missing link 1.JPG
Caption +

Volunteers hiked to a work site on the Lake Moraine Trail in 2016, catching views of Pikes Peak. The trail, known as the Missing Link, will open this week.

Show MoreShow Less

The long wait for Pikes Peak’s “Missing Link” is set to end this week.

The Lake Moraine Trail, weaving through an untrammeled swath of America’s Mountain, should be ready for its first users Friday, said David Deitemeyer, the Colorado Springs parks planner who has overseen the project.

After another summer of construction, he said, the last order of business is to install a gate at one head of the 4.25-mile trail, at the terminus of Trail 667 near the area known as Jones Park. The gate is to bar motorists from the trail, which has been funded by mountain bikers and is expected to attract long-distance runners and hikers as well.

From that popular riding area in North Cheyenne Cañon Park, “the link” will connect to Barr Trail near Mountain View, not far from Pikes Peak’s halfway refuge of Barr Camp.

The Lake Moraine Trail presents a third formalized summiting route to the peak. The most ambitious users will start in North Cheyenne Cañon and continue up Barr Trail to the 14,115-foot top.

So ends a decadeslong effort that some thought never would be won in their lifetimes.

The high-alpine corridor has been no secret to local aficionados, and the rogue rides were one reason land managers came to the negotiation table. A 2010 agreement with Colorado Springs Utilities marked the lifting of a gate that for a century blocked recreation in the mountain’s south slope watersheds.

Cycling advocates with local nonprofit Medicine Wheel continued fundraising until finally volunteers two years ago banded with Singletrack Trails, the crews responsible for some of the state’s more vaunted riding paths.

Although the remoteness and length are sure to keep casual outdoors lovers away, Deitemeyer expects the trail will get “a fair amount of use” due to the built-up anticipation.

“There’s a lot of interest from the community to explore that part of the forest and watershed that hasn’t been opened to the public before,” he said.

The namesake of the Lake Moraine Trail won’t be in view. The singletrack runs just below the spot near 10,230 feet that the pioneers knew as Mystic Lake.

Deitemeyer said the city “in the coming years” will pursue a spur up to the reservoir, as outlined in that 2010 agreement that called for fishing there.

Another long-desired trail in the region also is to open this week. “The stars just aligned,” Deitemeyer said.

The Dixon Trail will grant hikers access to an iconic summit. Cheyenne Mountain State Park’s manager said to look for an announcement on the park’s webpage: cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/CheyenneMountain.

Seth is a features writer at The Gazette, covering the outdoors and the people and places that make Colorado colorful.

Load comments