Ring the Peak–the Complete the Ring Project

Ride Ring the Peak Horseback Sept 23

 

Ride Ring the Peak on horseback from Putney Gulch to Horsethief Park.

Limited to three trailers (not counting ride leader’s). Trailers can be up to 4-horse without living quarters or extended dressing/tack rooms as space is very limited. Suggest arriving by 8:30am to park.  Find out more here.

Eventbrite - Ring the Peak Horseback Ride

Closing the 8-Mile Gap

Recognizing that little progress has been made in developing a strategy for closing the 8-mile gap on the southwest portion of the Peak, Friends of the Peak joined forces with the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC) to apply for a Planning Grant through Great Outdoors Colorado. TOSC was awarded the grant in December, 2016 and developed a Request for Proposals from planning firms to assist in the development of the plan.

After reviewing a number of excellent proposals from well qualified firms, the project’s selection committee chose N.E.S., Inc. (NES) of Colorado Springs and their team of sub-consultants.

Project Goals and Approach

The two main goals that have been identified include:

  1. The development of a Master Plan for closing the approximately 8-mile gap in the Ring, and;
  2.  The development of a  Maintenance and Sustainability Plan to ensure the long-term health and integrity of the entire Ring the Peak Trail.

NES identified a number of programmatic gaps, the closing of which are integral to the short and long-term goals for the trail. These include:

  1. Closing the Community Engagement Gap: this program will seek to build excitement in the region for the trail and define user expectations for a successful outcome. The goal is to engage the communities around the Ring to develop a shared vision of the Ring the Peak Trail;
  2. Closing the Physical 8-Mile Gap: this process will explore and evaluate trail corridor alternatives and define a preferred trail alignment to complete the Ring;
  3. Closing the Management Gap: the program will engage stakeholders in planning a sustainable future for the Ring.

The Origin of the Ring the Peak Trail

The Ring the Peak (RTP) concept was developed in detail in the early 1990’s as an off-shoot of efforts of the North Slope Advisory Committee.  Citizens Jim Strub, Lee Milner, and Tom Papadinoff, among others, were involved. Gail Synder, first head of FOTP, and a UCCS Geography student were supervised one summer by Professor Tom Huber.

Beginning in 1997, a multi-agency group was formed by Colorado Springs Utilities to develop a comprehensive regional planning effort to strike a “balance between preservation of critical water and other natural resources, and the desires for recreational access”. The process succeeded in engaging unprecedented public participation through a Citizen’s Advisory Group and a Technical Advisory Group to deal with complex resource and planning issues.

After two years of meetings, field work and research, a final plan was developed and adopted by public agencies and a number of non-profit organizations including Friends of the Peak. The plan, titled Pikes Peak Multi-Use Plan, Colorado Springs to Cripple Creek became the guiding document for resource agencies and partner organizations. To view or download a copy of the final adopted plan click on this link.

The final plan’s Regional Vision  designated a Perimeter Loop Trail consisting of a system of multi-use non-motorized trails that circle Pikes Peak. This system envisioned using existing roads and trails to complete the loop. This Perimeter Loop Trail provides the backbone for the existing Ring the Peak Trail.

Since the plan was adopted, Friends of the Peak has worked in cooperation with the Pike National Forest staff to maintain those portions of the trail designated as official segments of the Ring the Peak Trail.  Although those segments make up approximately 70% of the loop envisioned in the Multi-Use Plan, a significant gap remains on the southwest flank of the Peak in the vicinity of the cities of Cripple Creek and Victor.

The focus of this project is to propose a route that will complete the loop and develop a management and implementation strategy for this approximately 8-mile gap through a public participation process.

Building Enthusiasm for the Ring the Peak Trail

We believe that one of the most effective ways to build enthusiasm for the Ring the Peak Trail is to demonstrate what is possible and tell the story of the experience that awaits future trail explorers. Throughout the month of September, small groups will experience portions of the existing trail by hiking, by mountain biking, and by horseback. An experienced guide will lead each group, with a photographer who can capture the experience and a local reporter who can chronicle the adventure via a blog as the story unfolds. We are calling this the Ring the Peak Discovery Tour.

