This Saturday, as with every first Saturday in June, is National Trails Day. Established by the American Hiking Society — with partner federal agencies the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the Department of Transportation — the day is celebrated with outdoor events around the country.
Citing a 200 percent increase in trail usage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AHS is asking that people "pledge to take action in 2021 to care for trails and advocate for equitable, safe access to quality green spaces."
Get politically involved in outdoor recreation through advocating for House Bill 21-1318, the "Create Outdoor Equity Grant Program," making it's way though the Colorado legislature. Or volunteer to help at a Rocky Mountain Field Institute workday at the Garden of the Gods on Saturday, or help the Guardians of Palmer Park during their Saturday workday. You can join or contribute to one of the many "friends" groups in the Pikes Peak region that help support land managers, but more importantly, when you're recreating, recreate responsibly, and Leave No Trace.
The weather forecast for Saturday (as of this writing) is great to be outdoors. Celebrate National Trails Day by taking an epic hike, and my suggestion is the Dixon Trail in Cheyenne Mountain State Park. At about 14 miles round trip, and more than 3,400 feet of elevation gain, it should take you all day, so start early and enjoy the views. I created a custom trail route you can view or download here.
Things to know if you go:
- State Park entry fees do apply. A daily pass is $9 if you don't have a Colorado State Park annual pass.
- There is no water on this trail, other than a water bottle refill station inside the restroom facility at the Limekiln Trailhead. Bring plenty of water.
- Bring lunch and snacks. This is a long hike and you will need to replenish your energy.
- Dogs are not permitted.
- Bikes and horses are only allowed about half-way up Cheyenne Mountain on the Dixon Trail. If you ride and want to make the top of the mountain, you will have to dismount and hike to the top.
- Private vehicles are not allowed on the mountain, so if hike up, you have to hike down. You cannot get picked up at the top.
- The Dragons Backbone Trail loop at the top can be a little technical at some points and also skirts long drop offs, so I don't recommend it for those who may have an issue with heights. Instead, you can do the easier and very pretty Mountain Loop Trail and still enjoy a great outing.
Be Good. Do Good Things. Leave No Trace