New trail restores access to popular hiking destination west of Colorado Springs – Colorado Springs Gazette

Colorado Mountain Club and Friends of the Peak teamed up to reroute a section of the Horsethief Park Trail around private property on June 18-19. More than 50 volunteers participated across the two days.

Legal access has been restored to a popular, previously closed recreation corridor in the Pikes Peak region.

That’s thanks to a sturdy band of volunteers, including those with Colorado Mountain Club and Friends of the Peak.

Tom Mowle, who helped organize trail building last month, said 53 people helped carve 550 feet of tread along Horsethief Park Trail in Teller County. The new trail trends downslope of land that was closed last year due to a private owner’s dispute, effectively blocking the way to a waterfall and overlook known as Pancake Rocks.

More volunteer work is scheduled for the coming months, Mowle said — some “polishing” and labor to ensure proper drainage.

But “it’s certainly a walkable, usable trail that bypasses the private property,” Mowle said.

Regulars will find a trail thinner than the roadlike section previously traveled above. “A nice, little diversion,” Mowle described it, “walking through trees and weaving between rocks.”

It’s also steeper — “steeper than one would want,” Mowle acknowledged. It was a factor he and the land-owning U.S. Forest Service had to accept, he said, as “the existing trail was already too steep, so catching up to it from below would be even steeper.”

In response, he said builders arranged rocks to help divert water flow and prevent erosion.

The 53 volunteers over two days was a “pretty impressive” number, Mowle said. “Part of it was this being a trail that people would not have wanted to see get closed.”

The next volunteer days are Aug. 27 and Sept. 10. Sign up at Colorado Mountain Club’s online calendar page.


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