Wanna get away?
From the noise. From the news. From the nuisances that sometimes come with life.
Then get lost in nature on this trail that checks off so many boxes for hiking enthusiasts.
It’s challenging, with a fair share of climbing spread over 9.5 miles.
It’s varied, with singletrack through aspen and pine, doubletrack that skirts a stream and a rock-strewn scramble to the summit.
It’s scenic, with lush meadows, pockets of wildflowers and 360-degree views from the top: North Catamount Reservoir, the Crags and Pikes Peak to the east, the Front Range mountains to the north, and the Sangre de Cristo and Sawatch ranges to the west.
And, for a majority of the trip, it’s quiet, with little sign of the crowds that litter so many of the region’s famous trails.
The hike starts with a brief stint (0.15 miles) on Elder-Fehn Trail. Walk through a gate and go right on Limber Pine Trail, following markers for the Ring the Peak network. After a mile, Limber Pine spills out onto a Colorado Springs Utilities service road. Follow the road west, as Raspberry Mountain looms in the distance.
At 2 miles, stay left as the service road gives way to a Jeep road that is lesser defined but still easy to follow. The grade steepens as the trail serpentines through the trees, with outcrops of rocks dotting the landscape.
At 3.85 miles, go straight at the junction. It’s here where, depending on the day, solitude might give way to the sound of hikers who took the shorter approach from near the Crags trailhead. But with the views that await on top, you won’t mind a little chatter.
Return the way you came.
Trip log: 9.5 miles round trip (out and back), 1,812 feet elevation gain, 10,605 feet max
Getting there: From Interstate 25, drive west on U.S. 24 for 20.5 miles (or a mile past the stoplight for Pikes Peak Regional Hospital in Woodland Park). Turn left on Edlowe Road. Follow for 3 miles to the trailhead on the left.
FYI: Hiking, biking. Dogs on leash. Restrooms at trailhead. Portions of hike inside North Slope Recreation Area closed in winter (approximately late October to early April).
NATHAN VAN DYNE, THE GAZETTE