Cheyenne Mountain North – The Horns

Date: 3/31/2012
Who: Sammy and myself
Length: 7 miles (3.5 out + 3.5 back)
Time: 4 hours
Weather: 45-78 degrees, clear

We stumbled across a bit of Colorado Springs history today. At the top of Cheyenne Mountain North, we found what remains of the Cheyenne Lodge. Back at home, I learned that it was a hotel and restaurant built by Spencer Penrose in 1925, along with a road for cars to reach it. It felt kind of eerie up there exploring the remnants of the Lodge. This site has some old postcard images. The Pikes Peak Library posted this promotional video from 1936. I wonder what it was like to stay there.

The MacNeill trail is a fine hiking trail. I bet it was named after Charles MacNeill, a partner of Spencer Penrose in the mining industry. I would like to hike the trail again sometime and take the Swisher trail up to the Cheyenne Mountain summit proper.

This hike followed the BLUE line:

View Colorado Chris Hikes in a larger map

15 thoughts on “Cheyenne Mountain North – The Horns

  1. WOW! The postcards and video were interesting to view after being on top with you! I loved the clothes and hairstyles in the video, and seeing you in the crows nest also shown in the video. Thanks.

  2. I like that you do the historical research to answer your curiosity, and the video was fun (Will Rogers’ shrine of the sun/granite tower? Is that still around?). I can imagine wanting to follow the pipes to find the end!
    Also, I’ve noticed how connected the trails are, and see why you would want to take one trail after intersecting it with another hike previously.
    Sometimes wish I lived right there so I could walk along with you. Proud of your hikes, and the effort to blog/share them; I really, really enjoy them!

  3. I know your post is from a year ago, but I came across it looking for info on the Cheyenne Lodge.

    Back in about 1998, when I was younger and more willing to break the law, I snuck past the Will Rogers Shrine, up a steep gully, and onto the original access road for the Cheyenne Lodge. Hiking the road you can find multiple cars from the lodges operational days that slid off the road into the trees. I wish I still had the pictures! Were talking cars from the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s!

    Watching your videos I was able to recognize quite a bit up there. I don’t know if it has changed, but back in the late 90’s, there were no trespassing signs all over, and if caught on the property, the caretaker didn’t give you a second chance. I guess all the graffiti in the old telegraph office was too much for him!

    Anyhow, I know this is late, but great video and picture. I hope to hike up there again someday soon…

  4. I was taking a few photos of Cheyenne Mountain from my backyard. In my photos I noticed a structure in the general area of The Horns. Is that a caretaker’s home or some other structure? I know the Cheyenne Lodge that once occupied “the summit” is no more, and not much is remaining. Just wondering.

    • David, Thanks for the nice e-mail conversation… Sharing the thread below in case anyone else is interested in the information:

      Yes, please do post. I think it would be of great value to your regular readers. I think if the Broadmoor does it the right way, I think it can be a win-win for everyone. Day-hikers have the most knowledge of the trail system on the mountain, and the Broadmoor seems to be interested in promoting that aspect of the new lodge. What better knowledge source than the day-hikers: they know which trails need to be shored up and redeveloped, etc.


      From: Chris
      Sent: Sunday, April 06, 2014 4:18 PM
      To: David
      Subject: RE: [Colorado Chris] Comment: “Cheyenne Mountain North – The Horns”

      Wow, that is exciting! Thanks very much for the info. I hope that the Broadmoor views us day-hikers as potential customers of the Cloud Camp lodge, rather than unwelcome trespassers. I really look forward to staying there in the future.

      Do you mind if I post this e-mail thread in the comments section of my blog?


      From: David
      Sent: Sunday, April 06, 2014 10:16 AM
      To: Chris
      Subject: Re: [Colorado Chris] Comment: “Cheyenne Mountain North – The Horns”

      Hi Chris,

      I checked the Broadmoor web site. You’re right the Broadmoor is building up there. They call it “Cloud Camp”, built on the old Cheyenne Lodge site. The information is on their web site here: When the Broadmoor did the big renovation of the hotel grounds in the late 1990s, I slightly remember there was some talk of rebuilding the old Penrose lodge. Since nothing more was said, I assumed the hotel dropped the plan because of cost, etc. I also checked through my photo archives to see about when construction began on the new lodge. I’ve attached copies of two photos. 5126 is from December 2013 and 5125 is from February 2014. It appears construction of the new lodge began late last year.

      It’ll be interesting when this new lodge opens (it sounds expensive) and how the Broadmoor will handle the day hikers.

      I guess it’s mystery solved.

