Blodgett Peak

Date: 4/15/2018
Who: myself
Length: about 5 miles (2.5 out + 2.5 back)
Time: 4.5 hours
Weather: 40-50 degrees, sunny, calm

Blodgett Peak trail is accessible from the Peregrine neighborhood on the northwest side of Colorado Springs. The trails starts at Blodgett Peak Open Space parking lot.

Friends at work had warned me about difficulties route-finding on this summit. I had received warnings about many social trails, steepness, gravel, talus, and even some rock-climbing. It was indeed a challenge for me, but also really fun! I found a route that was relatively reasonable. A predominately dirt trail does exist to the top, and it is possible to avoid rock-climbing and talus-scrambling.

At the summit, I had the place to myself for about 45 minutes with beautiful views, warm sun, utter calmness, no wind, and quiet. It’s kind of rare that those factors all come together.

My tips for hiking Blodgett Peak:
– In the beginning section, do not hike all the way to the water tower. There’s a fence installed there now to discourage hiking up the social trails. Instead, take Hummingbird Trail, which is very nice and doesn’t add much if any distance.
– In the valley with the creek bed, stay left of the creek bed for as long as possible. There are several places where the trail and gravity seem to lead you to cross over to the right side. On the left side, the trail is mostly dirt and rock. The right side looked like mostly gravel to me. Stay left until you get to a spot with a ~20′ waterfall leaving no choice but to climb rock or cross over to the right. Then, follow the trail near the rock wall upward until you can get around the wall.
– At the top of the rock wall, turn left on the trail heading slightly downhill. It seems wrong to go downhill, but the trail starts ascending again very soon. And, it avoids the talus field.
– When you see the “V” tree (see video), take a left where marked by large tree branches on the ground. Again, this keeps the route on a mostly-dirt trail and avoids the talus field.
– Be prepared for a very steep hike. I found hiking poles very useful.

I saw someone else’s YouTube video which mentioned pink ribbons. But, I only spotted 3 pink ribbons on my route. If anyone has corrections or better advice for reaching Blodgett Peak, please comment below.

This hike was so steep, it reminded me of the Manitou Incline. Here are some stats for comparison: Manitou Incline climbs 2000 feet in 0.88 miles. Blodgett Peak Trail (the steep section starting at the creek valley) climbs 1800 feet in about 1 mile.

This hike followed the BLUE line:

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Trail 667 and Trail 622A

Date: 12/30/2017 and 3/24/2018
Who: Samadhi and myself
Length: about 6 miles
Time: 3 hours
Weather: about 50-60 degrees, sunny

My goal for these two hikes was to explore the rerouted section of trail 667. The U.S. Forest Service worked with various interest groups to reroute the trail over the last 2 or 3 years, in order to protect greenback cutthroat trout living in Bear Creek. There have been several stories about it in the local paper (example, example). Now that the new section of trail is open, I headed out to see it for myself, and to find out whether or not access to Mt. Garfield is still open. Mt. Garfield is still accessible, and I think they did a fine job with the new trail.

Official Forest Service documentation on this is in Order # PSICC-2017-12. The Forest Service map is difficult to interpret: It’s not topographical, and weirdly the protected asset Bear Creek is blocked out from the map.

Trail 667 has historical significance as the route to the summit of Pikes Peak in the 1800s, before Barr Trail took over. The book “Shattered Dreams on Pikes Peak”, available in special collections at the Pikes Peak Library, documents developers’ efforts in the area.

The new trail 667 starts at the saddle in Jones park, just west of the summit of Mt. Kineo. Going east, it follows the north slope of Mt. Kineo, then jumps over to the south slope for a section, then meets up with the original trail east of Mt. Kineo summit. It is still possible to make a loop hike from the 4-way parking lot in N. Cheyenne Canyon park.

Hikers be aware, trail 667 is multi-use so you will likely encounter motorized dirt bikes and mountain bikes.

Heading west on trail 667 from the junction in the Jones park, I quickly encountered a turn-off for new hiking trail 622A. Trail 622A is designated for hikers, horses, and mountain bikes (not motorized dirt bikes). It goes northwest towards Bear Creek, crosses the creek, and leads directly to Loud’s cabin. The steep unnumbered trail to the saddle between Mt. Garfield and Mt. Arthur starts at Loud’s cabin.

From Loud’s cabin heading west towards Lake Moraine, it appears that the original trail 667 along Bear Creek remains open for non-motorized use. (Will this connect to Ring the Peak?)

Chris and Samadhi on 7 Bridges Trail 622

March 24 was also my first hike with a new Osprey Atmos AG 65 backpack. I loaded it up with about 30 lbs. of gear. I’m getting ready for a backpacking trip later this year. It has almost twice the capacity as the pack I use for day hikes.

I updated my Google Maps page to show the re-routed sections in GREEN. I did not delete the old closed sections from the map yet. This is based on my memory. I do not have a GPS tracker.:

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Seven Falls

Date: 7/22/2016
Who: Jessica, Michelle and myself
Length: 1.6 miles (0.8 mi. in + 0.8 mi. out)
Time: about 2 hours
Weather: 75 degrees

Seven Falls is a tourist attraction on private property, opened in the 1880s, and owned and operated by the Broadmoor Hotel since August 2015. In my opinion, the Broadmoor has done a great job with the property. The new format includes parking at the hotel, a shuttle ride to and from the canyon, and a 0.8-mile hike to the falls. The entrance fee (which includes parking and shuttle) is $14 for adults and $8 for children. Optionally, visitors who cannot walk can pay an extra fee for a tram ride to the falls. I’m not sure, but I think these fees are lower than they were before the Broadmoor purchased the property.

This week, my niece Jessica from Indianapolis was visiting Michelle and me. We really enjoyed our time at Seven Falls. We went in the evening while temperatures were relatively cool. Even though it’s a Broadmoor (5-star hotel) attraction, most visitors including ourselves were dressed quite casual. The walk up the canyon was very pleasant with beautiful scenery and plenty of photo opportunities. Jessica and I climbed up the 200+ stairs to the top of the falls. We also took the mountain-elevator to a lookout point. We did not hike the trails into the woods at the top of the falls, and neither did we visit Restaurant 1858.

Michelle Jessica and Chris at Seven Falls

The Broadmoor also built a zipline course in the Seven Falls canyon. It was fun to watch and hear the occasional zipline rider overhead. The mountain elevator is still there, as well as gift shops. I consider Seven Falls a Disneyworld-like hiking experience. For certain visitors looking for a tame yet beautiful outdoor experience, it is a very good option.

This hike followed the LIGHT BLUE line to Seven Falls and back:

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PS, The long gap between posts was due to a combination of moving to a new house, and technical challenges. Hopefully, hiking posts will be more frequent again.