COLORADO SPRINGS – The much-anticipated trail to the top of Cheyenne Mountain is finally close to completion after seven years in the making.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife tells News 5 they are aiming to have a soft opening for the public some time before the grand opening which is scheduled for mid-October.
And really, they could be announcing the soft-opening on their website any day now.
75-year-old Gordon Denison has been hitting the trails for more than 20 years.
But there’s one he’s waiting for: the Dixon Trail.
“I’ve been hiking in this park for years and they’ve been talking about getting it finished for years so i’m looking forward to getting out and hiking,” he said.
Work on the trail started back in 2011.
It’ll span 14 to 18 miles round-trip when it’s complete.
Volunteers have been working around the clock.
“They did two long weekends where they actually camped out and did some – some major trail-work,” said Jeannette Lara, administrative assistant with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
But, they’re still a bit behind schedule.
“So now we are really close but not yet open,” Lara added.
“I know that there’s a lot of excitement out there in the community but we are just not quite open yet. we actually have a trail crew out there today working hard trying to get it open.”
The City of Colorado Springs and Colorado Parks and Wildlife recently ran into some delays when negotiating with a property owner to secure an easement.
It’ll connect the western side of North Talon Trail to the top of the mountain.
The goal is to give people a view they’ve never seen before.
“Just kind of an area that has never in the past been open to the public,” Lara said.
“You get to the top and you can see everywhere.”>
Hikers will also get a unique sight of those NORAD antennas that peek out from above.
“The antenna farm is kind of intriguing,” said Denison.
“I’ve seen it from down here, i’d like to see it from up top.”
But visitors will have to work for the view.
“It looks like it’s a long ways up and pretty steep so it’ll be a challenge,” observed Denison.
The hike up to the top will translate to a 3,000 foot elevation jump from the current trail system.
“People like that long, hard challenge and this will definitely provide that,” Lara noted.
Denison, for one, is up for the challenge.
“I’ll be out there within a week of opening day trying to do it, see if i can,” he said.
At this point, completion depends on how much tread the crews will have to cut and if the weather cooperates.
The trail will also prove to be challenging in that it will not have any road access to the top, no camping is allowed and there will be one way in and one way out.
However, the park is going to allow bikes and horses for a 2 mile portion of the trail before it gets to steep.
At that point those hikers will have to turn around.