North Cheyenne Canyon Hike

On June 5, 1999, I hiked North Cheyenne Canyon and Mt Baldy. I started at 6:35 am, from the parking lot located at the intersection of Cheyenne Canyon Road, Gold Camp Road and High Drive, near Helen Hunt Falls. From there I hiked up Gold Camp Road to Seven Bridges trail, then to the 668 "Pipeline" trail. Near the Nelson Camp on the 668 trail I crossed North Cheyenne Creek and left the trails for quite a distance. I hadn't mapped out a particular route through this area, but was just navigating by instinct as to which direction would be easiest to get to the top of Mt Baldy. In fact, I didn't even have a map of the area.

My instincts weren't so good. I eventually ended up climbing 800 vertical feet in probably less than 1500 feet horizontal. This portion was quite strenuous, and took me about 2 hours to accomplish. It did place me on the service road that climbs the mountain from Gold Camp Road to the South. Being on the road, the incline became much easier, but being above 11600 feet, it wasn't much help -- I was exhausted. In addition, the road was almost entirely snow covered and washed out in places such that the footing was rather precarious. I was in no condition to try a steeper, more direct route though, so I followed the road. I had no idea what I would find, so it was still interesting.

The road travels north to Stratton Reservoir, then turns south towards the summit. There appears to be some sort of radio tower near the top as well. The photos below show my high point, which wasn't quite as high as I'd wanted, but I had pushed my limits as it was. It was about 12:30pm, and I needed to start back.

From the high point, I took a shortcut back down to the service road, and started following the road down again. Here I met 2 guys also hiking. I was quite surprised at this, as I didn't realize that the road was accessible from Gold Camp Road. They had driven up the road a distance, then continued on foot. They gave me some tips on how to get back down without having to descend along the same ground I had climbed. Basically, they told me to follow the road until I came upon a trail heading off in the right direction. I took this advice at first, but when the road didn't turn as quickly as I would have liked, I decided to leave it and descend faster through the trees.

Fortunately, I picked up the road again, and was able to follow it in what seemed to be the right direction. After following the road some more, and being scared that the trail they had described did not exist or would be too far away, I left the road to try to find a shortcut back to North Cheyenne Creek. The route I took did end up being shorter, but not quite very easy to cover, as I ended up having to slide down a scree slope.

I reached North Cheyenne Creek at Nelson Camp, and returned exactly as I had begun. When I arrived at my car, it was 3:30 pm, 9 hours after I had started. It still is the longest, most strenuous hike I've done.

Here are the photos I took from my high point, to remind me where I ended up. (They are not as clear as they might have been, as I forgot to change the focus setting on my digital camera.)

Warning: These images are very large -- about 100k.

East towards N Cheyenne Canyon
East towards Cheyenne Mt.
North to the reservoir
North to Pikes Peak
South to the Mt Baldy summit
West to the other summit

Part of David T. Pierson's website. Contact me at <>. This page was last modified on 3/5/2000; 10:36:45 PM.