MIDDLE & UPPER COLUMBINE TRAILS - NORTH CHEYENNE CANYON
Posted by Bill Houghton
WHAT WE LIKE: The Columbine Trail goes most of the way up the canyon. The lower section is just a walk in the park. But for lungs and legs, the Middle and Upper sections of the trail are great workouts, close to the city, and can be done in a morning or afternoon. The trail is mostly decomposed granite, so care must be taken on the descent to avoid the 'ball bearing' effect. There are several small streams, or trickles, that must be crossed but can be done easily in one step. The dividing line between the two trails is an access to Gold Camp Road. Pro Tip: Because the trails are steep, stop and enjoy the views as you go both up and down the canyon.
HOW TO GET THERE: The trailhead for the middle section of the trail is about a mile up from the Visitors Center with a small parking area on the right that is frequently overflowing. The Visitors Center is at the west end of Cheyenne Blvd. just before the entrance to the Broadmoor's "Seven Falls." Upper access is just above Helen Hunt Falls on the paved road.
ON THE TRAIL: Anyone seeking a great running or hiking workout near Colorado Springs should consider the Mid/Upper Columbine Trails as one of their best locations. There are a large number of switchbacks, starting from the bottom, and the trail climbs steeply on decomposed granite but eh surface is well-maintained and useable most of the year. It is on the sunny side of the canyon, so the snow melts soonest. It is a popular trail so dogs, bikes and families can be encountered most any day. After several switchbacks, the trail does level some and then starts the ups and downs through the side valleys. The Spring Creek Trail is crossed on the way to the upper trail or access to Gold Camp Road. The Upper Trails comes out, or starts, near Helen Hunt Falls and that makes a great rest stop for a round trip.