I was convinced the weather would improve for our first camping trip of the season, but as we arrived at Cheyenne Mountain State Park, the heavy fog was lifting to reveal ice on the pine trees at the top of Cheyenne Mountain. I checked my weather app again (which is absolutely a requirement in Colorado) and it claimed sunshine and warm weather for Friday. It was difficult to believe with the wind blowing a slight rain on us as we set up camp.
If you read this blog, you know I love staying at Cheyenne Mountain State Park to usher in the camping season or for our final camping trip of the year. Either way, the full hook-up sites are perfect for testing all the items on the camper and ensuring they work before we are in a remote location. I was out of practice creating my food list and had to make a trip to the very close grocery store for a few items. I consider Cheyenne Mountain State Park camping to be luxurious. They offer programs, sell ice cream and smore items (in case you forget things), provide lovely benches at just the perfect spots on the trails, and they have clean restrooms with showers. A laundry room is also available and they boast three playgrounds for kids. All I have to do is show up, level the camper, and relax. I think that’s what camping is all about.
We stayed in campsite 12, the same site we enjoyed last fall. It did not disappoint. If you are looking for a view of the city, this site is not for you. Look toward the ridge in the upper sites 1 through 11. But if you are looking for mountain views and less traffic, look no further than this site which is at the end of a culdesac and has a trailhead on one side and a slightly steep hill on the other. Sitting more by itself than some sites, it is a wide back-in location with tent pad and the usual fire ring and picnic table one expects at Colorado State Parks. Wild turkeys and deer are included.
The campground was full in early May and rangers zipped through a few times each day on golf carts or in trucks. The weather app didn’t lie and we were greeted with bright sun in the morning. We hiked a few different trails at the bottom of the hill and enjoyed the views of both flat grasslands and various pine and oaks. Trees and shrubs on Zook Loop are marked by new posts with information provided by an Eagle Scout project. My son and I hiked several locations, some twice, trying to find all the geocaches in these lower trails. We successfully discovered boxes of goodies or tiny canisters of change.
One of the newer features of the park is a nine-hole disc golf course that begins in the group camping loop and continues in a field near Acorn Trail. Luckily, we had a disc and set out to tackle the newer course. It took us about one hour to complete. The wind was picking up and the throwing wasn’t the greatest, but the course was fun and definitely made for a relaxing pre-dinner activity. We hiked from the campsite on Acorn Trail down to the start of the course where score cards and a map are provided near the first tee box. While the first holes are in the open prairie, the final holes are located in a more shaded region of the park.
It was barely camping weather when we arrived, but by the time we were hooking our camper onto our car to depart, the weather was warm and the leaves were budding out on the gamble oaks. Small flowers in the fields and on the edge of the trails signaled spring was here. Camping season had arrived.