Fresh Air Friday
Sweetwater Canyon View

A view of Cheyenne Mountain from the Sweetwater Canyon Trail

This hike starts at the Powell parking lot, at the intersection of Gold Camp Road, High Drive and North Cheyenne Cañon Road. Go past the gate and follow Gold Camp Road up and over closed Tunnel #3. You're not going to St. Mary's Falls, so you bear left at the sign pointing towards the falls, instead of right. Once over the tunnel, cross the small creek and continue on Gold Camp Road.  

Daniels Pass Gold Camp Road

Turn onto the Daniels Pass Trail from Gold Camp Road.

Daniels Pass Sweetwater

After turning down the Daniels Pass Trail from Gold Camp Road, turn right onto the Sweetwater Canyon Trail.

At around 1.7 miles, turn left, and start down the Daniels Pass Trail. At about 2.1 miles, turn right onto the Sweetwater Canyon Trail, going counter-clockwise on this loop. Enjoy the trails and the views of South Cheyenne Cañon and Cheyenne Mountain from several scenic viewpoints along the way. One of the best places for viewing Mt. Muscoco is at about 3.3 miles. Look for the bench made out of a couple of Ponderosa logs.

Mt Muscoco View

A view of Mt. Muscoco from the Sweetwater Canyon Trail

At just under 4 miles, the trail meets the bottom end of the Mid-Sweetwater Trail (on the left) and the Greenwood Path (on the right). The Greenwood Path, a single-track, hiking-only trail is still uncompleted and connects, about 1,000 feet further down, to another trail that leaves the park property and eventually leads to an old settlement. For this hike, continue straight.

The west end of the Mt. Muscoco Trail meets the Sweetwater Canyon Trail about 4.7 miles from the start of this hike. Continue counter clockwise on the loop for about another .3 miles until the Sweetwater Canyon Trail ends at the Daniels Pass Trail, and bear left and join the Daniels Pass Trail to close the loop. At about 5.1 miles, the trail passes the upper end of the Mid-Sweetwater Trail, and at 5.35 miles you'll pass the west end of the Sweetwater Canyon Trail. Continue on the Daniels Pass Trail until it ends at Gold Camp Road, and then return to the Powell parking lot, for a total distance of a little more than 7.5 miles. 

Sweetwater Canyon

This hike, starting and ending at the Powell parking lot, in the upper left.

Things you need to know: There is no part of this loop that would be considered difficult by most hikers. All trails in this loop are multi-use, except Mt. Muscoco and the Greenwood Path, which are designated for foot traffic only. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on any trails. There are portapotties at the Powell lot, but no water, so bring your own. The area is well marked with new signs. These trails are not yet on the COTREX app or website, however the Parks Department expects them to be in the system by the end of 2021.

If the hike is getting to be a little long for you, or the day is getting late, you can use the Mid-Sweetwater Trail to cut-off much of the Sweetwater Canyon Trail. If you want to do a side hike on the Mt. Muscoco trail to the summit and back to Sweetwater Canyon, the hike gets more difficult, and you'll add about 1.4 miles to your trip.

Please use appropriate trail etiquette and be nice to each other. Leashed dogs are permitted.

How to get there: North Cheyenne Cañon Road is closed until May due to a bridge replacement project, so the only way into the park by car is via Gold Camp Road. Gold Camp Road is a dirt road in the park and while generally passable by car, it can be difficult when snow-covered or when it rains, and is usually washboardy. The gates to the park are closed and locked at 9 p.m. from November to April and at 10 p.m. the rest of the year, so plan ahead. 

While the day after Thanksgiving — "Black Friday" — is traditionally thought of as a day for holiday shopping, it's also become known in recent years a "Fresh Air Friday," a day to go outdoors instead. To help motivate you, the entry fees to all Colorado State Parks will be waived that day.  Cheyenne Mountain State Park will be hosting a "Fresh Air Friday Adventure Hike" from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, click here.

Be Good. Do Good Things. Leave No Trace.

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