History, Beauty, Hiking, Biking & Waterfalls Too!
I love the North Cheyenne Canon Park. It is really beautiful it’s a great place to hike and bike. Here is the city description of this beautiful park.
North Cheyenne Cañon
North Cheyenne Cañon, known for its towering evergreens and wildflowers, stunning rock formations, hiking paths, and waterfalls, was a famous camping ground for American Indians, especially the Ute tribes. Purchased in 1885, General Palmer and Fred Chamberlain improved the park with added donations of land. The High Drive and Crystal Park Trail traverse the steep sides of the mountains. The Bruin Inn afforded visitors a spot to get refreshments near Helen Hunt Falls.
Ultimately, the Columbine Trail was built from the mouth of the Cañon three miles up to Helen Hunt Falls. Between 1914 and the 20s, huge stone bridges, walls, and arches were erected throughout the valley. North Cheyenne Cañon Park is now 1,626 acres, including the Stratton Open Space. Helen Hunt Falls and Starsmore Discovery Center are accessible visitor centers in the park that include nature exhibits, a climbing wall, and educational programs.
If you want to visit the past, then take a walking tour up Gold Camp Road from within the park. You can no longer drive up to Gold Camp Road so it is a great place to hike, ride horses, or bike. Here is a map of the area provided by the city of Colorado Springs.
Helen Hunt Falls
Another great destination is Helen Hunt Falls.
Helen Hunt Jackson was a successful writer who moved to Colorado Springs in 1873 to restore her health with “the curative air of the Rockies.” The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame describes Helen Hunt Jackson as “the most brilliant, impetuous, and thoroughly individual woman in her time. She rose above personal tragedy and became on of the most successful writers of her day. She included her friends, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Through her dedication to Indian reform during the last five years of her life, she wrote herself into American history.”
As you can see from the pictures below, the falls are easy to reach from the road. The hike is quite short and easily accessible. It is a great place to take kids on a hot day.
After hiking to the top of the falls, you can continue up the trail to the Silver Cascade Falls.
To get to North Cheyenne Canon park from the downtown area, go south on Nevada Avenue to Cheyenne Blvd. Turn right (west) and follow it until it turns into North Cheyenne Canon Rd at the Starsmore Discovery Center.
Seven Bridges Trail in North Cheyenne Canon
The Seven Bridges Trail in North Cheyenne Canon is worth a morning or afternoon excursion. It crosses North Cheyenne Creek seven times over seven bridges (which of course is the reason for the name).
What is fun about the Seven Bridges Trail is that just most family members of any age can hike it.
The vertical gain is about 1600 feet over about 2.7 miles. (The total round trip is about 4.75 miles). The trail is not nearly as aggressive as St. Mary’s Falls or the Manitou Incline.
Start at the Gold Camp Road parking area and hike along Gold Camp Road to the sign marking North Cheyenne Creek. The trail heads off to the right (west). There is a large tree that is next to the trailhead. The bridges are well kept and the trail is easy to follow and well maintained.
The hike takes about 2-3 hours to hike (round trip). The trail is heavily treed, so grab a jacket if the weather is at all cold. It will be colder under the trees.
When you cross the seventh bridge the trail starts to get a little rougher but you get some nice mini waterfalls and rushing water. This is a beautiful hike for the whole family.
St. Mary’s Trail near Colorado Springs, Colorado
St. Mary’s falls is a wonderful day hike in North Cheyenne Canon near Colorado Springs Colorado.
The hike starts at the Gold Camp Road/Seven Bridges Trailhead.
You hike about 1.2 miles (past collapsed and closed tunnel #3) to the St. Mary’s Falls trailhead. Then hike about 1.6 miles to the falls. You’ll be hiking along a stream for a good part of the way, then you’ll go up the hill a bit. Eventually, you will see signs for the base of St. Mary’s Falls.
There are also numerous falls of 3 feet or more along the creek so don’t forget to stop and enjoy your surroundings.