Date and Time

September 8, 2017  6:45 am Kick-off hike
Intemann Trail to the summit of Iron Mountain
Meet at the east side of the Cog Railway station.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 30, 2017 8:00 am to 2:00 pm
Register at this link: https://rtpdiscoveryhike.eventbrite.com
Meet the group to carpool to the trailhead

Location

Hike the west end of the Intemann Trail to the Iron Mountain Trail and the summit of Iron Mountain.

The Intemann Trail is a rolling trail in the foothills above Manitou Springs, through scrub oak and some forest.  It offers views of Manitou Springs below, Garden of the Gods, and the mountains around Manitou.  Though near the city and providing city views, Intemann Trail also has sections with a backcountry feel.  The summit of Iron Mountain is a great destination with wide views.

Moderate hike.  2.2 miles from Ruxton to the summit of Iron Mountain, so 4.4 miles round trip.  1200 feet elevation gain on the way to Iron Mountain and 600 feet elevation gain on the way back.

 

Hike a segment of Ring the Peak in the North Slope Recreation Area and loop back to the trailhead through Catamount Ranch Open Space.

The trails forming this loop go through mountain forest.  The route starts in Teller County’s Catamount Ranch Open Space and quickly enters the North Slope Recreation Area on the Limber Pine Trail.  Ring the Peak is on the Limber Pine Trail in both directions.  This hike follows the Ring counterclockwise on Limber Pine to Catamount Trail, which is a service road open only to Utility traffic, and also part of Ring the Peak.  Rather than doing an out-and-back hike, the group will make a loop back to the trailhead through Catamount Ranch Open Space.  Turn at the access point for the Vayhinger Trail in Catamount open space, and follow this trail to the Elder-Fehn Trail.  Turn right and follow the trail back to the trailhead.

Moderate hike.  4.5 miles round trip, with 900 feet of elevation gain.  Elevation on the trail is between 9400 and 9700 feet.

Meeting location: parking lot on Naegele Road, by the Prospector statue at 21st and Cimarron.  Naegele Road is 1 block north of Cimarron.  The parking lot is west of 21st, on the north side of Naegele.

Driving Directions to the trailhead: From 21st and Cimarron, go west on U.S. 24 / Cimarron about 19 miles.  Shortly past Woodland Park, turn left on Edlowe Road.  There is a left turn lane.  The turn is just past the large red sign for St. David of the Hills Episcopal Church.  Drive about 3.3 miles on Edlowe Road to the trailhead for Catamount Ranch Open Space on the left side of the road.

September 16, 2017
7:00am Colorado Mountain Brewery (21 St. and Hiway 24)
8:00am at Catamount Ranch Trailhead

Bike Ring the Peak from the trailhead for Catamount Ranch Open Space at Edlowe Road to the Raspberry trailhead along the Crags Road and on to Horsethief Park. (See driving directions to trailhead below).

This section of Ring the Peak is a rolling trail through mountain forests.  The route starts in Teller County’s Catamount Ranch Open Space and quickly enters the North Slope Recreation Area on the Limber Pine Trail.  The route is then on a dirt Utility road until it leaves North Slope, then follows an old logging road, taking some turns, until it reaches the trail that Friends of the Peak built for Ring the Peak, connecting to the Crags Road.  From the Raspberry trailhead on the Crags Road, the Ring follows the road to its end and the trailhead for the Putney Gulch segment of Ring the Peak.  This segment goes steeply up an old jeep road then continues on another segment of trail built by Friends of the Peak, connecting over to Horsethief Park.  The group will turn around and bike back the way they came.  Once returning to North Slope, the group has opportunities to bike on some other North Slope trails, such as another segment of the Limber Pine trail.  The group will return to the Edlowe Road trailhead, where they started. Turn-around options will be available at the Crags Trailhead approximately at the halfway point (10 miles round trip).

Moderate to moderately difficult ride.  5.3 miles one way from Edlowe Road trailhead to Raspberry trailhead, with 1100 feet of elevation gain and 800 feet of elevation loss.  The low point on the route is around 9,400 feet and the high point is around 10,100 feet.  Continuing on the Ring from the Raspberry trailhead adds 1.2 miles with 300 feet elevation gain on the road, then 3.5 miles with 800 feet elevation gain and 900 feet loss from the Putney Gulch trailhead over to Horsethief Park.  One way distance from Edlowe Road to Horsethief Park is 10.0 miles (round trip approximately 20 miles).  Elevations from Putney Gulch to Horsethief Park reach 10,500 feet.

