With about 6.5 miles of new or rerouted trails, the latest additions to Colorado Springs' North Cheyenne Cañon Park will not only offer new experiences, but also solitude and some great views. The project is part of the current master plan for the park.
The project consists of two parts: rerouting the existing Daniels Pass Trail, and also building new trails. The old, unmarked Daniels Pass Trail is steep, unsustainable and potentially dangerous. According to David Deitemeyer of the Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department, the reroute of the Daniels Pass Trail will include long switchbacks to replace the steepest sections, and other reroutes to eliminate sections prone to erosion.
The two new trails, Sweetwater Canyon Trail and Middle Sweetwater Trail, will connect Mt Muscoco and Daniels Pass and open up acres of land turned over to the city as part of the 2017 Strawberry Fields land swap with The Broadmoor hotel. The new trails give users a quiet experience away from more crowded trails and, except for the occasional motorized vehicle on Gold Camp Road, away from traffic and other noise. The trails also include views of the west side of Mt. Muscoco and into South Cheyenne Cañon, providing views many park users miss.
The $400,000 project is funded by a $250,000 Colorado State Trails grant, $75,000 from the city's Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) program, a $55,000 donation from the Friends of Cheyenne Cañon, and a $12,000 donation from the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance's Stewardship Fund. The remaining balance comes from TOPS parks program funds as part of the master plan implementation. The work is being done by FlowRide Concepts, with additional site restoration work done by the Rocky Mountain Field Institute, funded by a previous Great Outdoors Colorado grant. Deitemeyer expects the project to be completed sometime between the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays. The Daniels Pass area will be closed to all users until the project is completed.
Speaking of North Cheyenne Cañon Park, the main road through the park, North Cheyenne Cañon Road, will be closed from Sept. 20 to the end of May 2022 due to construction. The project, funded by the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, will replace three aging bridges that "are being reconstructed to address public safety and provide continued community use of the roadway and emergency service access. By proactively replacing these structures before they completely fail, costs can be managed, work can be planned efficiently, and impacts to the natural resources and park users can be minimized," according to a city press release. The road will be closed from the entrance next to the Starsmore Discovery Center to Helen Hunt Falls. All trails will remain open but users are asked to remain off the road due to heavy machinery. Helen Hunt Falls will be accessible from Gold Camp Road.
The El Paso County Parks Department is soliciting public input "to better understand residents’ usage and needs for the park and recreation system." The public is invited to take part in a needs assessment survey at epcountyparkplan.com.
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