Buckhorn Loop (Captain Jack's Frontside) Trail

MODERATE 71 reviews

Buckhorn Loop (Captain Jack's Frontside) Trail is a 6.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Colorado Springs, Colorado that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking and is best used from May until November.

DISTANCE
6.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1230 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

hiking

mountain biking

trail running

forest

views

wildlife

blowdown

rocky

scramble

washed out

no dogs

The peak of buckhorn isn't where it seems. The first boulders you come across are so impressive, you think you've made it, but keep following the trail. You'll pass a giant fire pit (seriously it looks like a meteor crater), a huge log you have to climb over, then when you get to a giant boulder the size of a 2 story house with a cave underneath, you've finally made the peak. There are quite a few giant boulders to climb on with amazing views, and a gnarly pine tree that has made the perfect hangout and sitting spot with its curves.There's also some great views and photo ops just down the trail from the peak trailhead. If you're doing the buckhorn loop, take the trail up to the peak, you won't regret it.

hiking
25 days ago

A decent hike, however, some commentary is needed in order to find your way. From the parking lot head west toward 7 bridges. Shortly before the entry to 7 bridges a trail starts to your right. There are some large cement blocks by the trail head, but no sign to tell you what trail it is. Take an immediate left as you enter the trail. After going uphill for a short distance you will come to a fork. Turn right, this is trail 776, however there is no sign. From here the trail is easy to follow for a couple miles until you come to a junction. There are signs here marking the trails. Turn right on trail 667. This website incorrectly says trail 665, but it is 667 according to the sign post. After a short distance you will come to a spur trail that will turn you around almost 180 degrees. This will take you to Mt Buckhorn. You will come to a large boulder which looks like the summit, but it is not. Continue past the boulder. You will pass a large fire pit. Eventually you will come to an even larger boulder with a crawl space underneath. This is the summit. After this make your way back to trail 667 and continue until you come to a junction with a parking lot. A road goes through the parking lot north and south. This is High Drive. You can see it on this map. Immediately past the road and to the left is the trail you turn on from the parking lot. After a couple miles it will take you to a parking lot off of Gold Camp Road. From the parking lot take a right on the road. You will immediately see the first of 2 tunnels on the way back to the parking lot were you started. The road portion is about 2 miles.

hiking
2 months ago

Great views but definitely an unmarked trail. I just happened to stumble across it. You have to come up the road from the parking load to hit the trailhead

hiking
2 months ago

I have a question, y'all. I've been day hiking intensely for a while, but my navigation skills aren't exactly stellar. I really want to see Jones Park and I've been looking for it for a while. Looking at my pocket guide map, I thought the best way to do that would be to catch 7 bridges and then turn west on 667 (at the junction of 622a and 667. Each time I've tried, I do something like this: reach the end of trail 622 (which starts as 7 bridges), continue through the impressive stand of aspen trees uphill and to the north (ie to the right if you're coming up the trail). I'm able to reach the place where 666 used to intersect 667. I then go west on 667. Yesterday I got pretty far on 667 before I had to call it a day because it was getting late. Does anyone have any advice for me? What I've seen is beautiful, but I've become very intent on finding the ~mysterious~ Jones park. Would I have better luck just taking 667 from High drive until I come to Jones Park? Any help is appreciated!

3 months ago

I started the trail heading west. The trail was not marked, however easy to track. It was a great hike up the first few peaks. However to get the real ah-ha moments you need to head about 200 yards off trail. I dropped this trail a star because the last 2 miles of the loop are simply walking a automobile road, not very glamorous. The mile and a half before that road are great mountain biking trails so stay alert on foot!

hiking
4 months ago

Good trail - areas of varying challenges, lots of great scenic views!

mountain biking
7 months ago

Beautiful! Kinda overwhelming if you’re a hiker with dogs. Bikers come flying down that. It looks like so much fun for them flying down all the bumps with spectacular views.

9 months ago

Had to take stars off for all the motorcycles

hiking
10 months ago

Wrote a whole blog post on the trail :)
http://www.traillatte.com/2017/05/09/mt-buckhorn-and-captain-jacks-loop/

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Have to give this only three stars because no dogs are allowed on any of the trails in this section of trails for north Cheyenne.

hiking
Saturday, May 27, 2017

Great for hiking and mountain biking. Stellar views of Garden of the Gods and Cheyenne. Well manicured trail made for limited, if any, turn arounds. Awesome little morning/evening hike.

hiking
Sunday, March 19, 2017

Took the kids this time. 2 13 yr olds, a 9 yr old, and carried the 7m old.
A few spots on the loop that need some work. Skree and washouts make the trail a bit tricky in spots. Mountain bikes have loosened the gravel a lot in places. I almost slipped a few times. My 9 yr old slipped a few times and it made her pretty nervous. We just went slower and let her pick the pace after that.

