Seven Bridges Trail
On a hot day this is a nice trail in North Cheyenne Canyon once you reach the forest and river. I have yet to reach the lovely aspen meadow of Jones Park because twice I was turned back by animated reports from fellow hikers of their black bear encounters farther up the trail. One large bear helped himself to a picnic lunch and another just took a look at the hiker from across the river, then decided to lay down on the grassy slope.
Directions: From I-25 take the Nevada Ave. exit, go south on Nevada under a mile and turn right (SW) on Cheyenne Blvd. Go about 3 miles and turn right at the Starsmore Discovery Center onto N. Cheyenne Canyon Rd. which winds through a box canyon for a couple miles and passes Helen Hunt Falls. Continue past the falls until the pavement ends and park in the large dirt parking lot on your left. The trail starts at the metal gate at the west end of the lot. You can use the portable toilets at Helen Hunt Falls.
Difficulty: The first mile is easy along old Gold Camp Rd. The path starts to climb gradually along the river, then becomes moderate after the 7th bridge as the trail narrows going up a scree slope. Roundtrip is 5.5 miles to Jones Park with a 1,600' elevation gain (7,500' - 9,100').
The trail starts out wide and easy with nice views.
Looking across the valley you can see Gold Camp Rd. (left of center) as it winds to the left and leads to St. Mary's Falls.
You can find the start of Seven Bridges (or North Cheyenne Creek Trail) by looking for this large tree with many prominent roots on your right after .7 miles.
This sign at the trailhead lets you know Jones Park is 2 mi., Deer Park is 4.2 miles and Rosemont is 5.8 miles. There are more signs farther down the path.
The path is still easy as you cross over the first two bridges. This shot of the river was taken in June, 2009. I have sometimes seen people camping around here, but I am not certain about the regulations.
The following photos are from when we went in November, 2009. Though there wasn't any snow in Colorado Springs, it stuck around the trail and lots of ice had formed along the river. The bridges were only a little slick, but parts of the path were icy, causing us to attach our Yaktraks to our boots. Greg is at the first bridge below.
At bridge #2 the view opened up for awhile so we could see beautiful cliffs.
We proceeded with great caution when we came to a long icy section where the river had formed a branch beyond its banks and froze.
All the bridges seemed safe and sturdy. I'm sorry I don't have photos of when we went up the scree slope after the seventh bridge. We were surrounded by dense fog and I had my bear mace at the ready, imagining cougars and bears hiding behind trees and jumping out at us. It was an eerie feeling to look to my right and left, up and down the very steep hill that disappeared in the cloud. That day we turned around because it was getting late and we figured we didn't have enough light to make a round trip to Jones Park.