Elevation: 7,437 ft - 8,592 ft
Elevation Gain: 1,155 ft (net) 1,174 ft (cumulative)
Dogs: On leash only (Jefferson County Open Space)
Date Hiked: 10 June, 2011
Bathroom at the trailhead: Yes
This is a loop hike, that I took clockwise. Taken this way the trail starts on the opposite side of the road from the first 3 Sister's parking lot (the one without the barn) on the East Evergreen Mountain Trail. The route heads south through a pleasant stand of open Ponderosa and Aspen forest, which on this trip was spotted with yellow Golden Banner, Wild Iris, and purple Sugarbowls. After a short 0.32 miles is the junction with the Ranch View Trail. We'll take this trail on the way back.
Approaching the junction of the Summit View and Evergreen Mountain West Trails. Note the large signs and dense forest.The signage in this open space park are National Park quality, so it is impossible to get lost. The junction at 2.4 miles of the Summit Trail and the West Evergreen Mountain Trail is no exception. Take the Summit Trail to continue heading up the hillside. At 3 miles is the junction with a scenic view turn off, which is a short 0.14 miles down to a rocky shelf overlooking Evergreen. I ate my lunch here and had the place to myself.
I almost turned around at this point rather that complete the journey to the summit because I was confessedly over the Lodgepoles but I slogged onwards for the sake of my fans and I am glad I did. The final summit circle (junction at 3.28 miles) is more open and filled with Douglas Fir trees plus some large rocky mounds (at 3.58 miles) with pleasant views of the Mt. Evans massif. There were a lot more people lounging at the top but with so many nooks and crannies, it was easy to find a private place to sunbath. By this point, I had climbed 1,092 ft. There are a few short ascents on the way back that boosted this total just a bit.
At 5.57 miles the route leaves the hill and transitions back to open meadows. Here is the junction with the Wild Iris Loop. Across the road is the other trailhead for the 3 Sisters Park. There are lots of great trails there as well (check out my southern trails post). This trail quickly becomes the Ranch View Trail, which will takes us back to the Evergreen Mountain East Trail (at 6.22 miles) that we started on.
Looking across the Wild Iris Loop (which circumnavigates the meadow) to the other side of the Three Sisters Park.This trail reminds me a lot of Crosier Mountain near Rocky Mountain National Park. It's lower elevation means it will remain clear of snow most of the year, which makes it a useful training hike. Both hikes spend a lot of time in the Lodgepoles.