What makes Cheyenne Mountain State Park on Colorado Springs’ south side so great are the paths for everyone, those inspiring an appreciation for nature in visitors young and old. The Blackmer Trail is a perfect example.
No, you won’t get high, dramatic vistas along the loop (for that, take the Dixon Trail to the mountaintop, if you’re fit for the long, steep journey). The humbling sight of Cheyenne’s granite-festooned face comes and goes (more constant on another signature loop, Sundance). But in less than 4 miles, you’ll get a full dose of the wild variety that makes these 2,700 acres worthy of protection.
Blackmer showcases the transition zone where foothill shrublands meet the montane forest, home to an abundance of wildlife that we’ve never failed to see on each of our returns.
We’ve always started from the Prairie Falcon amphitheater. The sidewalk leads to stairs that descend to the Boulder Run Trail; turn right to reach the two-pronged head of Blackmer.
Going left to start the loop will net you more incline. Staying straight will mean more downhill. Not much singletrack for mountain bikers, but beginner riders will appreciate sections of rocks and roots for modest technical tests.
We started the loop straight, entering thickets of oak and tall grass, where historic ranching machinery remains. Soon the trail enters the pine-scented woods, where trees clear now and then for glimpses of the mountain one way, Fort Carson and the plains the other. The trail zigs and zags and very gently dips and rises. We came to a T and unmarked sign. We hung left to continue the loop. If you started by going left, stay on the loop by taking the trail directly across from the sign.
Trip log: 3.6 miles round trip (loop), 476-foot elevation gain
Getting there: Off Interstate 25, take exit 140 for Tejon Street/Nevada Avenue. Go south on Nevada, which becomes Colorado 115. Park entrance is off the highway. Through the fee kiosk, follow signs to amphitheater parking lot.
FYI: $8 day pass per vehicle. Hikers, bikers, equestrians. No dogs. Icy in winter; bring traction. Stay off trails when muddy to prevent damage.
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