When I was in Denver last week for my mother’s 80th birthday, we decided to have lunch in the mountains. We decided to go to Kittridge, a small town (actually tiny) near the top of Bear Creek canyon, about 20 miles from Morrison. The small (population 500) mountain community of Kittredge is located between the towns of Evergreen and Idledale in Bear Creek Canyon and offers access to several Denver Mountain Parks and Jefferson County Open Space parks perfect for picnics, hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Bear Creek Canyon was a favorite of old Denver, full of small parks, which were close enough for picnics after work, which we often did with my parents. These days Bear Creek Canyon is a favorite of bicyclists who climb to the top in Evergreen or Kittridge, have a bite to eat, then race downhill on the windy road to Morrison. Bear Creek Tavern is similar to Creekside Cellars in Evergreen with more of an old Colorado feel.
As I said in the previous post, we went to Denver to visit my parents for the holidays. I grew up in Denver but it changed a lot since I left home. Denver has a lot of nicknames, Mile High City, Queen of the Prairies, Queen of the West, Gateway to the Rockies and of course Bronco-Ville. In the summer of 1858, a small group of prospectors from Georgia crossed the great plains of the Colorado Territory and made a region-changing discovery at the base of the Rocky Mountains…gold. And although not much of the precious metal was found, the mere whisper of the word was enough to start a veritable stampede into the region. After all, the California Gold Rush had occurred just nine years earlier.
We were in Denver over the holidays and decided to go up to Evergreen for some lunch with my parents. Evergreen is a little bedroom community about 30 minutes up Bear Creek Canyon from Denver. Homesteader Thomas Bergen arrived in 1859, establishing a ranch and stage stop north of present-day downtown Evergreen. Bergen's Ranch was recognized as a settled area at the establishment of Jefferson County, Jefferson Territory. Subsequent settlers homesteaded south of Bergen along Bear Creek Canyon and the downtown area grew around the confluence of Cub Creek and Bear Creek.