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Pike's Peak

posted Jul 13, 2018, 1:38 PM by Justin P   [ updated Jul 13, 2018, 1:38 PM ]

We slept in a bit after an early morning yesterday and had breakfast at the hotel.  Then we headed to North Cheyenne Cañon Park for some waterfalls in Colorado Springs.  We parked at the Helen Hunt Falls Visitor Center and could see the waterfall from the parking area.  Even with last night's storms, the water level was pretty low, but it was still a nice waterfall.  From here, we hiked up the Silver Cascades Trail a little over 0.25 miles to the waterfall.  There are two falls marked on the topo map, but the water level was so low that neither was much more than a wet rock.  We next tried to park for St. Mary's Falls Trail, but the parking area was completely full.  So we decided to head to Pike's Peak for another 14er.  This one would be a lot easier as we could drive to the summit.  After paying admission, we first stopped at Crystal Reservoir for some nice views of the lake in the shadow of Pike's Peak.  Next, we made a quick photo stop at Brown Bush.  Driving as far as Devils Playground (mile 16), we had to park.  Due to construction at the summit that limited parking, they were only allowing a few cars to drive to the summit.  The rest had to take a shuttle.  It was a bit of a wait, but soon we made it to the top.  We got some of their famous donuts that flatten at lower elevations due to the pressure differential.  Then we hiked around a bit at the summit to get some pictures of the great views of Colorado Springs.  When we were done up here, we took the shuttle back down and spent a little time climbing, scrambling and playing around at the Devils Playground.  Heading back down the mountain, we made a couple more photo stops at some of the scenic overlooks.  It was still fairly early, so we made a stop at Red Rock Canyon Open Space.  Hiking the Contemplation Trail, we went right through the beautiful red rocks for which the park is named.  We also had a great view of Garden of the Gods from here.  That was our destination for tomorrow.  At the far end of the trail, we took Mesa Trail to make a loop back to the parking lot.  It was starting to get late and we were getting hungry so we stopped for dinner at Colorado Mountain Brewing for our last dinner in Colorado.  Then we retired back to our hotel for the evening.