Cheyenne Mountain’s geological summit lies on the southwestern portion of the mountain. The mountain always intrigued me because the front range seems to fall away after Cheyenne Mountain.There are no trails leading to the summit, so it is necessary to navigate most of the way. The summit and path I chose were all on public lands – Pikes Peak National Forest, so it was legal to hike up. I chose the path with the least amount of elevation gain, and while steep, turned out to be fun hike. It was a beautiful Saturday, but I saw no one until I got back to the car. It’s a great place to practice navigation skills while still close to civilization, and the entire hike is in the shade.
Round trip: 3.6 miles / 5.8 km
Elevation:8,454′-9,565′ (+1,111′) / 2,577m – 2,915m (+338m)
The most direct route begins alongside Old Stage Road. Old Stage road/368 climbs up a valley along the west side of Cheyenne Mountain from Colorado Springs. There is a turnout for about 3 cars across the street from where the trek starts (see pictures and Directions). Once across the street the most direct path to the summit is to head east-northeast until the summit ridge where you will turn north-northeast.
After climbing a fairly steep section after the road, things flatten out as you traverse the ridge of a smaller hill. There is a faint trail heading to the northeast along this section, follow it. 50 feet before the end of the faint trail head east and down a shallow gully before heading up to the summit ridge. There is very deep forest and brush in this section, so look for the path of least resistance. This sections gets steeper as you near the summit ridge.
Once on the summit ridge you will see the true summit to the north-northeast. Cross one more shallow gully before heading up to the summit.
The challenge of this hike is navigation through thick forest (no trail) and the steepness much of the way. The most direct (and best) way is the path I took going up.
The views to the east are mostly blocked by the lower reaches of the mountain that sprawl eastward
The mountain serves as a host for military, communications, recreational, and residential functions. The underground operations center for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) was built during the Cold War to monitor North American airspace for missile launches and Soviet military aircraft. Built deep within the granite, it was designed to withstand bombing and fallout from a nuclear war. Its function broadened with the end of the Cold War, and then many of its functions were transferred to Peterson Air Force Base in 2006.
Spencer Penrose, who built The Broadmoor in 1918, bought many of the properties on the mountain and built the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Highway, Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun, a lodge on one of the mountain peaks, and a retreat at Emerald Valley.