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Happy Trails: Blodgett Peak

October 9, 2017 Updated: October 9, 2017 at 7:05 am
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Blodgett Peak

We cannot blithely recommend this trip up the prominent point in northwest Colorado Springs. Reaching the rugged, 9,423-foot summit is not for everyone. Heed city parks' warning found at Blodgett Peak Open Space's parking lot: "[R]oute finding can be difficult and treacherous. Serious injuries and fatalities have occurred on Blodgett Peak."

While the trail system here caters to families and seniors on morning strolls, Hummingbird Trail is better suited for experienced mountaineers. It disappears in rocks and loose soil along harsh grades in Pike National Forest. Though downed logs directed us through the thick woods, landscapes change over time. Vegetation grows, social trails emerge - especially in this area where fences have been built to avoid user confusion.

Blodgett Peak requires considerable skill and fitness. If in doubt, opt for the open space's many peaceful trails into stream-fed places of Douglas fir and ponderosa pine. Otherwise, strap on your sturdy boots and grab your hiking poles for this serious adventure.

From the parking lot, proceed past the gate, following the road that winds on as Blodgett Trail, lined with spurs aplenty. By the time you reach Hummingbird Trail stemming west into the forest, you'll have sweeping vistas of the city, Air Force Academy and the endless plains. Hummingbird is a quick, easy escape initially. The trail seems to dead-end at tall mullein weeds, but find the footpath rising to the left. Expect the next 2 miles to the summit to be this gnarly.

At about the halfway point of our early fall hike, water was running off boulders into a creek - refreshing after the heart-pounding ascent. The climb doesn't stop here. Continue up the northwest side of the creek, following tricky "chutes" of rock and roots. Expect to do some scrambling before arriving at the high meadow, where the trail is clear to the marked post for the summit.

Trip log: 7.8 miles round trip (out and back), 2,608-foot elevation gain, 9,414 max

Difficulty: Challenging

Getting there: Off Interstate 25, exit for Woodmen Road. Head west on East Woodmen Road and turn right onto West Woodmen Road. Follow to the open space parking lot on the left.

FYI: Dogs on leash. Bikes elsewhere in the open space. Watch for weather, attempt in daylight.

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