North Cheyenne Canyon is a narrow canyon carved out by the waters of North Cheyenne Creek that is home to some of the oldest sport climbing routes in the Pikes Peak region. Sparkling granite walls with cracks, ledges and alcoves are this area’s trademarks, and the crumbly nature of the rock makes the climbing here challenging. Ice climbers head to Helen Hunt Falls when the weather cooperates. Locals know Graduation Boulder for some of the best nearly year-round bouldering in the region.
What Makes It Great
This park was ravished by flooding in 2013, but has recovered nicely and is being revisited by hikers, climbers and cyclists. It is a lush, forested refuge in the southwest part of the city. It has been a playground for residents and visitors since the 1880s, when people explored its foot paths and wagon road. In 1885, the city of Colorado Springs purchased some of the land and opened Cheyenne Canyon as a park, and in 1907, city founder William Jackson Palmer donated another portion. The U.S. Forest Service planted hundreds of thousands of trees in the early 1900s.
Today, there are miles of trails within this densely wooded park; many connect with the Pike National Forest.
Classic routes in the Amphitheater, Silver Cascade Slab, and the Pinnacle are among perennial favorites. Other popular routes, ranging from 5.5 to 5.10 include The Nose and Flying Buttress.
Who is Going to Love It
The climbs in Cheyenne Canyon have many fans because of their variety, and Graduation Boulder is probably the best-known bouldering spot in the region. This park is close to downtown, but offers a great escape into a densely forested canyon (watch for the classic shape and graceful branches of the white fir trees that are unique to this park).
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From I-25 in Colorado Springs, take exit 140 and follow Cheyenne Boulevard to N. Cheyenne Canyon Road. Enter the park near the Starsmore Discovery Center.
Graduation Boulder is 0.7 miles from the canyon’s entrance. The Pinnacle rises south above Graduation – approach by driving 0.86 miles past the entrance to a pullout on the right side of the road. Cross the road and walk across a stone bridge.
For The Amphitheater, drive 0.85 miles from the entrance; about 150 feet up the canyon from the bridge look for a trail on the left side of the road.
For Fly Cave Wall, drive 2.3 miles up the canyon and watch for a large pullout on the north side of the road. Cross the creek on a fallen tree bridge and walk 30 feet. The park is open year-round.
The Starsmore Discovery Center is open April through May and September through October, Tuesdays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Helen Hunt Falls Visitor Center, further into the park, is open June through August, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.