Pence Mountain Park is a small Denver parkland adjoining O’Fallon Mountain Park northwest of Evergreen. The park protects the wooded north slope of 8,370-foot Independence Mountain. A trailhead and parking lot for hikers and park visitors is on Myers Gulch Road southeast of Kittredge. Two trails begin at the lot. Bear Creek Regional Trail, popular with mountain bikers, crosses the road and heads north for 6.5 miles through O’Fallon and Corwina mountain parks to Lair ‘o the Bear Park and ends at Little Mountain Park. The best hike is up the north flank of Independence Mountain, a 0.9-mile trail to a high summit overlooking Evergreen.
- Independence Mountain Trail is a fine 1.8-mile roundtrip hike to a rocky summit with views west to Mount Evans and east to the Denver sprawl. Start the hike at a trailhead on Myers Gulch Road southeast of Kittredge. The trail immediately splits. Keep on the left fork and hike 0.3 miles to a junction with the right fork. Continue up the steep trail for 0.9 miles to the top, which is a sub-summit of Independence Mountain. The actual high point is farther west but is private property.
- Bear Creek Regional Trail is a well-maintained trail that begins at the Pence Park parking lot. It’s popular with mountain bikers and hikers. If you’re hiking it, watch out for bikes speeding past.
- Evergreen is a busy mountain town west of Pence Park. Its historic downtown offers restaurants and coffee shops that are perfect for after-hike drinks and meals. Recommended eateries are Beau Jo’s Pizza, Willow Creek Restaurant, and Wildflower Café; or have coffee and breakfast at EverBean by the Lake. Eat on their dog-friendly patio by Evergreen Lake.
Recommended season(s): Year-round.
—Stewart M. Green