Cheyenne Mountain State Park
Cheyenne Mountain looms over the southern edge of the Pikes Peak Region. For decades, the public has advocated for access to the mountain summit, which was finally achieved in 2018 with the construction of the Dixon Trail.
The Top of the Mountain Trail (TOM) area is located in Cheyenne Mountain State Park (CMSP) and consists of approximately 1,021 acres acquired in 2009 through a partnership with the City of Colorado Springs and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. According to the 2013 Park Management Plan, development of a trail on TOM was considered a high priority for a number of reasons. Not only would this trail provide more strenuous physical challenges than are currently available in the park, but it would also provide access to the park’s unique higher elevation ecosystems and unparalleled views of the Front Range.
RMFI Founder Mark Hesse, working under his firm Wildscapes Planning and Design, LLC and under contract with Cheyenne Mountain State Park, completed a comprehensive Trail Development and Construction Plan for the design and construction of TOM in 2013. The trail system encompasses approximately 3.6 miles (19,216 feet) of trail through ‘extremely rugged’ environment characterized by densely forested north facing slopes and ‘steep shoulders and ridges’. Soils within TOM consist of rock outcrop-Coldcreek-Tolman complex with slopes between 9% and 90%. Typical overstory vegetation includes Rocky Mountain juniper, ponderosa pine, other conifer species, and mountain mahogany with an understory composed primarily of mountain muhly, big bluestem, side-oats grama, and western wheatgrass.
Significant progress was made on the construction of the Dixon Trail in 2018, including opening the trail to the public for the first time. RMFI, FoCMSP, and CPW joined forces with the Mile High Youth Corps, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, and other partner organizations to clear the trail corridor and construct tread on all but approximately 1,500 feet of the Dixon Trail. The project was close to completion in 2018, however the challenging terrain, remote backcountry location, and a late-season change in the trail alignment all contributed to slower progress than predicted. Approximately 1,500-feet of trail finishing remains.
While the Dixon Trail was completed in 2018, some areas of the trail necessitate further delineation and stabilization.
- Finish construction of 1,500 feet of the Dixon Trail.
- Construct rock retaining walls on the critical edge of the trail to stabilize trail tread.
- Routine seasonal maintenance: clear deadfall and debris from the trail corridor.
PROJECT PARTNERS AND FUNDERS
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife
- Friends of Cheyenne Mountain State Park
- Mile High Youth Corps
- Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado