Since moving to Colorado Springs in early January, I'd been curious as to what the view of the city would be from Mt. Rosa. My wife Julie and I finally decided to try the summit from the Frosty Park trailhead on Forest Service Road 379 in early October before the snow started to fly. We headed out from our home in the northeast part of the city fairly late for a peak hike (9:00am) to give the sun time to warm the mountain air.
The trailhead is reached by taking Old Stage Road from behind the Broadmoor Hotel up into the mountains. Look for a sign for Forest Service Road 379 and Frosty Park just past the Penrose Rosemont Resevoir. A topo map makes it much easier to not only successfully complete this hike but also to find the trailhead. DO NOT take this road without a high clearance vehicle. It is not that difficult but there are a lot of rocks and high points in the road that would damage low clearance vehicles. If you have a low clearance vehicle it would still be shorter to park at the F.S. 379 turnoff from Old Stage Road and hike up F.S. 379 than to attempt a summit from North Cheyenne Canyon Park in Colorado Springs. The trailhead is marked by a good sign with space for several vehicles.
The trail up to the shoulder of Mt. Rosa is rather degraded and it was pretty obvious why, we were passed by a couple of guys on motorcross bikes, what a racket. Once to the shoulder, views of the plains start to come into view. Look for a trail junction. Take the trail to the right to summit Mt. Rosa, this is pretty obvious when you are at the junction. The trail heading straight heads back down to North Cheyenne Canyon Park and passes near St. Mary Falls. This would be the trail you would come up if you started in North Cheyenne Canyon Park in Colorado Springs. I recommend walking a few hundred feet past the junction down this trail as someone has built a wagon wheel type rock formation off to the right of the trail. If anyone knows who or why this was built, let me know.
Back to the summit: The trail from the junction is in much better shape than the trail to the shoulder. Once on top the view of the City, Almagre Mountain, Cheyenne Mountain and of course Pikes Peak are amazing. Defintely take a topo map so you can idenify all of the surrounding peaks and valleys. If you look towards Almagre Mountain, you may be able to make out cars parked at the gate closure on F.S. 379A near timberline. The biggest surprise for us was that the summit of Mt. Rosa is free of trees with only some small bushes so there is relatively good views in all directions. You really feel like you are on top! This is a highly recommended summit even if you have to hike up from North Cheyenne Canyon Park or up F.S. 379 from Old Stage Road.
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