After Paul Intemann’s death in 1986, volunteers banded together to make the Manitou Springs city planner’s dream come true: a long recreation path in the foothills. The Intemann Trail Committee is to thank for the spectacular escape. Touring scenic ridges, forests and red rocks, the trail spans nearly 6 miles between Manitou and the popular Section 16.
Long-distance runners and cyclists will out-and-back the trip, but most will caravan. We started from Manitou’s Iron Mountain and hitched a ride back from the Section 16 trailhead.
The Iron Mountain Trail starts beside Pawnee Avenue. The views emerge immediately: the Waldo Canyon burn scar, Cave of the Winds and Garden of the Gods. In about a mile, the trail splits right to the summit, left to continue Intemann.
In another 1 1/2 miles, the trail drops to Crystal Park Road, another well-marked starting point with the soothing sound of a stream. A handy map is displayed here, along with a guide indicating the Section 16 trailhead is 2.6 miles out, with options along the way to exit for Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
We kept straight until coming to a post missing its directional maker. We hung right, soon meeting the Section 16 Trail at a ‘T’ — recognizable for the crowds continuing right to the overlook. We went left to the trailhead.
Trip log: 5.4 miles round trip, 1,200 feet elevation gain.
Getting there: Multiple starting points. Most available parking at Section 16 trailhead, some at Crystal Park Road trailhead. If starting in Manitou, park for free at Hiawatha Gardens, 10 Old Man’s Trail, and walk less than a mile to Iron Mountain trailhead beside Pawnee Avenue, following the uphill road behind the traffic light, past the library and elementary school to the end of the neighborhood.
FYI: Multiuse trail. Dogs on leash.
SETH BOSTER, THE GAZETTE