Catamount Ranch has been called a “little pocket of paradise.” Catamount Ranch Open Space was a YMCA camp for decades and it was closed off to the public for years. But locals knew about its deep forests and “wow” views of Pikes Peak. It had been shielded from development for many years, and during that time, it became a favorite haunt for black bears, bobcats, coyotes, snowshoe hares, and porcupines. Mule deer and elk are also spotted on the 1,300 acres. It holds valuable wetlands that are home to beavers and muskrats, and it protects headwaters for both the South Platte and Arkansas Rivers.
What Makes It Great
In 1996, officials in Teller County, which holds the Catamount Ranch in its boundaries, began exploring the idea of purchasing the land for open space. For more than 10 years, they struggled with access problems, compromises and deals that fell through. But Teller County residents really wanted this open space, and after maneuvers, land swaps and even a school fund-raiser that resulted in children raising $4,000 toward the purchase, Catamount Ranch Open Space opened in 2006.
Today, this open space’s tangle of Ponderosa and limber pine, aspen, Douglas fir and Engelmann spruce shade your way on the two main trails. The two marked trails – Elder-Fenn and Vayhinger – wind up and down, with occasional glimpses of Pikes Peak’s summit. The Elder-Fenn route is about five miles, and when the adjoining North Slope Recreation Area is open, from May through September, you can link it with the North Slope's collection of reservoirs and trails, as well as with the Ring the Peak Trail and more than 100 miles of other trails in the Pike National Forest. A favorite day-long trip hooks in with the Limber Pine Trail and offers a long rewarding walk through open meadows and shaded forests on its way alongside North Catamount Creek.
Who is Going to Love It
Catamount Ranch has great short to medium hikes with memorable views, and in the summer months, is a perfect way to access the North Slope Recreation Area and Ring the Peak Trail. In the winter, it’s a favorite place for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, with easy access and ample parking on Edlowe Road.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Colorado Springs, take U.S. Highway 24 west through Woodland Park. Drive through town, and watch for Edlowe Road. Turn left and follow the road to its end. A gravel parking lot is on the left.
The open space is open year-round, but a map at the trailhead shows when the trails can be linked with the North Slope Recreation Area and Ring the Peak Trail.
Horses aren’t allowed here, but dogs can explore with you, up to the North Slope boundary. Take care with open space boundaries – the non-profit Catamount Institute’s (not related to the open space) Mountain Campus is nearby, and there is private land as well.