Eagles Peak isn’t the highest mountain in the Pikes Peak region, but this trail is so steep and unrelenting it may feel like it. At 9,368 feet, Eagles Peak towers over the Air Force Academy, a granite spire that generations of cadets have climbed as a rite of passage. Starting near the Academy Visitor’s Center, the trail follows a utility for a short distance and climbs along Goat Camp Creek. You’ll gain 1,900 feet of elevation gain in 1.8 miles, a grade that can rival the Manitou Incline in steepness. But at least that has railroad ties. The trail surface is loose gravel that can challenge even the most sure-footed hikers on the descent. Pass a waterfall and then turn left for the 500-foot plunge up the peak’s north side to the summit, which offers amazing views of the Academy and the Front Range foothills.
Recommended season(s): Spring – fall.
–R. Scott Rappold