Things To Do

This trail climbs steeply from the hamlet of Chipita Park west of Colorado Springs into the foothills of Pikes Peak, joining the Ring the Peak trail network for longer adventures. It’s also a way to check out the views around the Pikes Peak reservoirs without paying the toll to drive up the Pikes Peak Highway. Park at the trailhead near the intersection of Picabo and Mountain roads on the west side of Chipita Park. The trail climbs steeply, switchbacking up 1,000 feet in less than a mile, to a junction with Trail No. 754 and the Ring the Peak Trail in a serene meadow. Turn right and follow that trail through meadows and pine forests until it reaches a dirt road. You can turn around here or walk left on the dirt road to Crystal Creek Reservoir, with cold blue waters and great fishing and views of the peak. You can also turn right and continue to the two Catamount reservoirs.

Getting up can be the easy part. Getting down can be a different story. I was new to Colorado Springs in the spring of 2005 when I hiked this trail. Going up was fine, a bit snowy, but I had good boots. But once at the top of the switchbacks, I realized I would probably slide down the entire way, so I decided to hike north on Ring the Peak to what is marked on the Pikes Peak Atlas as the power line. It took 1,000 feet of tromping through deep snow under the power lines, cold and wet, before I returned to Chipita Park. Moral of the story: Be wary of north-facing terrain, even in spring.

Pro Tips

  • Because the trail is on a north-facing, shaded slope, it holds snow through winter and makes for a tricky descent without boot spikes or some other form of traction.
  • Several shuttle loops are possible from here. You can leave a car in Green Mountain Falls and hike north to the junction with the Felton Thomas Trail and descend to that town. Or you can leave a car at the Crowe Gulch picnic area along the Pikes Peak Highway and turn south on Trail No. 754 instead of north for an easy stroll.
  • To reach the 9,505-foot summit of Mount Esther itself, look for cairns marking a faint trail to the left before you reach the Colorado Springs watershed. The small rocky summit offers great views of Pikes Peak and the reservoirs. It’s five miles round-trip with 1,500 feet of climbing from Chipita Park.
  • Recommended season(s): Spring – fall.

    –R. Scott Rappold

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