New trail to the top of Cheyenne Mountain opens Tuesday

Local

The wait is finally over. A brand new trail system in El Paso County will open to the public for the first time Tuesday and give people access to the top of Cheyenne Mountain.

Just across the road from Fort Carson, Cheyenne Mountain State Park offers an escape from city life.

“We’ve seen deer up here, elk up here, and also black bears,” Park Manager Mitchell Martin said.

But there’s one part of the park that has been off limits, until now.

“The Dixon Trail is special because this is actually a homesteading trail from around 19-teens, around 1915, 1917, somewhere in there, and it’s never been open to the public,” Martin said.

For nearly a decade, the park, its Friends Group, the city of Colorado Springs, and several other organizations, like Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado and Rocky Mountain Field Institute, have been working toward opening it up to everybody.

Finally, after years of hard work, the Dixon Trail is open.

The trail itself is no walk in the park.

“Most of the trails on the park are easy to moderate,” Martin said. “This Dixon Trail is going to be rated difficult to extreme.”

Once at the top, there are two more trails that are also rated difficult to extreme.  

“It gets pretty steep at certain points,” Martin said. “They do need to be making sure that they bring all their own water with them, because there is no place to fill up water.”

Round trip, the out-and-back trail system is a little more than 17 miles, with a 2,500-foot elevation gain.

“People definitely need to be prepared,” Martin said.

Hikers who can push through the pain will have incredible views to gain, of aspen groves, vistas, and even the ruins of a 1957 plane crash.

“It’s very, very pretty once you get up here, but it’s going to be definitely a trek to get here,” Martin said.

The trail will open to hikers Tuesday. Eventually, a portion of it will also be open to mountain bikers and equestrians. Hikers should be aware they may encounter trail crews, and stay uphill of any trail markings they encounter.

A grand opening celebration is scheduled for October.

Cheyenne Mountain State Park is located at 410 JL Ranch Heights Road, off Highway 115 south of Colorado Springs.

Vehicles entering the park must have a valid state parks pass, which is $7 a day or $70 annually. For more information, call 719-576-2016 or visit cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/Parks/CheyenneMountain/ .

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