If you have ever wondered about taking your bike off campus and exploring our wonderful surroundings on a set of wheels, or if you have ever seen tire tracks on a narrow trail and wondered what it would be like to hit the trail instead of pavement, you have come to the right place. For some students, mountain biking is a leisurely weekend activity, but for others, it’s an unfathomable experience only dreamed of. Don’t know where to begin? Here is a short guide to just a few of the many local biking trails in Colorado Springs.
Cheyenne Cañon Park Trails
Marked by outstanding biodiversity that can occur only where the ecosystem of the mountains meets that of the plains, Cheyenne Cañon Park is a 1,600-acre park with a sprawling network of trails available for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The park borders Pike National Forest and includes Stratton Open Space.
Columbine Trail: Four miles to the top, Columbine Trail features a vertical gain of over 1000 feet. The trail starts near the Starsmore Discovery Center and ends near Helen Hunt Falls and the Helen Hunt Visitor Center. Parking lots on both ends of the trail allow riders the option to complete only the descent or ascent rather than both, if they so desire. Sections of the trail follow sharp drop-offs, and some regions are rocky, requiring more technical biking. The trail features views down the canyon and overlooking the city.
Captain Jacks: Typically ridden as a descent, or with other trails in a loop, Captain Jacks is a 3.4-mile trail passing out of the park and into Pike National Forest. Loose gravel and banked turns make this trail a challenging ride. For extra distance, the trail joins with the Jones Park Trail, which adds another 2.4 miles.
Stratton Open Space Trails
Stratton Open Space features five distinct ecosystems and a varying maze of trails.
The Chutes: The Chutes is a well-loved trail that can be reached from either the Ridgeway trailhead, the La Veta trailhead in Stratton Open Space, or off of Gold Camp Road. It is just over a mile, with an elevation change of 470 feet. The descent includes small berms and jumps, as well as quick switchbacks. Watch for hikers and other cyclists, as this trail is heavily used.
Chamberlain Trail: Recently built, Chamberlain Trail links the Chutes with Columbine trail in Cheyenne Cañon Park. The trail is 2.2 miles long and ascends 500 feet in that distance. Overlooking Gold Camp Reservoir, it can be used as a scenic extension of the Chutes’ descent.
Upper Meadows Loop: Upper Meadows Loop is a gentle ride, clocking in at 1.3 miles. Visitors often get a view of Cheyenne Mountain reflected in the water as the trail loops around South Suburban Reservoir. The trail is wide and smooth, perfect for beginners.
Pike National Forest Trails
Lovell Gulch Trail: This trail is a mile-long ride that leads into a 3.75-mile loop, with a steep descent if taken it counter-clockwise. The climb is steeper but less technical in the clockwise direction. From the top of the ridge you get a beautiful view of Pike’s Peak and Ute Pass.
Saint Mary’s Falls Trail: Finishing with waterfalls on one side and a view of the city on the other, the trail follows Buffalo Canyon Creek through aspen stands and mixed forests. 13 miles round trip and extremely technical, Saint Mary’s Falls is a challenge.