A number of projects promise to bring a bit of a facelift to North Cheyenne Cañon Park
over the next couple of months. But as with any other kind of project, there will be some temporary inconveniences to go along with the work.
With a scheduled start date of March 28th, a 3-phase project to replace 33 drainage culverts in the park will set the stage for repaving of N. Cheyenne Cañon Road that was part of the voter-approved 2C initiative in November. According to the Colorado Springs Parks Department, the culvert replacement project is designed to insure that some parts of the park remain open to vehicle traffic while others are closed.
Phase A will be done on Gold Camp Road, which will be closed 24/7 from the gate near Point Sublime — where the road goes from pavement to dirt — to the gate just past Helen Hunt Falls near Canyonwood Road. During this time, Captain Jacks Trailhead
by tunnel #1, and the large gravel parking lot at N. Cheyenne Cañon Road and High Drive — the starting point for hikes on the 7 Bridges Trail, Mt Buckhorn and to St Mary’s Falls
— will be inaccessible. The paved N. Cheyenne Cañon Road will remain open during Phase A of the project, leaving the Mid and Upper Columbine Trails, the Mt Cutler and Mt. Muscoco Trails, and the Helen Hunt and Silver Cascade Falls open.
Suggested trail detours for Phase A
: You can access the Captain Jacks Trail by taking the Mid-Columbine Trail to the Spring Creek Trail, then taking the Spring Creek Trail to Gold Camp Road at the east-end of Tunnel #1. Captain Jacks Trail is across the road to the right. Gold Camp Road and all trailheads/parking lots will be open from 5p.m., Fridays, to 7a.m., Mondays, during this phase of the project.
Phase B of the project will close N. Cheyenne Cañon Road 24/7 from the entrance to the park at the Starsmore Nature and Visitors Center to the Mt Cutler/Mt Muscoco Trails parking lot. The Mid Columbine Trail trailhead and the parking lot for the Stratton Open Space will be closed during this time as well.
Suggested trail detours for Phase B
: The Columbine Trail can be accessed by the Lower Columbine trailhead located behind the Starsmore Nature and Visitors Center. For the Stratton Open Space
, take the Lower Columbine Trail to the Chamberlain Trail, and take it into Stratton Open Space. The Mt Cutler/Mt Muscoco Trails can be accessed by taking Gold Camp Road west and then N. Cheyenne Cañon Road back east to the trailhead. The closed portion of N. Cheyenne Cañon Road will be open from 5p.m., Fridays to 7a.m., Mondays, during this phase of the project.
Phase C will close N. Cheyenne Cañon Road 24/7 from just past the Mt Cutler/Mt Muscoco Trail trailhead to the gate just before the gravel parking lot at the intersection of Gold Camp Road. Mt Cutler/Mt Muscoco Trails and Mid Columbine Trail parking lots will be open at this time. The Upper Columbine Trail, and Helen Hunt/Silver Cascade Falls will be inaccessible. No use of paved roads will be allowed during the closure even though all the trails will remain open, according to the Parks Department. N. Cheyenne Cañon Road will be open from 5p.m., Fridays, to 7a.m., Mondays, during this phase of the project.
All phases of the culvert replacement project are projected to be finished by May 6th, weather permitting.
While a start date has not yet been set, repaving of N. Cheyenne Cañon Road will begin when the culvert replacement project is completed.
Sections of the Silver Cascade Trail
will be repaired and rebuilt to improve the visitor experience and reduce erosion. The popular trail above Helen Hunt Falls sees several hundred thousand visitors each year, and a combination of heavy usage and weather has made parts of the trail heavily eroded and difficult to use.
This project will be coordinated by the Rocky Mountain Field Institute and Colorado Springs Parks Department, the work done by RMFI staff and volunteers. This project, which will mostly be done over several weekends, will require temporary closures of the trail.
The project will include the installation of a heavy-duty fence/guardrails along the Silver Cascade Trail, which will increase safety along the trail. Both the trail improvements and the guardrail installation are being
funded by the Friends of Cheyenne Cañon.
Finally, spraying to eradicate the Tussock Moth, which defoliated large swathes of trees all along the Front Range, will be done sometime between late May and early June, and may also involve temporary closures of North Cheyenne Cañon Park. More information is available here
Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor and business owner, and a Friends of Cheyenne Cañon Park board member who has lived in Colorado Springs for over 24 years. You can follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: email@example.com.