A few weeks ago I featured some of my favorite 5 mile hikes in the Pikes Peak area. This week, a few more…
At Green Mountain Falls, the Dewey Mountain-Bratton-Catamount Falls loop (which recently reopened) is a nice 5 miles. The hike up to Dewey Mountain takes a bit of work, but after that the trail is mostly downhill. This 4.98 mile loop includes paved roads and dirt roads. While the COTREX route that I created shows about 4.25 miles, my actual GPS track has the hike at 4.98 miles.
To succeed: From Colorado Springs, take US 24 west to the last exit at Green Mountain Falls and take Ute Pass Avenue to the bottom of the hill – to where it turns left after crossing the creek. Park on your left and follow the track above to start the loop. Park only on Ute Pass Avenue along the creek.
Things you need to know: The beginning of the hike to the top of Dewey Mountain is quite strenuous, including the roads to get to the Dewey Mountain trailhead. The route to the trailhead is marked along the road. The section of the Catamount Falls Trail that skirts the falls is rocky and can be tricky. At the bottom of the falls, turn left. Follow the dirt road to the top of Avenue du Belvédère and turn right to complete the loop. Be respectful of the residents and do not make noise, do not litter and pick up after your dogs on a leash.
Mueller State Park has some great loop trails, including a hike on the south side of the park that I featured in the previous 5 mile column. This is at the far north of the park. and features some old historic buildings. Late September/early October is the place to go to see the fall colors.
From the Grouse Mountain trailhead, head north about 0.16 miles, then turn left onto Cheesman Ranch Trail #17. Follow it past the old barns and corrals of the old Cheesman Ranch (some maps show it as Geer Ranch). Keep going up past the ranch and at the top of the hill, turn right onto Buffalo Rock Trail #33. Turn left onto Moonshine Trail #36 and follow it past Cahill Pond Trail #34. At the end of #36, turn right onto Cheesman Ranch Trail #17 and return to the trailhead. The route is detailed here.
To succeed: Once you enter the state park, take the (only) road to the end at the Grouse Mountain Trail parking lot. Entrance fees apply.
Things you need to know: Dogs are not permitted on the trails in Mueller State Park. This hike is easiest when done in the direction shown on the route linked above (clockwise). If you want to lengthen this hike, add the Dynamite Cabin Trail (#32), for an additional 0.67 miles.
Catamount Ranch Open Space in Teller County, is home to beautiful trails and is also a gateway to the North Slope Recreation Area and the Ring the Peak trail system. A nice 5 mile hike is the Elder-Fehn trail, with its great views of the north face of Pikes Peak. Mostly covered in trees, it’s a great getaway from the hot summer sun. In winter, after a fresh snowfall, it is also a great snowshoeing destination. From the trailhead, take the moderately difficult trail for about 2 miles where it forms a “lasso” trail. It doesn’t matter which way you go to loop, the experience is the same. Close the loop and follow the trail to the trailhead for a hike of just under 5.25 miles.
To succeed: From Colorado Springs, take US 24 West through Woodland Park. After passing the hospital, at the top of the hill, turn left onto Edlowe Road (look for a fire station and a church at the intersection). Take Edlowe Road to the trailhead, which is just after the road turns from cobblestone to dirt. Do not go through the gates at the west end of the parking lot.
Things you need to know: The parking lot at the trailhead is very small and fills up quickly on weekends. So have a “plan B” if you find the terrain full or consider it for a weekday hike. Pit toilets are available at the trailhead.
At the time of this writing, section 16 trail — closed due to a rockslide that caused extensive damage to trees, the trail and a small bridge — remains closed. US Forest Service officials tell me there is no timeline for reopening yet, as they are still assessing the condition of the trail and if there are any hazardous conditions due to other potential landslides.
The El Paso County Parks Department is looking to fill three vacancies on its park advisory board,”one to represent District 5 (central part of El Paso County), one to represent District 1 (northern part of El Paso County), and one to represent District 4 (southern part of El Paso County) . here.
The parks department is also seeking feedback from citizens on a draft master plan for Homestead Ranch Regional Park. Review draft master plan and leave feedback here.
Be wise. Do good things. Leave no traces.