Driving Directions to the trailhead: From 21st and Cimarron, go west on U.S. 24 / Cimarron about 19 miles.  Shortly past Woodland Park, turn left on Edlowe Road.  There is a left turn lane.  The turn is just past the large red sign for St. David of the Hills Episcopal Church.  Drive about 3.3 miles on Edlowe Road to the trailhead for Catamount Ranch Open Space on the left side of the road.

September 23, 2017 9:00 am
Putney Gulch Trailhead

Ride Ring the Peak on horseback from Putney Gulch to Horsethief Park.

Limited to three trailers (not counting ride leader’s). Trailers can be up to 4-horse without living quarters or extended dressing/tack rooms as space is very limited. Suggest arriving by 8:30am to park.

Riding Putney Gulch trail to Horsethief Park trail portion of RTP trail. We will ride to Horsethief Falls and then an option to continue to Pancake Rocks. Distance to Horsethief Falls, approx. 5 miles, 1,000 Ft. elevation gain. Distance to Pancake Rocks, approx. 2.25 miles, 1,120 ft. elevation gain. This is an out and back ride so round trip mileage will be 10 to 15 miles. Elevation on the trail is between 10,200 and 10,500 feet. Horses should be in good shape for climbing and descending rocky trails and should have shoes. Due to the terrain, plan on keeping your horses at a walk. Bring drinks, lunch and snacks for the ride. Be prepared and bring clothing layers and rain gear.

This section of Ring the Peak is a pleasant ride through mountain forest.  It starts up an old jeep road but soon turns on a trail built by Friends of the Peak.  The trail connects over to Horsethief Park, which in September should have golden aspens.  Horsethief Park also has some old cabin ruins and beaver ponds.

Moderate trail ride.  3.5 miles from Putney Gulch trailhead to Horsethief Park one way, with 800 feet elevation gain and 900 feet elevation loss.

Driving Directions to the trailhead:  Take US 24 west.  Turn left at the traffic light in Divide at CO 67.  Drive south on CO 67 for about 4 miles.  Soon after the entrance to Mueller State park on the right, turn left on CR-62 / Forest Service Road 383.  Drive 4 miles on the dirt road (through the Mennonite camp) to the end of the road.

Opportunities for Public Input

A number of public meetings will be held primarily in the Cripple Creek/Victor area during the coming year. These meetings will provide ample opportunities for public input. Two Public Meetings will be held to present work products and solicit comments from interested citizens, businesses and organizational representatives. There will also be four Stakeholder Meetings of governmental and agency representatives. A Public Forum will be held in November that will focus on the potential for outdoor recreation in the region and the economic benefits of those activities. The forum will also provide opportunities for public input in small, facilitated groups.

Meeting

Public Meeting #1 (part of Outdoor Recreation Forum)

Public Meeting #2

Date and Time

November 18, 2017   1-4 pm

January 24, 2018   5-7 pm

Location

Heritage Center, Cripple Creek

Ute Cultural Center, Woodland Park

Existing Trail Maps, Documents and Links

Friends of the Peak

The Friends of the Peak web site has a wealth of information on the evolution of the Ring the Peak Trail as well as maps of the trail segments. They also have downloadable GPS files, photos of trail heads and key trail junctions, and driving directions to trailheads.

Trails and Open Space Coalition

As a project of TOSC, interested parties can check TOSC’s web site and Facebook Page for regular updates on the project.

Project Documents

As products are developed and made available for the public and stakeholders, we will place links for viewing and downloading here.

Interactive Pikes Peak Area Trail Map

To get you started and oriented to the Pikes Peak region, displayed below is an interactive map supplied by MTB Project an REI company. Map widget used with their permission.

click the edit button to change this text.

Text on the button

Trails and Open Space Coalition

Mike Rigney, Project Manager
mike@trailsandopenspaces.org
719-633-6884

N.E.S. Inc. Project Consultants

Chris Lieber, Project Lead
Chris@nescolorado.com
719-471-0267

Friends of the Peak

Carol Beckman
719-527-1384

Email/Newsletter Signup

Allison Towe, Bachman Public Relations
allison@bachmanpr.com

Read our Ring the Peak Newsletters.