A little known trail lies off Old Stage Road, so don’t tell anyone about this secret spot.
Head west on West Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard to Penrose Boulevard. Continue straight on Old Stage Road and follow this winding mountain road for about six miles before bearing left on Forest Service Road 371 and go a quarter-mile to the trailhead on the left with limited parking.
Follow the decent yet unmarked trail southward, sticking to the main route along the ridge where hikers will enjoy fine views to the west of Mount Vigil on the left and Sugarloaf Mountain on the right.
As the trail climbs, 11,499-foot Mount Rosa and the 12er Almagre Peak will peek into view. Sprawling valleys of thick conifer forest lie below, providing year round habitat for birds like Clark’s Nutcracker and Red-breasted Nuthatch.
The route to the summit is a series of short but steep ups and downs. After about a mile the trail traverses to the east side of the ridge allowing for some glimpses of the plains to the east. This wetter side results in more flower blooms and even a few aspen trees.
As the trail switchbacks up, look down for odd slushy looking quartz along the trail.
Granite outcrops adorn the summit and take time to enjoy the expansive panorama of the Great Plains. On a clear day, look south for views of the distant Wet Mountains and high point Greenhorn Mountain (12,352 feet) in addition to the 13ers East and West Spanish Peaks beyond. Before retracing the route to the parking area, work westward along the summit to soak in another wonderful and wider view of the mountains to the west.
Joe LaFleur has lived in Woodland Park since 2016 and is a hiking enthusiast who hits the trails weekly. Contact Joe with questions or feedback at email@example.com. Hiking is great exercise, but can be hazardous. Always be sure to plan well, check the weather, bring a printed map, tell someone where and when you are going, and contact them when you return safely.