It’s taken me awhile to post about this hike, one of three that I did on my last visit to Colorado this summer.
I was going to meet up with my friend Chuck and a buddy of his named Kevin. The original plan was to climb the Citadel near Loveland Pass, but the weather decided not to cooperate. Time for Plan B, which in this case was Eagle Peak, a 9,368-foot mountain overlooking the U.S. Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs. I figured this would be a good warm-up hike for doing a four-peak loop later in the week. Little did I know that it would offer plenty of challenge on its own.
It was surprisingly steep. In addition, several sections were pretty loose. Eagle Peak is no stroll in the park.
That said, it’s scenic, and for the uber-fit fellas from the Academy or the trail runners in the Springs, it’s a great running challenge right outside of town. More power to ’em. I had a tough enough time hiking up the dang thing with my flatlander lungs.
The payoff, of course, goes beyond the fitness benefits. The summit views are amazing. I’ll let the pics to the talking.
The trail itself was beautiful, with a flat section below the summit filled with aspens and evergreens, and a waterfall farther down. I didn’t get a decent pic of the falls, but I did snap some other shots of the woods.
I’ve heard Eagle Peak described as “the Incline, but on a trail.” Sounds about right (The Incline, if you’re not familiar with it, is a popular hike up an old cog rail line that picks up about 2,000 feet in a mile. Its trailhead is in Manitou Springs). It’s a 3.6-mile out-and-back hike on what I’d call a difficult Class 2 route with around 2,106 feet of elevation gain. Needless to say, it made it easy to justify the barbecue feast the ensued after this one was over.
For people living in the area, Eagle Peak might be a good substitute for the Incline, as the latter is being closed for maintenance. The peak is also far less crowded and doesn’t come with any parking fees.
GETTING THERE: Go to the South Gate at the Air Force Academy and gain entry to the school’s property (a guard will ask questions before you continue). Drive on Stadium Boulevard, and turn west on Academy Drive when you get to the stadium. Drive to where the Falcon Trail meets the road and park there.