Mt Cutler (7,200), Mt Cutler Overlook (7,050), Mt Muscoco (8,020)

To be honest, none of these summits is really a big
deal.  I mean, I live at about 7000 feet
(traveled down in elevation to get to this trailhead) but I’m sure they sound pretty neat to my out
of Colorado friends.  So why am I posting
the elevations?  Basically I’ve done this
because it’s noted on the map and I just want to keep good records.  I’m not trying to impress anyone.  Although Mt Muscoco was a pretty good
training hike.  It started to kick my
butt by the end…

Once again this morning, after hitting the gym I drove down
to Cheyenne Park. I made it to the trailhead at 7:20am and took a quick picture
of the trail.   This hike didn’t look all that difficult,
but most people I know who hike and live in Colorado Springs have done Mt
Cutler several times.  It’s kind of a “thing”.  However, no one I’ve talked to has ever done
Mt Muscoco.  

There was one other car in the parking lot, an old Subaru
hatchback.  Cool.  The vehicle told me it was probably someone
who liked to hike and probably wanted to be left alone.  I can work with that.

This entire hike is uphill.
Mt Cutler has an elevation gain of 415 feet in a mile, which wasn’t much
of a challenge.  After turning the first
ridge I heard a waterfall.  I assumed it
was Helen Hunt Falls, which is a bit further up the same road I’d drove in on.  But as I looked closer I noticed it was much
bigger and had different structures at its base.  I
quickly realized it was Seven Falls, not Helen Hunt Falls.  So cool!
I was getting a free look at the falls!

Around the next bend I saw the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun
above the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.  Here is
where the path got tricky.  The trail
branched off into several smaller trails, but they all seemed to head in the
same direction.  I noticed this problem
on my hike yesterday too, and can only figure it’s due to people hiking in the
winter snow and kind of making their own trail.  This happened several other times today, but luckily all trails ended up catching up with the original trail. 

Mt Cutler wasn’t very impressive.  It only took me about 15 minutes to hike
there, so I decided to take a quick hike to the Mt Cutler Overlook.  That ended up being totally worth it!  The views from here were 360 degrees of all the
Pikes Peak Region.

I spent quite a bit of time just enjoying the view.  As I was getting ready to leave I heard the
chimes from the Will Rogers Shrine.  So
cool and unexpected!  

Now it was time to tackle Mt Muscoco.  I actually went down quite a bit in elevation
as I was hiking to the turnoff, so I took my traditional “hiker selfie” that really only works with morning light.

The rest
of the hike was uphill, and while it wasn’t as steep as the incline, I’d
compare it to the first 2 miles of the Barr Trail.  It also had some pretty cool stairs, but they
were all paced at about 1 and a half steps, making them useless (so it looks
like everyone just hiked on the trail beside them).

Here’s a picture of the summit.  

The last ¼ mile was just like a 14er:  Really close but a bugger to get there!  This part of the hike was indeed a bit
challenging, but mainly because it just went straight up.  It was at this point I saw three girls in
their 20s hiking above me.  I quickly
passed them, and learned they were the owners of the Subaru below.  This part of the hike had a bunch of trail
markers, which were needed and appreciated.

The view from Mt Muscoco was the best one of the day
(probably because it was highest in elevation). 

 As I stood there I saw airplanes flying into the Air Force Academy for
the graduation.  Two days in a row!  Awesome!

The trail didn’t end at the summit, but kept going for about
another third of a mile.  I hiked it to
the end, turned around, and hiked back down.
Down was a bit challenging as it had been steep hiking up.  It was definitely not a running trail.

About halfway down I met a man who’d just returned from
Poland (he was stationed at Ft Carson).
He was having a difficult time adjusting to the altitude but preparing
for Pikes Peak.  I wished him luck and
told him to pace himself.  He looked like
he’d already been sitting there for a while…

We had a late frost, so most of the trees and bushes had
dead new growth on them, but some were just beginning to emerge.  

I also saw a few asters along the trail.

All in all, it was a really nice hike, and a little
challenging.  In fact, the sign at the
trailhead says “advanced” for the Mt Muscoco trail, which I’d agree with.  I was back to my car by 9am after hiking
about 4 miles in just over an hour and a half, elevation gain (estimated because it was multiple trails up and down) was just over 1300 feet .

Oh, and I saw a couple on the trail who looked like they
hated each other, hiking about 20 feet apart.
I see this a lot on trails and it makes me wonder why they hike together
if they don’t like each other?  Either
that or the difficulty of the trail does funny things to our facial features as
we hike…

Author: Laura M Clark

Laura has summited over 500 peaks above 13,000' solo, including being the first woman to solo summit all of the Colorado 14ers, as well as the centennials. After each hike, she writes trip reports for each one and publishes them on her blog, which is read by fans all over the world. Author of Wild Wanderer: Summiting Colorado’s 200 Highest Peaks, which is available to purchase on Amazon.

One thought on “Mt Cutler (7,200), Mt Cutler Overlook (7,050), Mt Muscoco (8,020)”

  1. I am rereading Your mountain climbing experiences from 2017 to the present because I have never experienced this form of self entertainment in a persons life as You so well write about this invigorating pleasure. Thank You.


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