Saturday, August 30, 2014

More Incline alternatives, and a few kid-friendly trail suggestions

Posted By on Sat, Aug 30, 2014 at 7:39 AM

click to enlarge Pikes Peak from Heizer Trail - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • Pikes Peak from Heizer Trail
First, some more alternatives to satisfy your Incline withdrawal:

Heizer Trail, Cascade: This trail winds it’s way up steep switchbacks to an unnamed peak, with 2000’ of elevation gain from the trailhead to the summit. There are great views down Highway 24 towards Colorado Springs along the trail and a great view of Pikes Peak from the summit.

To get there, take Highway 24 to the Cascade (Pikes Peak Toll Road) exit. Turn left onto Emporia Street and then left on Park Street and another left on Anemone Hill Road. The signed trailhead is at the top of the hill. There is parking near the trailhead, but it’s marked as being a snowplow turnaround only — whether this makes it a no-parking zone year round is debatable. If you don’t want to risk a ticket or getting towed, you can park on Emporia Street near Highway 24 and walk up to the trailhead.
Roundtrip distance from the trailhead is approximately 4 and 3/4 miles.

Red Mountain, Manitou Springs: Not the longest, nor toughest, Incline alternative but you can always increase the difficulty by going a bit faster. The views of Manitou Springs and the Garden of the Gods, especially in the late afternoon, are a great pay-off for this hike.

Start at Spring Street and Ruxton Avenue in Manitou Springs and walk up Spring Street to the dirt road switchback and continue up to the gate marking the Intemann Trail. Continue east on the Intemann Trail and watch for a sign marking the intersection with the Red Mountain trail. When you’re at a small saddle near the top, you’ll see a rocky outcropping to your left, which is what most people consider the summit, but look for a faint trail to your right — there’s a steeper trail that will take you further to the southeast, to the highest point on Red Mountain. You can choose for yourself which direction you want to go.
Approximately 3 miles round trip.

I’m getting questions about kid- and family- friendly hikes; here are a few suggestions:

Lincoln Mountain Open Space, Douglas County: Just now approaching its first year as a member of the Douglas County park system, Lincoln Mountain offers two easy loop trails of approximately 4 miles each. The Lincoln Mountain trail has the nicest views of the Pikes Peak and the Rampart Range, while the Palmer Divide Ranch Loop meanders in and out of a lightly forested area. The park has a huge parking area to accommodate equestrians who come to use the very horse-friendly trails (hikers: Horses always have the right-of-way).

Take Highway 83 north past County Line Road, turn west on Douglas County Road 80. The trailhead is a little over ½ mile on the right.

Mesa and Yucca Trails, Palmer Park: Two easy, flat, well-marked trails at the top of Palmer Park, with great views all around.

Park at the Yucca Flats trailhead and go from there. There is a “dog run” area here where dogs are permitted to run free too.

See you next time! Happy Trails!

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