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Blodgett Peak Open Space offers a rare, unheralded escape - a lesser-known refuge of meandering, wooded trails and sweeping views of northern Colorado Springs.
Just be ready to bring your A-game.
Getting to the summit in this open space on the city's northwest side requires a steep push involving a 4-mile round trip and more than 2,000 feet of vertical gain. Sketchy slopes, loose scree and way-finding on the faint, broken trail make the hike to the top a challenge even for experts.
Those looking for more adventure may elect to track down the mountain's macabre secret. Eight hundred feet below the summit of the 9,426-foot Blodgett Peak, off the northwest ridge, lie the remains of a military cargo plane that crashed Feb. 23, 1943, en route from Pueblo to Denver, killing two - one of several fatal plane crash sites that dot Colorado Springs' share of the Front Range.
Visiting the wreckage is possible, but should probably be reserved for advanced hikers familiar with back country navigation and wilderness first-aid. Visitors should leave artifacts in place and take home only their impressions.
Those looking for more casual thrills will be well served by sticking to the open space's lower reaches. There, you'll find better-marked trails that thread groves of Douglas fir, ponderosa pine and scrub oak.
The best of the trail network can be accessed by climbing Hummingbird Trail and following Gambel Oak Trail to the top of the ridge. Here, an informational sign about the Waldo Canyon fire will detail some of the challenges that went into restoring this land after it was blackened by flames in 2012.
Getting there: From downtown Colorado Springs, take Interstate 25 north to the Garden of the Gods exit. Exit west. Heading west, turn right at Centennial Boulevard. Head north on Centennial. After passing Vindicator Road, Centennial Boulevard will turn into Woodmen Road. Continue on Woodmen Road and find a parking area for Blodgett Peak Open Space on the left.