Mountain Biking |Stratton Open Space | Colorado Springs, CO | 06.16. 2010
The Stratton Open Space, Cheyenne Canyon and the Gold Camp road are like an extended backyard to me. I went on my first hikes in the Canyon, learned how to mountain bike on and around Gold Camp Road and, for years, have ridden the Chutes trail through the Stratton Open Space up Gold Camp Road and onto bigger, nastier trails above.
Yesterday marked my first ride on these trails since summer of 2008 and all I can say is, “man! I’m glad to be home!”. It was just like I remembered it but better! I’ll spare most of the details of the ride and area from this post and direct you toward my photos, but the Stratton Open Space is a large open area on the Southwest side of Colorado Springs just west of the Broadmoor Hotel and Cheyenne Mountain High School. Over the years the city has added new trails and signage to guide people around. It’s an extremely popular local area to hike, mountain bike, walk dogs and enjoy our amazing weather. The trails connect up to the historic Gold Camp Road and head up Cheyenne Canyon to some epic mountain trails.
My two favorite trails in the Stratton are the Chutes and fairly-new Chamberlin trails. Each is great in it’s own right. Yesterday, I took the lower Chamberlin from the base of North Cheyenne Canyon, around the under-renovation Gold Camp Reservoir, through the open space, and connected up with the Chutes to the Gold Camp Road. It was a brutal after-work ride and the 95 degrees on the trail didn’t lend me a hand.
The Chamberlin trail is a great weaving trail that snakes through scrub oak and a little pine (though federal wildfire mitigation funds have cut a lot of pine out). It’s pretty easy with not many hazards other than happy dogs ready to knock you off your bike for a lick-fest.
The Chutes trail has been a long-time favorite of local riders, long before it was a city park. It’s essentially a drainage channel that gets hundreds times more people-traffic than water. It’s a steep climb but a wild, fast and fun descent. Some of the way-too-common hazards on this blazing trail are: downhill mountain bikers, dogs, runners, dogs, hikers, dogs, kids, bears, deer, mountain lions, gravel, sand, HUGE water-bars (courtesy of my dad), shadows, rocks, roots, Broadmoor Hotel Guest riders from low elevations, too much speed and, did I mention dogs?! I won’t go into all the details BUT, it’s a great local trail. Be sure to check out all the photos by clicking on the link to go to the full slideshow! (and check this post often as I will be adding to it when I have more time/energy!)