Working at the Colorado Running Company gives me a chance to talk to a lot of runners. Sometimes they even ask me questions, but only sometimes. One of the more frequent questions I get is how “fill in the black” trail is looking. With my background in trail and mountain running I can normally give them some sort of answer based on my own experience in the past week.
A few weeks and a lot of questions later I stuffed a camera into my shorts and went out for a run in the mountains. This week’s long run took me on a few of my favorite trails in the Bear Creek Canyon area.
Here’s my trusty (?) Garmin Forerunner 210’s data from the run (it timed out for the a bit of the palmer trail):
The climb through red rocks is looking pretty dry these days. Not even the sticky mud out there to slow me down.
That’s where I’m headed for the first big climb!
The newly opened trail through “the white area” is bone dry.
The lower bits of section 16 look like they could have been summer time.
After a thousand feet of climbing I started to hit a little bit of snow on the Palmer Red Rock loop.
The view from the top of the loop. Across the canyon is high drive, my eventual descent. It’s beautiful but daunting. The rest of the loop stayed pretty dry and I was able pick up the pace. It seems like the Red Rock loop is always a safe bet in the winter time. I like to go up the steep way and down the more gradual section in the off chance that there is ice on the trail. I’m always thinking about my safety when it comes to trail running…
My next big climb is one of my favorites, the 666 trail. Although there is a lot of ice on the lower sections of the trail right now the higher areas are clear enough to run almost uninterrupted.
Here’s one of the interruptions. A steady foot is needed to avoid a tumble into the valley below.
Another place worth stopping: the high point of my run on the Cap’n Jacks trail. Both Cap’n Jacks and the Mt. Buckhorn Trail are currently in really good shape. The Mt Buckhorn descent to goldcamp road was dry and fast.
The upper parking lot of Cheyenne Canyon, as seen from the Mt. Buckhorn Trail. Almost looks like summer, if you ignore the snow in the shadows.
The final climb up and over high drive was surprisingly good. There were a few snowy and muddy patches but nothing my Inov8 X-Talons (available at the CRC) couldn’t handle. I chose this loop because of it’s accessibility in winter time. I feel like Colorado Springs is one of the few places where runners can be on dry trails in big mountains year round. I had to alter my route a little bit because of the snow, but as the 4000 feet of climbing can attest, it didn’t stop me from hitting some great trail running. Next time you’re in the Cheyenne Canyon/Bear Creek Canyon area make sure to hit up some of these iconic Colorado Springs trails. I’ll let you know what kind of condition they’re in next week.