Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Many trails, parks around Colorado Springs remain closed after fires, floods

By Scott Rappold Updated: November 7, 2013 at 7:35 pm 0

Not long ago, hikers could pick about any peak or green valley in Colorado Springs' mountain backdrop for a hike, bike or run. The options for a getaway within minutes of town were endless.

Then the Waldo Canyon fire happened. Then the Black Forest fire happened. Then round after round of flooding.

Nearly two months after the September flooding, hikers' options are limited.

"We are hearing frustration. People want to get into Cheyenne Ca?n. They certainly want to get back into Waldo Canyon," said Susan Davies, executive director of the Trails and Open Space Coalition.

Crews are working to reopen some areas before winter ends the construction season, while others seem destined to remain off-limits indefinitely. Here is a roundup of what is open and what isn't.

North Cheyenne Ca?/em>on: This beloved city park, with its cascading waterfalls and easy access to Pike National Forest, was damaged severely by the heavy rains, which wiped out large portions of the twisting road through the canyon. Chris Lieber, head of the city's Trails, Open Space and Parks program, said the road has been repaired temporarily and crews will begin rockfall mitigation work Monday. If all goes well, he hopes the park can reopen after two weeks.

Higher in the park, Gold Camp Road, closed to vehicles but popular among hikers and cyclists, remains closed between the tunnels. Lieber said construction to repair the road began last weekend.

Pike National Forest: National forest land southwest of Colorado Springs also was hit hard by the September rain, and Old Stage Road, which later becomes Gold Camp Road, is closed at the national forest boundary a short way above The Broadmoor area west to the Teller County line.

The U.S. Forest Service also has closed several trails above North Cheyenne Ca?n because of flood damage: Trails 665, 667 (also known as Cap'n Jacks), 668, 701 and 720. The closure order remains in effect until September 2014 unless rescinded. An agency spokesperson said it is too soon to provide an assessment of damage to the trails.

Pikes Peak Greenway: The multiuse trail that runs along Fountain Creek was wiped out by flooding and remains closed at South Nevada Avenue indefinitely.

Said Lieber: "We lost not only the trail but the real estate the trail sat on."

Rainbow Falls: This recreation area just west of Manitou Springs was impacted severely by the flooding in Manitou Springs this summer and remains closed as county officials await stabilization work from the Colorado Department of Transportation before launching repairs.

Waldo Canyon: This trail was one of the region's more popular before the namesake fire in June 2012 decimated the area. The trail, as well as Rampart Range Road from Colorado Springs to Rampart Reservoir, remain closed with no timetable for reopening.

Black Forest Regional Park: The Black Forest fire this summer tore through the pine forests of this park, and trails and the playground are closed, though other areas are open.

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