“Columbine Trail traverses through the cañon from Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center to above Helen Hunt Falls.”
— K Keiter
River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildflowers
The Lower Columbine Trailhead is located behind the Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center and meanders along North Cheyenne Creek. The sound of the creek's rushing water is gratifying and idyllic. The trail is easy running with very few obstacles and not much grade. The spring blooms are aromatic, and the canopy offers an ample covering. Along the lower trail there are picnic areas, so be ready to navigate moderate crowds of families, strollers, dogs on leash, equestrians and bikes.
Mid-Columbine Trailhead is about a mile from the Lower Columbine Trailhead across N. Cheyenne Canyon Road. A small lot for parking is available at this trailhead. The Mid-Columbine Trail is intermediate/difficult in difficulty. The trail narrows and ascends quickly along switchbacks covered in loose gravel. As the difficulty of the trail increases, the quantity of other trail users decreases. The rock formations are robust on this stretch of the trail, as are the views.
Upper Columbine Trail can be reached from the first parking area past the Helen Hunt Falls parking lot along North Cheyenne Canyon Road, or if you continue to follow the Mid-Columbine Trail, it begins at the junction of the Gold Camp Road spur trail and the Columbine Trail markers. The Upper Columbine Trail winds through the woodlands and this part of the forest has some enchanting foliage with tiny streams. The grade is less on the Upper Columbine Trail than the Mid-Columbine Trail, so it is more accessible to families and intermediate runners. Although, it is open to bikers, hikers, runners, and equestrians, the traffic is sparse, so it is a quiet outing.