Across the Pikes Peak region, we return to our favorite trails for exercise, views and fresh air. We might not think twice about their names.
A closer look reminds us that this is a region as rich in history as it is in nature:
Aiken Canyon Trail: Renowned 19th-century ornithologist Charles Aiken first surveyed this rolling red-rock landscape south of Colorado Springs. He identified more than 75 bird species, many of which are still sighted today as they loop through the reserve.
Barr Trail: Fred Barr is the man behind the region’s most famous trail. His ambitious trek to the top of Pikes Peak, completed 101 years ago, was the ultimate excursion for his donkey business.
Blackmer Trail: One of the best loops at Cheyenne Mountain State Park honors Henry M. Blackmer, a prominent attorney and businessman in the early days of Colorado Springs. Local historian Eric Swab finds that Blackmer was on the founding board of Spencer Penrose’s Pikes Peak Camping and Mountain Trail Association. Blackmer’s other associations included the Cheyenne Mountain Country Club.
Blodgett Trail: The path skirts beneath the rocky peak that forms the open space of the same name and is in an area dominated by the Blodgetts in the mid to late 19th century. The Air Force Academy is now located on the family ranch.
Bock way: As short as the trail at Red Rock Canyon Open Space may be, the namesake is no small matter. “The citizens of Colorado Springs should thank John Bock,” said an official at the time of the city’s acquisition of the property in 2002. “He is the reason we have this park.” After years of industry and landfill here and more Years of back and forth plans for grand development, Bock is credited with preparing the country for the recreational paradise it is now.
Captain Jacks: The trail high in the North Cheyenne Canyon is named after one of the Pikes Peak region’s most mysterious, colorful figures. Ellen Elliott Jack was born in England in 1842 and later lived along the Canyon’s old toll road, serving tourists. She would be depicted in her element: candle on her hat, pickaxe in one hand, pistol in the other.
Mount Cutler Trail: Philanthropist Henry Cutler cared for some of Colorado College’s earliest buildings. His contributions were enough to have him honored from a mountain in sight; One of the most popular hiking trails in North Cheyenne Cañon Park goes up.
Dixon Trail: Rising Cheyenne Mountain, the name commemorates homesteader Thomas Dixon who claimed land here in 1917. During construction of the trail — which opened in 2018 — builders said they passed a dried-up pond where Dixon is said to have raised frogs. Supposedly he heard there was a demand for frogs’ legs down on Broadmoor.
Heizer Trail: The history of this trail, which climbs steeply from Cascade into the Pike National Forest, is probably almost as old as that of the Barr Trail, but it’s not nearly as well known. It is named for David N. Heizer, the mayor of Colorado Springs who helped develop the Ute Pass community in the late 1880s.
Intemann way: After the death of Paul Intemann in 1986, a group of volunteers came together to make the Manitou Springs town planner’s dream come true. The Intemann Trail was born – a magnificent nearly 6 mile hike through the mountains around Manitou.
Perkins Trail: The main street in the heart of the Garden of the Gods is named after the person who made it a public facility. After his death in 1909, the land was donated to the city by Charles Elliott Perkins on the condition that it would be a free park for all.
Mount Rosa Trail: Rose Georgina Kingsley is credited with being the first woman to record a climb to the broad, majestic peak with sweeping views from the city. It is believed that the author spent about a year in the Springs from 1871 and contributed to founder General William Jackson Palmer’s Out West newspaper.
Santa Fe Trail: When you’re on this regional hiking trail between Colorado Springs and Palmer Lake, you’re on the old bed of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, which branched out of Kansas beginning in 1859.
Section 16: So we know a circular route in the southwestern mountains of the Springs and another through the pines of the Black Forest. After Colorado’s statehood, the properties were held on square mile trust lands intended to benefit schools financially. This was a concept of Thomas Jefferson’s “Jeffersonian Grid” drawn amidst the westward expansion.
Templeton Trail: The main walkway around Palmer Park shares the name with Templeton Gap and marks an area believed to have been once roamed by AJ Templeton. The next time you drive through this northeastern part of town, picture a lean, ragged veteran of the Mexican-American War herding cattle between the cliffs.