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:
- The development of a Master Plan for closing the approximately 8-mile gap in the Ring, and;
- 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:
- 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;
- 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;
- Closing the Management Gap: the program will engage stakeholders in planning a sustainable future for the Ring.
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.
Public Meeting #1 (part of Outdoor Recreation Forum)
Public Meeting #2
Date and Time
November 18, 2017 1-4 pm
Heritage Center, Cripple Creek
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 experienced portions of the existing trail by hiking, by mountain biking. Unfortunately our horseback adventure was cancelled due to weather. We were fortunate to have a number of good photographers chronicle our adventures and a sampling of those are posted below. As soon as we can in the spring the Ring the Peak Discovery Tour will resume.
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
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.
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.
Trails and Open Space Coalition
Mike Rigney, Project Manager
N.E.S. Inc. Project Consultants
Chris Lieber, Project Lead
Friends of the Peak
Allison Towe, Bachman Public Relations