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Hiking Crystal Trail in Green Mountain Falls; Lake Moraine and Dixon trails near completion; and Rainbow Falls to reopen 

click to enlarge BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
Green Mountain Falls, just west of Colorado Springs along US Highway 24, is a treasure trove of hiking opportunities. The Catamount Falls Trail is one of the most popular and oldest trails in town, eventually leading to Pikes Peak's North Slope recreation area and reservoirs, with newer trails such as the Dewey Mountain and Bratton Trails offering other hiking opportunities.

Green Mountain Falls' Crystal Trail is one of the more obscure and challenging trails there. Rising over 1400 feet in about a mile (one way), and through what seems like an unending number of switchbacks, it provides a workout along with great views down Ute Pass before topping out on a service road that also doubles as part of the Ring the Peak Trail.  You can do this hike as a up-and-back hike of a little over two miles, or as a long loop of about 5.4 miles (not including walking from where you park).

To get there: The closest parking to the trailhead is on the east side of the lake in Green Mountain Falls at the intersection of Ute Pass Ave and Hotel St. From there, walk across Ute Pass Ave on Hotel Street. Hotel Street curves to the right and becomes Illinois Ave. Turn left onto Park Ave and then right onto Boulder Street. The hike starts at the end of Boulder Street. Do not park in the neighborhood or try to turn around at the end of Boulder Street.

Lake Moraine and Dixon Trails near completion

Construction work is nearing completion on the Lake Moraine Trail that will connect Barr Trail and Jones Park. According to Cory Sutela with Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates, they are aiming for opening the trail on August 31st.

The Dixon Trail in Cheyenne Mountain State Park, which will provide a route from the park to the top of Cheyenne Mountain is also nearing completion. According to CMSP Manager Mitch Martin, work being done by the Rocky Mountain Field Institute should be completed soon, with a "soft" opening to follow and a more formal opening sometime in September. Updates will be provided on the CMSP website.

Rainbow Falls to reopen

El Paso County's Rainbow Falls Historical Site, located on Serpentine Road just off of US 24, is slated to re-open on September 1st, according to El Paso County Community Services director Tim Wolken. The site, which has had improvements made to it over the course of the year, has long be subjected to graffiti and vandalism which also had to be repaired. El Paso County Security officers have issued approximately 50 summonses for trespassing and vandalism, with a subsequent decrease in these incidents, that Wolken attributes to the stepped up enforcement.

Happy Trails!

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for more than 26 years. 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: info@hikingbob.com.

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