MedWheel provides ongoing support to the Chutes and other trails in the North Cheyenne Canon and Stratton OS properties. Check out the full list of projects on our Trail Love page.
Save your space to volunteer for Trail Love on Chutes – Sept 23, 2023.
Chutes / Ladders / Gold Path Re-design in 2019
The North Cheyenne Canyon Master Plan adopted by Colorado Springs Parks Department includes re-configuring, re-routing the Chutes, Ladders and Gold Path. Since these changes have been implemented, the Chutes is designated as a downhill MTB-only trail. Ladders is 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. MedWheel provided an additional $5,000 to the Parks department to add a challenging rock garden near the top, that provides an option to cut off the first turn.
• 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 downhill pitch and relatively smooth tread of the original Chutes trail led to high descending speeds by mountain bikers. Large numbers of riders, hikers and runners, along with very limited sight lines on this trail, made it difficult to avoid conflicts over the years. Designating the Chutes as a downhill, bicycle only trail and providing a new climbing trail was a concept approved in the North Cheyenne Canyon Master Plan, adopted by Colorado Springs Parks Department and city council.
• Why is this a good spot for separated uses, specifically a bike-only/downhill trail?
The primary reason is the user conflicts noted above. MedWheel typically supports multi-use trails, but in this case, designated uses improves the experience for everyone. The result has been improved safety and enjoyment for all users.
• 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 provides uphill access for all users, as well as an easier downhill biking trail for those looking for a less technical descent. Chamberlain/Ladders is 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 MTB users expect ?
The entry section will drop from Gold Camp Road and is rocky and includes drops. It is narrower and technical, providing challenge for experienced riders. There are option and rollover lines around the biggest features, so riders will have the opportunity to increase their skills over time. The connection of Ladders to the Chutes allows sessioning of the Upper Chutes. Ladders trail has been improved to increase sustainability and sight lines ans can be a fun option in the downhill direction for less confident riders.