Wintertime Day Trip to Evergreen, CO

Ways to get out and play, relax, and enjoy the flavors of a Colorado winter.

Why go now: Simple wintertime pleasures are this town's forte.

Main drag: State 74 ("Main Street" in local-speak)

Town namesake: The trees (which supplied lumber for Denver's first construction boom, in the mid-1800s).

Brush with fame: The hit animated TV show South Park is loosely based on the neighboring town of Conifer; the show's co-creator graduated from Evergreen High.

Go for a Sunday drive: The Lariat Loop--a Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway--runs through the town center.

Vacation like a Roosevelt: Teddy stayed at the then-famous (though now- gone) Troutdale in the Pines resort. Today you can still visit the golf course that resort guests frequented; check out Keys on the Green restaurant ($$; 29614 Upper Bear Creek Rd.; 303/674-4095) on Evergreen Golf Course.

Buy a piece of ski history: Don't miss Ski Country Antiques (114 Homestead Rd.; 303/674-4666) for mountain- chalet collectibles. Number of Western-art galleries on Main Street: 4

Best pairing: Chicken tenders and live music at the Little Bear bar ($; cover charge varies; 28075 State 74; littlebearsaloon.com).

Take it home

Bring the flavors of a Colorado winter back home with you. Pick up one of Evergreen Candleworks' gorgeous (and green) soy-based candles, available in a host of oh-so-mountainy aromas. We like Colorado Sunrise--a comforting mix of vanilla, orange, cinnamon, and ginger (from $2.50, depending on size). Available at Skintique (closed Sun; 28126 State 74; 303/670-1180) or online (evergreencandleworks.com).

3 more ways to get outside and play

Snowshoe

Evergreen's snow-blanketed Elk Meadow Park offers myriad trails for a quiet snowshoe hike. On the way up to Evergreen, stop at Bent Gate Mountaineering in Golden to rent snowshoes and pick up a free map. Elk Meadow: Take State 74 south past Bergen Park to Lewis Ridge Rd. and turn right into the parking lot; 303/271-5925. Bent Gate: closed Sat; rentals $15; 1313 Washington Ave., Golden; bentgate.com

Ski

Evergreen locals love skiing the nearby Loveland Ski Area in Georgetown. So do we. Often overlooked by visitors from Denver and out of state, the low-key but high-altitude (13,010 feet at the peak) resort gets an annual average of 400 inches of powder and is just a quick drive from downtown Evergreen. Lift tickets $56; skiloveland.com

Ride

If you've always wanted to learn to snowboard, make the trip to nearby Echo Mountain (formerly Squaw Pass), in Idaho Springs. Known for its terrain parks and inexpensive lift tickets, this resort caters to shredders (and skiers) of a younger bent. But its Ski & Ride School is great for anyone who wants to learn to hit the slopes. Private lessons $129 for two hours, including lift ticket; echomt.com

Share your weekend finds. Favorite new restaurant? Local hike? Email your suggestions to the weekend guide editor at wgeditor@sunset.com

Ronni Lundy | From the February 2009 Issue

Wintertime ways to enjoy Evergreen, CO