      Best regards,


      From: Chris
      Sent: Saturday, April 05, 2014 9:27 PM
      To: David
      Subject: RE: [Colorado Chris] Comment: “Cheyenne Mountain North – The Horns”

      Interesting photos! I wonder if the Broadmoor is building something up there. I think they own it.
      From: David
      Sent: ‎4/‎5/‎2014 9:13 PM
      To: Chris
      Subject: Re: [Colorado Chris] Comment: “Cheyenne Mountain North – The Horns”
      Hi Chris,

      Thank you for reply. That was my thought it was a possibly the lookout tower
      or a retaining wall. I originally spotted the structure by eyesight when the
      sunrise light hit just perfect on April 1st. Before Tuesday, I’ve never seen
      it before though I knew the lodge was demolished years ago. I’ve attached a
      copy of the photos.

      Thanks for the info.

      Best regards,



      From: Chris
      Sent: Saturday, April 05, 2014 6:10 PM
      To: David
      Subject: RE: [Colorado Chris] Comment: “Cheyenne Mountain North – The Horns”

      Hi David,

      There’s a lookout tower with a flagpole (or maybe a lightning rod?) on it.
      This is situated slightly below the former location of the lodge. Maybe
      that’s what you saw?


  5. Wow – we have lived in the springs now for a year, and I have been Dying to know what was up on that ridge where the flag pole is. I finally had time to research it today, and came across your post/pictures/video – Jackpot!!! I can’t wait to hike this. There is so much history in these hills!!!

  6. Hi Chris & everyone else,

    I’m from Chicago and went to Colorado for a week in September 2014. Using your blog post as our reference, my boyfriend and I hiked the MacNeill trail on Monday, September 22, 2014. The hike was awesome and we really enjoyed the unincorporated aspects of the trial and how “back-woods” it was for us.

    For anyone hiking this trail going forward: When the trail ends/when the Broadmoor’s property begins, it isn’t clearly marked so you may end up going right into Cloud Camp. The Broadmoor/Camp Cloud is built at the trail end which is also where Chris was able to view the Horns. We were unable to view the Horns from the structure in Chris’ video but would still recommend the hike to others. When we reached Camp Cloud, it was coincidentally the opening week and the staff didn’t seem very warm to having hikers on their property. It was definitely not our intention to trespass but did so accidentally.

    Chris, thank you for the informative video, which helped tremendously when finding the trail head. I look forward to visiting Colorado again soon and will be looking for more posts.

    Take care!

  7. Submitted 2016 April 30th:

    Hello Chris,

    Thanks for a fascinating posting!

    It is forturnate that you took your hike and filmed your video when you did; your shots of the ruins of Cheyenne Mountain Lodge can never be filmed again.

    Too bad the Broadmoor didn’t retain the historic name and call it The (New) Cheyenne Mountain Lodge.

    You wondered what it would have been like to say at The Lodge. Now for a mere $750 to $1000 per night, you can find out 😉 The 2016 season is from April 29th to October 30th.

    I have slightly different version of the historic postcard of the Pueblo-style Cheyenne Mountain Lodge with a captioned back that I would be happy to share with you if you are interested.


  8. Hi There!
    When my husband and his buddies were teens they used to live in Cheyenne Canyon and hiked ALL over the Cheyenne Canyon area (and the rest of the state for that matter). My husband tells me that towards the end of WWII a B-24 tall tail plane crashed somewhere in Fisher Canyon. The plane had been on a training mission and flew up the wrong canyon and were unable to make it out and plowed straight into the terrain. There were of course, fatalities. The kids were in their teens when they were exploring the wreckage and this was 50 years ago this year (2018). The Lodge was still standing at that time and it’s design was a southwestern pueblo type architecture. It had been slightly vandalized (broken windows, etc.) at that point. The Lodge was kind of like a “forgotten jewel”.

    On a different tack… There had been a cog railway that ran from the Broadmoor Hotel to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in those days as well.

    I have heard that you can now ride horseback up to the Cloud Camp “accommodations”… don’t know if they tack on an additional fee for the use of the animals plus the guide. Rather posh set-up up there.

    • Hello, I know it’s late to reply to this but I found your comment very informative. I am a teenager that routinely hikes and bushwhacks through the canyon. I was wondering if you husband remembered what part of the canyon the plane crash was located in. Thank you.

  9. Chris,

    What a great video of your hike. I am a flagpole climber and had just painted the pole at the lodge on 4/09/2018. I had also climbed the horns where the second flagpole is located (lightning rod). If able check out my pics on my Facebook site. Raising Freedom Corporation.

    Again thanks for your video it was great to watch.

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