Pikes Peak is the highest portion of the Pikes Peak batholith. It stands at 14,110 feet greeting travelers
approaching from the east on Interstate 70 and dominates
the Colorado Springs skyline. The Pikes Peak Highway and
the cog railway both reach the summit. Pikes Peak is the
easternmost fourteener in the United States.
Standing on the summit inspired Katherine Bates to pen “America the Beautiful”, a poem which was later put to music. Pikes Peak also offers the highest elevation gain in Colorado with a vertical rise of 7,800 feet above downtown Manitou Springs in just over 7 miles. Pikes Peak is the monarch of the southern Front Range and is the second most prominent peak in Colorado behind Mt. Elbert.
The following canyons are all named on the Pikes Peak Atlas (By Robert Ormes & Robert Houdek) -
a must for Pikes Peak Region explorers. An effort was made to indicate which canyons are located
on private property. A visit to any of these canyons should be proceeded by the visitor checking to
verify that public access is currently allowed. Any high quality pictures that are submitted for
these canyons will be considered for inclusion here.
Bear Creek Canyon was formed by Bear Creek whose headwaters are located above Jones Park
on the south slopes of Tuckaway Mountain. Josephine Falls is located in Bear Creek Canyon to the
south of the Tenney Crags. The creek leaves the canyon and enters the Bear Creek Regional Park
and passes the Bear Creek Nature Center.
Black Canyon is located between Williams Canyon and Garden of the Gods. The Rampart Range
travels along Black Canyon as it heads west from Garden of the Gods. Black Canyon is mostly located
in the corporate limits of Colorado Springs and serves more as access to private residences and
Pike National Forest via Rampart Range Road than as a recreational destination.
Buffalo Canyon begins on the northeast slopes of Mt. Rosa and passes just north of Stove Mountain (Cookstove Mountain) where it is home to St. Marys Falls which is a popular day hike
from North Cheyenne Canon Park. St. Marys Falls is visible from parts of southern Colorado Springs
when the water level is high and the lighting is good - usually in the morning hours. It is also visible
from Old Stage Road. The routes up Stove Mountain (Cookstove Mountain) and Mt. Rosa from North Cheyenne Canon Park pass through parts of Buffalo Canyon.
Dark Canyon drains the northwest slopes of Cameron Cone and opens into Ruxton Park. Ruxton
Park and Dark Canyon are mostly seen by the tens of thousands of tourists who ride the Cog Railway
to the summit of Pikes Peak. The tracks enter Ruxton Park after passing through a natural rock
gateway known as Hell Gate.
Engelmann Canyon is seen by tens of thousands of tourists each year who ride the Cog Railway to
the summit of Pikes Peak. Hikers on the Barr Trail generally follow the north rim of Englemann Canyon
on the lower portion of their trek to the summit. The top of Englemann Canyon is roughly Hell Gate
below Ruxton Park and the bottom of Englemann Canyon is in the City of Manitou Springs. Englemann
Canyon is flanked by Eagle Mountain, Cameron Cone and Palsgrove Mountain to the south and Rocky Mountain and Mt. Manitou to the north.
Fischers Canyon is located on the northeast side of Cheyenne Mountain between the Horns and
Robbers Roost which means it is on private property and off limits to hikers. Enjoying this canyon
should be done from a distance with binoculars or a spotting scope as getting to close could get you
into a NORAD or other trespassing situation - not something you want to experience.
Limbaugh Canyon was formed by upper Monument Creek and is located west of Mount Herman
between Mount Herman Road and the Balanced Rock 4-wheel drive road. It is proposed as a 4,200
acre Roadless Area to preserve the Monument Creek riparian area for wildlife habitat and Front Range
water quality. From the summit of Mount Herman the area looks very rugged with interesting rock
formations and suited only for the adventurous.
North Cheyenne Canyon was created by North Cheyenne Creek whose headwaters are on the east
slopes of Almagre Mountain at over 12,000 feet. The lower portion of the canyon is home to North
Cheyenne Canon Park, a jewel of the Colorado Springs City Park system. Tens of thousands bike, hike
and picnic here annually. Others simply driving up to photograph Helen Hunt Falls or Silver Cascade
(Spoon Falls) which are both popular with tourists. One of the more popular trails in the area, the
Seven Bridges Trail, follows North Cheyenne Creek up into Pike National Forest.
Queens Canyon is located primarily in Pike National Forest; however, the mouth of Queens Canyon offers the only easy access and is located on private property owned by The Navigators. The Navigators is home to Glen Eyrie castle which was built in the late 1800's by the founder of Colorado Springs, General William Jackson Palmer. Today the castle is used as a conference center. Queens Canyon is named after General Palmer's wife Mary who he called the "Queen of his life". The Navigators allow public access to Queens Canyon on a limited basis if you agree to sign a waiver of liability. The hike up Queens Canyon is well worth the effort to see the beautiful cliffs, Dorothy Falls and the Punch Bowls - I was quite impressed. For those who have been in Colorado Springs, Queens Canyon is located between Garden of the Gods to the south and the large scar of a reclaimed rock quarry to the north. The scar is visible from much of Colorado Springs and is home to a sizeable herd of Bighorn Sheep.
Sesame Canyon is a small canyon that begins on the north slopes of Mays Peak and heads generally northwest to empty into Bear Creek (and Canyon) in Bear Creek Park near High Drive. Most people drive by the mouth of Sesame Canyon on High Drive without knowing there is a trail that climbs up about two-thirds of the canyon before exiting to the east. It is possible to continue on this trail system and end up at the Captain Jacks trailhead (Jones Park Trail #667) between Mays Peak and Mt. Buckhorn.
Stanley Canyon is located west of the United States Air Force Academy about two miles north of Blodgett Peak. It is located between Stanley Reservoir and the west property line of the Academy. Access to the trailhead can be limited so the Visitor's Center should be contacted at 719-333-2025 prior to attempting to access the trailhead.
Sutherland Canyon was formed by Sutherland Creek, whose headwaters are the north and east slopes of Mt. Arthur, and is located on private property. Most visitors through Sutherland Canyon do so on the private Crystal Park Road.
Twilight Canyon was formed by South Cheyenne Creek and is located about one mile above Seven Falls. It appears to be located mostly on private property that is accessed from Old Stage Road.
Waldo Canyon is one of the more accessible canyons in the Pikes Peak Region because of the Forest Service's Waldo Canyon Trail whose trailhead is easily accessible along US Highway 24 just minutes from Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs. The Forest Service claims that this is the busiest trail in Pike National Forest - if you've been there on a sunny and warm Saturday morning, trust me, you would believe them. That being said, the view of Pikes Peak from the higher portions of the trail loop make it worth dealing with the crowds.
Williams Canyon is located just east of Waldo Canyon. The west rim of the canyon is home to the popular tourist destination "The Cave of the Winds". There are other caves in the canyon but they are off limits to hikers. Most people that have seen Williams Canyon did so from the "The Cave of the Winds" access road and viewing platforms. The mouth of the Canyon is controlled by the Cave operator. They do allow hiking in Williams Canyon but they require that you sign a waiver at the visitor center to cover their liability. The mouth is best accessed from the north end of Canon Avenue in Manitou Springs by parking under the Highway 24 bridge.
Any high quality pictures that are submitted for these waterfalls will be considered for inclusion here.