Bratton-Catamount loop, Green Mountain Falls

Between Colorado Springs and Woodland Park, a hamlet tucked between evergreen slopes has steadily become a hiking paradise.

Green Mountain Falls’ trail-building troops have been led by Dick Bratton, the town’s former mayor who spent 21 years with the Air Force. In a 2018 interview with The Gazette, he recalled “crusty advice” from former sergeants: “One said, ‘The thing you gotta remember when you lead: Do not forget to feed the troops, or everything will go to hell.’”

So he’s fed them at the local eateries, where they’ve plotted footpaths with an eye toward sustainability. In 2015, the Green Mountain Falls Trails Committee finished the Mount Dewey Trail, and from the top two years later, builders extended the Bratton Trail — honoring their commander by establishing a scenic loop around town.

The trek up Mount Dewey is about a mile, a moderately challenging ascent with rewarding views above 8,400 feet. The Bratton Trail is well-marked from the summit, switchbacking down the mountainside. The town remains in sight, but it’s easy to feel far removed among thick oak and brief rock scrambles.

Our tracker read 2.25 miles when we entered a pine- and aspen- mixed forest. The path seamlessly meets the Catamount Trail at a point where you could continue up the hillside, toward the meadow known as the Garden of Eden. Continue the loop by staying straight, following the rock-riddled path down.

The route can seem to disappear in the ruggedness, but pay attention to directional markers on trees. You’re close to the finish when you hear the waterfall, which spills to an access road. Walk across the bridge, toward the water tank, and come to Hondo Avenue, which leads back to town.

Trip log: 4.1 miles round trip (loop), 1,134 feet elevation gain, 8,460 feet max

Difficulty: Moderate-difficult

Getting there: In town, Olathe Street is the dirt path where the paved main road bends. Park at the pulloff here or the pulloff with more spots along the main road. Walking up Olathe, turn right onto Ann Street, which veers left uphill. Take the first right onto Catamount Street, then the second right onto Myrtle Street. Mount Dewey trailhead straight ahead.

FYI: Hiking only. No camping. Dogs on leash. Trails icy in winter; bring traction.

SETH BOSTER, THE GAZETTE

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