Everyone needs a quick escape. And in Colorado Springs, many find it on a path that enters silent woods – silent except for the rushing North Cheyenne Creek. They find solitude as they focus on the steady climb, counting seven lumber bridges on their way to a clearing. North Cheyenne Cañon Park offers more challenging trips (Trail 624 to St. Mary’s Falls) and arguably more scenic destinations (Mount Muscoco). But especially on a hot day, two or three hours are wisely spent on the Seven Bridges Trail.
Reach the cool water by starting on Gold Camp Road, the wide, gated path at the west side of North Cheyenne Cañon’s top parking lot. Seven Bridges Trail, marked as Trail 622, starts at the 0.8-mile mark on the road. Take the first set of steps you see to the left. Tall evergreens are joined by the aspens that make this visit great for colors in the fall.
The well-maintained bridges are courtesy of Friends of the Peak, a nonprofit volunteer group. Stop along these flat surfaces to see the whitewater tumbling over rocks and fallen timber. The trend of the trail rising after each crossing continues throughout, with in-ground rock eventually overtaking the dirt tread. Eye-catching boulders await near the fifth bridge.
After the bridges, ascend high out of the shade to a hillside where the city and plains can be seen between the canyon walls. For the best views, continue west, through a rock pile where the trail disappears before reappearing. Expand your adventure in Jones Park, the hub of trails reached more than 2 miles from where you began.
Trip log: 4.5 miles round trip (out and back), 1,179-foot total elevation gain, 8,708 feet max
Getting there: Off Interstate 25, exit for Tejon Street going south. Take a slight right onto Cheyenne Boulevard and keep right on Cheyenne Canyon Road to the park entrance. Drive up the road about 3 miles, taking the switchback above Helen Hunt Falls to the gravel parking lot.
FYI: Hiking and mountain biking. Dogs on leash. Trail could be icy in winter; use traction.