Chutes / Ladders / Gold Path Re-design
The North Cheyenne Canyon Master Plan adopted by Colorado Springs Parks Department includes re-configuring, re-routing the Chutes, Ladders and Gold Path. After completion, the Chutes will be downhill, bicycle only, Ladders will be a bi-directional, multi-use, and Gold Path will remain a bi-directional, hiking only trail.
Prior to re-design:
• Chutes – multi-use, bi-directional. User conflict was common due to the downhill-MTB nature of the trail.
• Ladders – multi-use, bi-directional. Connected Chamberlain to The Chutes. Erosion issues since much of the trail went straight down the fall line.
• Gold Path – hiking only, bi-directional. Connected Chamberlain Trail to the south side of the Chutes close to the upper Chutes Trail Head on Gold Camp Road. Hikers were forced to use part of the Chutes to access the trail-head.
• Chutes – the upper Chutes was rerouted, configured as a one-way downhill, bicycle only. Connecting Gold Camp Rd to the Reservoir Access Rd. Downhill technical features such as rock gardens, armored turns, berms and jumps were added.
• Ladders – the old connection to the upper Chutes was designated as a connector between the Chutes / Ladders trails, which allows sessioning of the Upper Chutes. Ladders now uses the current Upper Chutes to connect to Gold Camp Rd. Ladders and the Chamberlain Trail will provide a multi-use, bidirectional trail connecting Gold Camp Rd to Stratton Open Space.
• Gold Path – The very top has been rerouted away from the Chutes to the south side of the trail head on Gold Camp Rd. It remains hiking only, connecting Gold Camp Rd. to the Chamberlain Trail / Stratton Open Space.
• What’s the significance of making the Chutes one-directional?
The moderate downhill pitch and relatively smooth tread of the Chutes has led to higher descending speeds by trail users on mountain bikes. The increasing number of riders, hikers and runners, along with very limited sight lines on this trail, have made it difficult to avoid conflicts over the years with uphill users, or downhill users moving at different speeds. Dedicating the Chutes to be a downhill, bicycle only trail and
providing a new uphill trail was included in the North Cheyenne Canyon Master Plan adopted by Colorado Springs Parks Department.
• Why is this a good spot for the Springs first bike-only/downhill trail?
The primary reason is the user conflicts noted above. MWTA doesn’t usually advocate for single use trails, but in this case, it makes sense for all users. With more users on the trail, everyone’s safety has been an increasing concern.
• How are other trail users being accommodated through the reroutes?
Uphill cyclists and hikers will be able to use the new re-routed Chamberlain / Ladders trails to get up to Gold Camp Road. Three trails travel between the trailhead at Gold Camp Road and the Stratton Open Space. Gold Path is a hiker only trail that mostly parallels the Chutes; this trail will be rerouted slightly to separate the trailheads at Gold Camp Road, but remain hiker only. The Ladders and Chamberlain trails will provide uphill access for all users, as well as an easier downhill biking trail for those looking for a less
technical descent. It will include what has historically been the uppermost section of the Chutes. Chamberlain/Ladders will be a multi-user, bi-directional trail, so hikers and runners will still be able to loop at the top using Gold Path.
• What can bikers expect from the new rerouted experience?
The new upper section will drop from Gold Camp Road and will be rocky and include a few drops. It will be narrower and more technical than the rest of the Chutes and will provide challenges to more experienced riders. There will be easier lines around a few of the rougher areas, so riders will have the opportunity to increase their skills over time. This upper section will tie into the old Chutes about 1/3 of the way down, and the rest of it will remain the same, although some minor rerouting and drainage features will be added. The current connection of Ladders to the Chutes will remain to allow sessioning of the Upper Chutes. The upper portion of Ladders may see some minor rerouting to increase sustainability and sight lines