We love all the great hikes for families in North Cheyenne Cañon Park. North Cheyenne Cañon park is a beautiful little piece of Colorado Springs, CO. As you enter the park, you’ll drive up a windy road up the mountain, making you feel as if you’ve completely left the city and gone to a national park (albeit, a small one.)
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However, you’re really only just a few minutes away from regular life back in Colorado Springs.
This makes North Cheyenne Cañon park a great place to take the family for a great day of hiking.
Check out the BEST hikes for kids in North Cheyenne Cañon park, and everything you need to know about visiting.
Tip: Sometimes referred to as North Cheyenne Canyon Park or Cheyenne Canyon.
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The History of North Cheyenne Cañon Park
This park has been a great spot to visit since the early settlers of Colorado arrived. It was used as a weekend getaway and a place to find comfort among the shade and creeks and waterfalls.
Originally called Colorado College Park in the late 1800s, the park was a place of respite. When the park started seeing damages and high usage (and lack of available employees), it began closing on Sundays.
The community came together, among them the leader Helen Hunt Jackson, to try and slowly purchase land the park was on. Sunday was their day off when they could enjoy the park, so they needed control over it to open it back up!
By 1885, Helen Hunt Jackson led the community to gain 640 acres of the park.
In the early 1900s, William Palmer (the founder of Colorado Springs) donated another 400+ acres to the park.
Over time, the park has gone through a few name changes, added roads, watched the original Bruin Inn burn down, and rebuilt caretaker homes at the entrance that were also lost in a fire.
This park is full of history, and you can read more about it here.
North Cheyenne Cañon Park- the quick facts
The park is run by the city of Colorado Springs. As such, the park is FREE to visit (yay!)
North Cheyenne Cañon park is 1,600 acres in size.
The cañon is mostly made of Pikes Peak Granite, which takes on a pink color. Over millions of years, this granite has eroded away from all the water in the cañon flowing, freezing, and thawing. (Find a more in depth geology of the park here.)
North Cheyenne Cañon Park is home to various wildlife, such as the mountain lion, black bear, various birds, squirrels, and deer. <— Because of this, it’s important to clean up after yourself and leave no trace!
There are two visitor’s centers at North Cheyenne Cañon park: The Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center and the Helen Hunt Falls Visitor Center. If you’d like to learn about the park, get a map, ask questions, or make a donation, you can do so at the visitor centers. Open in summer months only.
And lastly, there are plenty of hikes for families in North Cheyenne Cañon Park.
How to Get to North Cheyenne Cañon Park
Take I-25 to Tejon St and head south. That will turn into Cheyenne Blvd. Toward the end of the road, it will split. You’ll want to stay right to go on N Cheyenne Cañon Rd.
This road will wind for a few miles up the mountain through the park. Eventually it turns into the famous scenic Gold Camp Road.
Best Trails for Families in North Cheyenne Cañon Park
Okay, you know all about the park and what to expect. Now, here is a list of the best hikes for families in North Cheyenne Cañon park.
1. Seven Bridges Trail
Distance: just over 3 miles, out-and-back
Distances on different apps disagree. My GPS read just over 3 miles.
Seven Bridges trail is appropriately named, as there are 7 wooden bridges you will cross as you hike up 1,000 feet of elevation.
The trail is well-marked and even runs along North Cheyenne Creek for a lot of the time. This makes it really fun for kids to try and spot a little pull-out to dip their fingers in the water, or to try and find the next bridge.
The views are great, the scenery is great, and the trail is moderate and mostly in the shade. It makes a great trail for kids in North Cheyenne Cañon park!
>>> Read my in-depth post about what to expect on the Seven Bridges Trail <<<
2. Mount Cutler
Distance: 2.2 miles
Mount Cutler is a great trail for families in North Cheyenne Cañon park. You can reach the trailhead via a small parking are right off N Cheyenne Canyon Road. It’s not as far as the Helen Hunt Falls visitor center.
Mount Cutler trail is just over a mile to the overlook. It’s a steady, gentle climb up (676 feet elevation gain over the mile) to spectacular views.
Bonus: you’ll even get a great view of Seven Falls. Seven Falls is owned by the Broadmoor, and as such, you’ll have to pay to visit it. So why not view it for free from this trail?