The peak of buckhorn isn't where it seems. The first boulders you come across are so impressive, you think you've made it, but keep following the trail. You'll pass a giant fire pit (seriously it looks like a meteor crater), a huge log you have to climb over, a rock we call the Moses rock BC it's split like the Red Sea (lol), then when you get to a giant boulder the size of a 2 story house with a cave underneath, you've finally made the peak. There are quite a few giant boulders to climb on with amazing views, and a gnarly pine tree that has made the perfect hangout and sitting spot with its curves. We usually stop for lunch or snacks at the peak and play around for a while before starting back down. There's also some great views and photo ops just down the trail from the peak trailhead. If you're doing the buckhorn loop, take the trail up to the peak, you won't regret it.

hiking
Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Definitely a workout but SOOOOO worth it.
Took the main trail (west on the high road) from the parking lot towards 7 bridges trail. Got off a bit too early (the breakout for Buckhorn loop is after you exit the trailhead for 7 bridges. But I saw a trail and thought that was it. Turns out that trial leads to a homeless camp in some boulders. It was a mess. Lots of trash and evidence of fires that weren't properly made or watched.

I didn't want to go back down to the main trail after climbing so far and my gps showed Buckhorn trail not far above me so I kept going, super steep, super sketchy, but finally made it to Buckhorn trail.

Buckhorn loop is a more narrow trail with a few sketchy spots of skree and washouts that need to be repaired. I'd say moderate only because the incline is quite the workout on your legs. You get breaks though, it'll be a good incline then a relatively flat stretch. Lots of bikes and they come out of nowhere so keep an ear out. There's not a lot of room to move off the trail for them.

The trail for Buckhorn peak is on the southern switchback where the trail starts to decline. Either direction it's the same spot. From seven bridges, you'll go about 100' down the trail before the split. It'a close to a big rocky outcropping with amazing views of the canyon and mountains to the west.

The trail to peak Buckhorn is directly north. A lighter path so may be hard to see in winter but clearly visible now. You'll pass a few big and awesome looking out-croppings and a big crater someone used as a fire pit. The peak itself is a gigantic rock with space underneath it making a cave. The views for the entire ridge line are spectacular in all direction: the springs, the mountain ranges to the north and west, and Cheyenne mountain to the south. Stopped and fed the baby a bottle while I ate lunch then began the trek down.

The trail down to high road has a lot of switchbacks and a couple easier inclines. They've maintained this trail a bit more but higher up had some skree and washout areas that were a bit more nerve racking. Once you reach the main trailhead at high road, it's an easy decline back to the parking lot.

I've tried this trail going up high drive first and wouldn't recommend it unless you're in great shape. It's all incline with no breaks at all. I turned back after reaching the trailhead the first time I tried it. Hiking from 7 bridges is a lot more manageable and the hike down is easy and scenic.

Not a lot of traffic today. It's a Tuesday and I hiked between 10 & 3. I'm out of shape and it took me over 3 hours in and out. Quite a workout but totally worth it. Buckhorn peak is magical.

hiking
Friday, February 10, 2017

Views, views, views. But you will work for them. Only made it to where captain jack breaks off by the high drive monument/sign. I'm mostly adjusted to the altitude but completely out of shape so getting there took some major self-pep-talking. He entire trail is uphill and I mean uphill. About 600' gain in a mile. Took lots of breaks on the way up for water and to catch my breath. I had a 10lb backpack behind me and a 15lb baby in a carrier in front of me so that made it tough. Stopped at the trail split for a sack lunch and a diaper change and bottle for baby. Decided to head back down due to time but lots of easy, moderate, and difficult trails I could've picked from there. Main trail up is gravel and smoothed out. Wide enough to share with hikers, mountain bikers and even horses. A few good drop-offs on the edge but plenty of room to stay away if
That makes you nervous. Saw a few mountain lion tracks so be aware of that. Overall a nice hike and the baby enjoyed being outside too. Really wanted to hike up to the peak of buckhorn but too dangerous of a trail when carrying a baby.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Super fun trail- single track, good elevation, not crowded, very nice view at the top. I liked it a lot!

hiking
Monday, November 28, 2016

We had a lot of fun hiking up high drive and then to mount buckhorn. Great views! Very windy today. Highly recommend for new hikers!

hiking
Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Love this for a quick/moderate-length hike. Make sure you go to the summit of Buckhorn and see the giant boulder. It's amazing!

hiking
Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Great trail, esp. for a quick hike. You don't have to worry about scree fields like above Seven Bridges/622. Safer for young kids, but watch out for bikers.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Buckhorn Loop is an enjoyable trail that should be easily manageable for most hikers, with no prolonged, steep inclines. The trail is in good condition. There are a few stretches around the shoulder of Buckhorn mountain where the path is quite narrow, over steep drop-offs, but nowhere is it really hazardous.

