Pikes Peak Loop is a multi-use trail that circles the Cathedral Pines neighborhood in Black Forest. The southern part of the trail connects to the northern edge of Black Forest Regional Park and can be linked with more trails in the regional park. Pikes Peak Loop is primarily doubletrack, and is owned and maintained by El Paso County Parks.
Our video starts the Pikes Peak Loop at the parking lot at Holmes and Vessey.
- Loop as filmed is 4.8 miles long, which includes the spur to the Holmes/Vessey parking area.
- Without the spur, the loop is 4.4 miles long.
You can access the Pikes Peak Loop in several ways:
- Parking area on the southwest corner of the Holmes Rd. & Vessey Rd.
- The western end of Piedra Vista Ln.
- Through other trails at Black Forest Regional Park at Shoup Rd. & Milam Rd.
Specifics on this trail:
- When biking, we recommend riding the loop counter-clockwise so that you can experience the fast, rolling 1-mile descent appropriately called “Roller Coaster in the Pines” (0:45 in our video). Watch for barbed wire on your right and for other trail users on the blind crests. (Horses are not allowed on this section of the trail.)
- About 2.5 miles into the loop from Holmes/Vessey, you’ll encounter a very short, very steep climb (1:50 in our video). This is the only technical feature you’ll encounter on this trail, but because of the steepness of the grade, it’s quite a challenge. (In 2020, they “improved” the trail to add the steps for hikers and cobblestone-type block ramp for bikers. An improvement over the washed out, sandy trail that was formerly there, but it’s now even steeper, especially at the top.)
- The rest of the trail features gentle climbs and flowy descents. Some sand is always inevitable on Black Forest trails.
- Between mile 3 and 3.5 (just before and just after you cross Milam Rd.), there are several trails you can take down into Black Forest Regional Park, including some fun newer single track.
- At mile 4.2, there are several small ponds should you want to take a short detour. These ponds are owned by El Paso County Parks.
- You can also do a shorter loop by turning left at about mile 2.5 (just before the very steep hill). This is another public trail that cuts through the middle of Cathedral Pines and takes you to the pond area.
We’ll see you on the trail!
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