Friends of the Peak began working with governmental agencies surrounding Pikes Peak to designate existing trail segments as the Ring the Peak Trail in the early 2000’s. Since then, about 50 miles of trail have been officially designated and signed as part of the Ring the Peak Trail.
Because of jurisdictional and private property issues, two significant gaps in the Ring remain – on the northeast side and on the southwest side.
El Paso County Parks Department is addressing the northeast gap with a trail plan adopted in 2016. Construction of Ute Pass Trail has begun and is expected to be completed in 2022. (See the El Paso County website for more information.)
Organizations have struggled for years to develop a plan to close the southwest gap. After a number of years and and numerous meetings with local representatives in the Cripple Creek-Victor area, it was decided that a public planning process would be needed to come to a consensus about how to complete the Ring on the southwest side of Pikes Peak.
In 2016, the Trails and Open Space Coalition (TOSC) partnered with the City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department to apply for a Great Outdoor Colorado (GOCO) Planning Grant to address closing the southwest gap.
In December 2016, TOSC was awarded a $100,000 planning grant to build a community consensus around closing the southwest gap.
Addressing the Southwest Gap
In June 2017, TOSC hired land planning firm N.E.S., Inc. of Colorado Springs (NES) to assist staff in developing a Master Plan to focus on closing the Ring The Peak Trail southwest gap.
The approach that NES proposed addresses what they considered to be three focus areas:
- Closing the Community Engagement Gap by building excitement in the community for the Ring, defining user expectations for success, and engaging the community in a shared vision for the Ring;
- Closing the physical Southwest Gap by exploring and evaluating trail corridor alternatives and defining a preferred trail alignment to complete the southwest portion of the Ring;
- And finally, closing the Management Gap by engaging stakeholders in planning a sustainable future for the Ring.
After two years of public meetings, workshops, consultations with land managers, and the analysis of a variety of alternative trail routes, NES developed a Ring the Peak Master Plan which was adopted by the TOSC Board of Directors in July 2019.
The Ring the Peak Master Plan - August 2019
The full Master Plan is available as a viewable or downloadable .pdf. Since the document is large, it is available in its entirety and in sections. File sizes are shown on the left side.
Click the image on the right to view or download the Section.