Tip: As Mt Cutler trailhead is more of a parking pull-off (not a giant lot like some of the other trails), make sure to get there earlier than later. Arriving at 10am might not be ideal for getting one of the parking spots!
Helen Hunt Falls
3. Helen Hunt Falls
To see Helen Hunt Falls, you’ll go right to the Helen Hunt Falls visitor center. You can see the falls right from the road.
There is a parking lot with spaces on both sides of N Cheyenne Canyon Rd. After you park, simply walk up to the falls.
You can also go to the side and take the stairs up to get a view from the bridge on top of the falls. Make sure to look behind you at the water crashing down about to hit the falls.
It’s a great place to get a picture and visit the Visitor Center. The people working in the center are so kind and helpful. Ask all your questions here and they’ll be happy to answer!
I thought Helen Hunt was a random person to name this waterfall after. But, it’s actually not named after the famous actress Helen Hunt from Mad About You.
Helen Hunt Falls is named after Helen Hunt Jackson, one of the activists in the community in the early settlements of Colorado Springs. She played a big part in getting North Cheyenne Cañon Park open and acquired into what it is today. So the waterfall is named after that Helen Hunt.
This photo was taken in September; you can barely see the trickle of water that remains
4. Silver Cascade Falls (top)
Distance: .6 miles round-trip
Difficulty: moderate to hard
Even though this hike was a little tougher, it is so short that I am listing it as one of the great hikes to do with kids in North Cheyenne Cañon park.
The hard part about this hike is that it goes up, up, up the whole time. Whether you are walking on stairs or on a great incline, it is UP.
It also has plenty of loose sediment on this inclined trail, making it a little slippery (and there are plenty of signs to warn you of such!)
BUT, it is so short that kids can definitely do this hike. We saw plenty of kids, so I know it’s not just me making my kids do it 😉
We visited Silver Cascade Falls in September, so it wasn’t overflowing with water. But it was still a really cool formation to look on.
At the top, you’ll be able to look and the smooth, sloped mountain-side where water runs down. Plus, you’ll get great views.
To Access Silver Cascade Falls: park at the same place as you would for Helen Hunt Falls. Hike up to the bridge over Helen Hunt, and then keep going!
At one point the trail will split into left and right; stay right.
The kids will love getting to smell the Ponderosa trees and decided which sweet they smell like (and there is a sign to prompt them to do so!)
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See more Hiking Essentials for Families
5. Buffalo Canyon Trail
Distance: .5 miles round-trip
This short family hike in North Cheyenne Cañon will take you to the bottom of Silver Cascade Falls.
Walk through shade along the Buffalo Creek to find the base of Silver Cascade Falls. The trail ends once you get here, and it is advised not to go any farther as there is loose rock, scrambling, and difficulty beyond that.
To access Buffalo Canyon Trail, you can park in the same parking lot as for Helen Hunt Falls. Instead of walking toward the visitor center, walk to the back of the parking lot (bottom) and look for the wooden stick indicating the trail.
6. Lower Columbine Trail
Distance: 2.2 miles
The LOWER Columbine Trail is a great hike for families in North Cheyenne Cañon park.
You’ll walk along a creek most of the time in the refreshing shade of the trees. Enjoy the little waterfalls along the way, as well as the wildflowers along the trail.
The trail is a gentle incline and has a few picnic tables along the way to take a rest, if needed.
It’s not quite as remote or removed from the main road as the other trails, but still a nice, easy, and beautiful hike to take kids on.
The trail is out-and-back, so you’ll have to gauge when it’s time to turn around at about 1.1 miles, where you hit the Mid Columbine trail.
Access the trail from the Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center.
Is North Cheyenne Cañon Park Free?
Yes! The park is owned by the city of Colorado Springs and is open and free to the public to visit.
Is North Cheyenne Canyon Park worth going to?
Yes, it is so worth it. The park is free to visit and is full of spectacular views and beautiful trails for the whole family. There’s even a waterfall that’s huge and easy to access for those that don’t want to hike.
North Cheyenne Cañon Park With Kids!
As you can see, there are plenty of trail options to keep you busy for a day or two. While there are more trails in the area, these are the best trails for kids in North Cheyenne Cañon park. They are shorter, fun, easier, and full of scenery so the whole family will still enjoy them!
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