a forested gorge, crosses a small stream, and climbs again until you reach a meadow opening. The summit of Pence Park is visible as is a rocky area that makes for a nice stopping point and a good spot to take a rest and relax. There is a trail that starts heading up towards the summit from the meadow but it gets very steep and soon disappears.
Independence Peak Trail