Eagles Peak, Colorado Springs

4-mile out and back hike with an elevation gain of 2,000 ft, moderately/strenuous

Eagles Peak - Air Force Academy

September 19, 2015

I’ve been traveling to the Air Force Academy for the last few years to watch my nephew, Shayne Davern #43 play football for the Air Force Falcons. Every time I’m there I always notice, Eagles Peak. It’s a prominent peak overlooking the Academy.

I wanted to hike it, but most of the time I was there with family or it was raining or snowing. This past weekend, I was in town for the Air Force vs. San Jose State game, which was a night game. I though perfect, I’ll hike it, go back to the hotel, take a nap and have a little lunch then had off to the tailgate.

Well, what I thought was a two hour hike, because it’s only 4-miles roundtrip hike, if you park at the visitor center, turned into a 5 hour, 49 minute hike.

It’s a tough hike. I started at 7,300 feet and at the peak it was 9,368, that’s a 2,000 feet in elevation gain in just 2-miles. It’s a rugged, rocky trail, with no switchbacks. You’re climbing pretty much the whole time, except for one flat spot, right before you head up the rock scramble to the peak.

For a lot of people, it wouldn’t be such a tough hike, but for me it was. I have a left leg, that isn’t at a 100% for which I need trekking poles to pretty much hike any trail, add in a trail that is rocky, and I’m not moving very fast at all. Plus, I’ve lived near the ocean all of my life, altitude is a factor with me too. I flew in the day before the hike, and then hiking up to 9,368, is a challenge.

The hike itself was cool, I got to hike through this forest, along the Goat Camp Creek and I even ran into a gopher snake. I was hoping to see a bear, or a deer, but the snake was all I saw. 

I never thought of turning around, but on the way up, I did talk to a few people heading back down, saying they didn’t make it to the top. Once I did make the peak, I was happy, and thought the hike back down would be a breeze, but it wasn’t. Loose dirt and rocks make it a slow go all the way back down.

Was I happy I did the hike, yes!  My nephew hiked it in his freshman year, I’ve always wanted to do it, so yes I’m happy. Would I ever hike Eagles Peak again, nope.

To get to the trailhead, which is on the grounds of the US Air Force Academy. Take the North Gate Road exit off of I-25 and head through the North Gate. Pass through the North Gate. It is usually open to the public from around 8 to 6. Continue straight on Academy Drive which will head west, then it will turn to the south and you will pass the athletic field complex on the left. They are two parking areas that serve as trailhead parking. The first is the Arnold Hall Parking area, the second is the Visitor’s Center Parking Lot. Both are publicly accessible via the North Gate. Both parking areas will be to the left and are easy to find. Walk up the gravel road to the west (across the street) about a quarter mile. The trailhead will be on the west side of the road.

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