Mays Peak

Of the summits from North Cheyenne Cañon Park, mounts Cutler and Muscoco are most popular. The opportunity to reach two mountaintops from one trail is hard to pass - impossible, literally, as the trailhead sits beside the road from the park's main entrance. Lesser known is Mays Peak, with a trailhead reached by foot or bike.

It's easy to see why motorists miss their access to High Drive. The wide, dirt road follows a ridge with broad views of the canyon before bending to overlooks of the city and plains. This is the most straightforward way to Mays Peak's trailhead. The other, more forested route is through Jones Park. After 1.3 miles on High Drive, come to the four-way trail junction. Look right to see a path climbing into the woods. Recently, the peak's trail has been marked by an orange cone and pile of tarp-covered timber.

The summit is less than a mile away, but the views are nothing short of marvelous. After a brief rise, the path levels out, becoming clearly defined and thin in the greenery. If hiking, be prepared to move aside for mountain bikers enjoying the downhill singletrack, and listen, too, as other users might not be seen around corners.

The trail ascends to grander vistas: the mighty form of Cheyenne Mountain spilling into the city, and the wavy slopes where morning sunlight dances. Grades get harsh at times as the trail enters the tall woods, ending at a dirt hillside where ditches have formed. Follow the erosion to the top, to the panoramic views featuring snowy Ormes Peak, Mount Rosa, the rock outcrops of Tenney Crags and more.

Trip log: 3.3 miles round trip (out and back), 760-foot elevation gain, 8,284 feet max

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Getting there: From North Cheyenne Cañon's main entrance, drive to the "hub" parking lot above Helen Hunt Falls. High Drive is at the left side of the 'Y' where Lower Gold Camp Road dips to the right.

FYI: Multi-use, nonmotorized trail. Dogs on leash.

SETH BOSTER, THE GAZETTE

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