A couple of new, short trails in Colorado Springs' North Cheyenne Cañon Park provide connectivity between existing and future trail systems and fulfill goals in the parks master plan.
Built last year, opened with little fanfare, and not yet marked with a sign, the Creekside Trail connects the Mid-Columbine Trail and the ever popular Mt. Cutler Trail. The Creekside Trail branches off of the Mid-Columbine Trail a little over 800 feet from the Mid-Columbine trailhead, and then hugs the north side of North Cheyenne Creek for about another third of a mile. There, a foot bridge crosses the creek across the street from the Mt. Cutler trailhead.
The trail also continues west along the creek until it ends a few hundred feet past the Mt. Cutler trail at one of the old stone bridges that span the creek across from pull-out #23. This pull-out is often used as overflow parking for Mt. Cutler, and the Creekside Trail will allow visitors who park there to get to Mt. Cutler without having to walk on North Cheyenne Cañon Road. Using the trail is safer than walking on the road, which is narrow and has virtually no shoulders.
Further up North Cheyenne Cañon Road, at pull-out #21, a new trail connects the pull-out to the Upper-Columbine Trail. The short, one-third-of-a-mile trail, meets the Upper-Columbine Trail at it's lowest point, far below Tunnel #2 on Gold Camp Road. The trail will connect the Upper-Columbine Trail to planned trail development on Daniels Pass, on the south side of North Cheyenne Creek, across from pull-out #21.
According to Parks Department Senior Planner David Deitemeyer, development of phase one is waiting on the outcome of a state trails grant application. The grant will provide funding to re-build the steep and unsustainable Daniels Pass Trail, from the creek to the top of Daniels Pass. It will also improve the trail from the top of the pass to Gold Camp Road, and build a trail from the top of the pass to the Mt. Muscoco Trail. According to Deitemeyer, if the grant is approved — sometime in April — work on phase one should be completed this year. Phase two of the Daniels Pass trail system is slated for 2022, depending on funding.
The Daniels Pass to Upper-Columbine connector trail, at pull-out #21 in North Cheyenne Canon Park.
In other news, the El Paso County Parks Department will be 50 years old in 2021, and the county will kick off its celebration of the anniversary with a "50K for 50 Years" hiking series. Participants are invited to hike 50 kilometers of trails at seven different Parks throughout the county, either on guided hikes lead by parks department staff, or on their own. The seven parks in the series are Paint Mines Interpretive Park, Homestead Ranch Regional Park, the Palmer Divide Trail, Black Forest Regional Park, Jones Park, Pineries Open Space, and Kane Ranch Open Space. More information, including how to register, is available at the parks department website, which will be updated regularly.
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