Things To Do

The second-highest mountain in the Pikes Peak region, 12,527-foot Sentinel Point, rises like, well, a sentinel on the west side of Pikes Peak. More a collection of boulders than a mountain, it towers over Horsethief Park. Reach it from that trailhead, located at a gated tunnel along Colorado Highway 67 between Victor and Divide. The trail follows a well-traveled path to Horsethief Falls for a mile. Turn left and enter a pretty meadow. Sentinel Point can be seen off to the right. Stroll through the meadow, being sure to stay right at the junction. The trail is easy to follow at first but degrades into a series of cairns as the terrain gets steeper. If you feel like you’ve lost the trail, work your way left to the creek and hike parallel with it. Stay to the right of the creek – but left of the large boulder field – and climb above timberline to the top of the basin. The final push is steep. Here you’ll see the rock heap of Sentinel Point off to the east. Stroll through the tundra to its base and carefully scramble to the top. Enjoy great views of Cripple Creek region and the Sangre de Cristo and Sawatch Mountains in the distance. Return the way you came.

I used to hike Sentinel Point every April when I lived in Colorado Springs. It’s a great get-in-shape hike and a chance to get some real elevation above timberline, after a winter of cabin fever. It can vary from season to season, and on more than one occasion, I was forced to turn around because of deep snow to come back a few weeks later.

Pro Tips

  • These slopes melt out earlier than other areas on Pikes Peak, making this an ideal early-season, get-in-shape hike. The route would be difficult to follow in the dead of winter.
  • The trail is only about three miles, but don’t let the distance fool you. The climb above the trees to the head of the basin is incredibly steep and involves route-finding.
  • It’s possible to make a loop by following Oil Creek south, but this is an unofficial, lightly-used trail, so a compass and map would be necessary if you haven’t taken that route before.
  • Recommended season(s): Spring to late fall.

    –R. Scott Rappold

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