The Long Awaited Dixon Trail

Part I.

        During a hike, it might not occur to you how the trail got there. There’s much to be said about creating a hiking trail, but merely paying tax (or purchasing a parks pass, hunting or fishing license and/or paying a campground or access fee) doesn’t cover everything that paves the way for trails to exist. Take the Dixon Trail as an example, a long-awaited project, as far back as 10 years in the works. Its importance lies in the ability to bring hikers to the top of Cheyenne Mountain, for residents to enjoy. Today, thanks to the various organizations for funding, the community effort of volunteers and non-profit’s, the hard work is paying off, and there’s an end in sight. 

        While many residents are able to access 3 miles of Talon Trail, it ends. This is the point where the Dixon trail is to begin from, to allow access to the top of the mountain. Volunteer for Outdoor Colorado was responsible for the start of Dixon from the bottom, and the Rocky Mountain Field Institute were accountable for efforts from the top. But they were not able to connect the gap in the middle, as there lied a section of land, a quarter-mile long on private property. 

        The solution to fill in the gap, which connects the 2 already built sections of the trail, was to obtain an easement on the private land, which had an estimated cost of $16,000. Coming up with this cost, stalled the completion of the Dixon Trail. Luckily, that easement has been obtained, we have the funding from the Trails, Open Space and Parks Program (Colorado Springs tax TOPS Program) and the Cheyenne Mountain State Park, to thank for it. 

The upper portion of the trail holds incredible views of Colorado Springs and the Eastern plains - Photo by Kevin Mallek

The upper portion of the trail holds incredible views of Colorado Springs and the Eastern plains - Photo by Kevin Mallek

        Volunteers are another significant part to thank, there are only a few generous people who willingly put in the hard work to make the trail into a reality. Who take their time to pack up, camp on location, and commit to building the Dixon Trail. Construction requires the crew to create rock steps, clear the trail while in dense forest conditions, build rock retaining walls, and switchbacks; All while ensuring that they practice Leave No Trace principles at the campsite. One of its volunteers, Kevin Mallek, participated from August 25th through 26th, 2018 experiencing first hand, the process of working on the Dixon Trail.  

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       Kevin Mallek volunteered with no prior experience on trail building, the Dixon Trail build brought on various challenges; From handling boulders to practicing leave no trace principles. To learn more about his involvement, he also explains getting to meet new people and learn new skill-sets, still made for a rewarding weekend build on the Cheyenne mountain. Taking part of the final pieces to complete the Dixon Trail, prove to make both the challenges and rewards all worthwhile. The 5.2-mile trail will begin from the end of North Talon Trail, and you can find it at the Cheyenne Mountain region of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

To learn more about Kevin’s experience, read further for his interview! - Part 2

colorado springs hiking dixon trail work

Written by: Amber Inthavong

Please visit my Colorado Travel Blog and follow me on Instagram and Twitter to be informed on outdoor adventure!