Buckhorn Loop (Captain Jack's Frontside) Trail

MODERATE 38 reviews
#9 of 14 trails in

Buckhorn Loop (Captain Jack's Frontside) Trail is a 7 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 and mountain biking and is best used from May until November.

DISTANCE
7.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1604 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

hiking

mountain biking

forest

views

wildlife

blowdown

rocky

scramble

washed out

15 days ago

hiking
2 months ago

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
2 months ago

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
3 months ago

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.

4 months ago

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

hiking
5 months ago

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
5 months ago

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
5 months ago

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.

8 months ago

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
8 months ago

8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

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
9 months ago

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

mountain biking
10 months ago

trail running
10 months ago

hiking
Monday, May 09, 2016

hiking
Sunday, January 17, 2016

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.

Sunday, November 15, 2015