The trail begins at a large parking lot at the end of the paved North Cheyenne Canyon Road. The first part of the hike is actually on Gold Camp Road, preceding east. (This section is open to automobile traffic. )

After passing through the second of two tunnels, turn left at a small parking area onto Forest Service Trail 665. After a couple of moderate switchbacks, you will walk along ridge lines with sporadic views through trees.

About halfway through the trail, you will cross the High Drive dirt road. You can cut the hike short here, and take a straight shot back to the parking lot, but you would be missing the best part.

After crossing High Drive, the trail climbs consistently, around the shoulder of Buckhorn Mountain, to a high-point at an overlook where the trail turns right and begins to descend. To the right is an unmarked path to Buckhorn Peak, which is only a short distance away. (I didn't go to the peak, but the topographical map indicates it should be easy to do so.)

The trail continues to descend until it hits a road (closed to autos). Turn left, and follow the road back to the parking lot.

Good hike, with good (but not spectacular) views. Not too strenuous,

hiking
Thursday, August 25, 2016

Didn't do this loop, but hiked from the upper parking lot at N. Cheyenne Canyon to Mt. Buckhorn. Started at Seven Bridges Trail head, shortly after the first bridge I went right, then hit Captain Jacks briefly until I came to the trail up Mt. Buckhorn. Fun hike, nice views.

hiking
Sunday, July 31, 2016

Well marked, popular bike trail, steep inclines. Great trail with great views!

hiking
Saturday, January 09, 2016

This review is for the May's Peak trail which I was unable to locate in the system. Starting from the parking lot it's about a 4 mile hike (round trip) with easy elevation gain to the summit. It was a great hike in some gorgeous snow! Is a very short and easy hike if you don't have a lot of time. As always, my dog joined me on the trail and he also approves.

mountain biking
Thursday, June 25, 2015

Awesome trail - one of my favorites in the area. Just make sure you ride up the street (head west from the parking lot to where the roads come together, past the metal gate. Continue about a half mile up the road, hang a right on the second trail you see (the first will get you there too, just not as maintained). Follow it up the single track for a quarter mile and take the Y junction to the right. Can't get lost from there. Takes you right back to the parking lot), this route will ensure you hit one of the best technical downhills I've ever ridden (would be miserable trying to climb if you went the opposite direction - SO DON'T START AT THE TRAILHEAD AT THE PARKING LOT!!!).

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Hiked and trail was in good condition. Easy, well marked, and minimal grade. Went counterclockwise and really enjoyed the variety of road, creekside, and woodland trail.

mountain biking
Sunday, May 24, 2015

good trail

hiking
Sunday, August 11, 2013

Great ride. The climbs are short and the Burms at the end make this ride great!

hiking
Saturday, June 22, 2013

Truly a horrible experience! While this trail traverses some nice terrain, and the initial climb is quite good, it does not make up for the beaten and abused trail. It's a poster child for what a trail should not become. A 3' deep granite runnel filled with 6" of loose crap. It should be closed for 20 years and given a chance to heal! Truly grotesque!

hiking
Monday, May 27, 2013

One of my favorites!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Be prepared to climb like crazy if you leave out of the Buckhorn trail head. In order to get to the Buckhorn trail head, drive up Gold Camp rd until you pass throught the second tunnel. At this point you will have about 3/4 of a mile until you reach the parking lot. travel on your bike up the gravel road fo about another 3/4 mile until the road bends right. Take the trail to the right and stay right. You will be climbing for about 3 miles. Remember to stay right all the way. The trail will crest and your payoff will begin. When you reach High drive, cross and continue ripping down the trail. Captain Jack is complete one you reach Gold Camp rd. Just follow Gold Camp rd back the parking lot. Over all the trails were a blast. Breath taking climb and a rippin payoff. NOTE: Watch for the rollers that the dirt bikers created, there is a lot of loose gravel that will cause a washout if you are not prepared.

mountain biking
Friday, March 23, 2012

This is a fun trail for mountain biking and motorcross. I give it 4/5 stars because motorcross bikes have loosened the soil significantly in some spots and even experienced riders can have a little trouble when the front tire suddenly sinks into loose ground. Other than a few spots here and there this trail is challenging, fast and fun. Bring some water because the trail takes at least 1 hour to complete.

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