Rising east of the scenic Penrose-Rosemont Reservoir, Knights Peak is a gentle, wooded cone of a mountain. Along with neighboring mountains McKinley Peak, San Luis Peak and Mount Vigil, Knights Peak forms part of a distinctive wall of 10,000+ foot mountains easily visible from much of the Colorado Springs metropolitan area. Easily accessible from Colorado Springs via Gold Camp Road, the peak is frequently combined with neighboring 10ers, but it makes a decent (if short) summit trip in its own right.
Mostly wooded, the summit consists of rough pink granite boulders and provides fine views of surrounding mountain terrain, and especially fine vistas to the west across the reservoir. The summit register is somewhat unique, a PVC contraption bolted to the rock and complete with a wrench for unscrewing the lid. Though no trail exists to the summit of Knights Peak, it is an easy, if sometimes steep, YDS Class 2 bushwhack through reasonable timber.
Colorado Rank: 2040th highest peak in Colorado
Prominence: 590 feet
USGS Quad: Mount Big Chief
Planning Map: Trail Illustrated #137 Pikes Peak / Cañon City
Rank & Prominence Source: Lists of John
To Penrose-Rosemont Reservoir from the intersection of Penrose Boulevard and Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard in southwestern Colorado Springs: Take Old Stage Road (FSR 368) 6.5 miles from there to Gold Camp Road (FSR 370). Travel 5 miles on Gold Camp Road to the trailhead.
A note on travel on Old Stage Road & Gold Camp Road
These roads comprise a wash-boarded dirt thoroughfare running between western Colorado Springs and the mining & gambling town of Cripple Creek. All sorts of vehicles will be seen on this road, including low-clearance sedans and street motorcycles, though neither of these is recommended. In dry conditions, high clearance will suffice. In snow or mud, 4x4 is required. This area is served by Randy’s High Country Towing, regionally famous for extracting the vehicles of folks who got in over their heads on Pikes Peak area back-roads.
Be forewarned that Old Stage Road & Gold Camp Roads are bedeviled by irresponsible, speeding, out of control drivers. Combine this behavior with narrow, wash-boarded dirt roads and deep potholes - and your worst objective hazard of the day becomes other drivers and their vehicles. Drive defensively on this road!
Map provided by the non-profit Public Lands Information Center, Your One Stop Source for Recreation Information.
There is very little red tape in this part of the Pike National Forest. In fact, some sectors of this area can feel downright lawless Wild West at times.
• Do not litter and dispose properly of human waste.
• Shoot only in designated target ranges and point your firearm away from other recreationalists.
• Expect and respect other recreationalists.
• Many others do NOT practice Leave No Trace principals when visiting this area. Please do your best to set a good LNT example.
Camping & Lodging
Rustic car camping and backcountry camping can be throughout the surrounding Pike National Forest. Be forewarned that the proximity of this area to the urban I-25 corridor means that crowding can be an issue, especially in the summer, and that unsavory characters are known to frequent this area. Be prepared for heavy ATV use, large crowds, drunkenness and casual firearms usage.
While the Old Stage/Gold Camp area provides for all of the rustic camping you could hope for, I honestly suggest not spending the night in the area for the sake of peace and quiet, and even for your safety. Old Stage Road/Gold Camp Road serves as a conduit for the urban masses to explore Pike National Forest. While this sounds like a good idea, the reality is messy (garbage, spent shells, beer bottles, auto parts and busted clay pigeons) and sometimes grim. I am ashamed to even print this, but this area (Old Stage / Gold Camp Road) has the reputation as the “body dump” of Colorado Springs.
Do yourself a favor and stay in town, visiting Knights Peak as a day excursion.
Hotels, Cabins & B&Bs
Old Colorado City
Nearby Old Colorado City has an assortment of lodging options, old and new, for all budgets. Restaurants, bakeries and shops are within strolling distance from many lodging facilities.
Manitou Springs lies at the foot of Ute Pass. This colorful, eclectic town offers a wide range of lodging options including old-style motor cottages and cabins, retro family-run motels, charming B&Bs and modern chain hotels. Shopping and dining are within walking distance of most Manitou lodging. Visit the a href=http://www.manitousprings.org/Default.aspx >Manitou Springs Visitors Website for more information on lodging in the area.