The Elder Fehn Trail is one of many trails branching out across the Catamount Ranch Open Space to various destinations around the beautiful Catamount Lakes on the north slope of Pikes Peak. The trail is a beautiful wooded escape for hikers and runners who want to get some trail time while beating the summer heat of the city and plains at lower elevations. The Elder Fehn Trail is outside the gated and fenced North Slope Recreation Area, so it is accessible in the winter months for snowshoeing and cross country skiing in addition to the traditional summer sport usages.
The trailhead for the North Slope trail system is clearly marked near the parking lot at the end of Ed Lowe Road, just west of Woodland Park. A large map depicts the trails for the entire Catamount Lake area and there is only one trail leading away from the parking area. A short hike up the hill brings hikers to the North Slope Recreation area fence and gate. The Elder Fehn Trail branches off to the south about twenty five feet before the gate. The Elder Fehn trail is the wide well defined and maintained route and not the slightly overgrown deer trail that leads along the fence.
The remainder of the trail is clearly marked by large signs and maps all along the way. The easy five and one half mile trail is an out and back trek through dense forest filled with birds, squirrels and pika. Lucky hikers might see mule deer, elk, coyote and perhaps even a bear along the way. Occasional views of Pikes Peak provide attractive photo opportunities and a chance to catch your breath while taking in the magnificent scenery. The trail is lined with many varieties of mountain plants, including wildflowers, moss and mushrooms. About a mile and a half into the hike the trail connects with another trail that is a continuation of the Elder Fehn to the right and the Vayhinger Trail to the left. Continuing the Elder Fehn to the right will culminate with a one and a half mile loop on a slightly less well maintained track through more of the same terrain. The Vayhinger Trail leads down to the Ring the Peak Trail and onward to South Catamount Reservoir. The Elder Fehn loop is clearly marked and is indicated as an intermediate section of trail, probably due to the loose rocks scattered about the route.
The entire five and a half mile loop is a two to four hour adventure depending on your physical conditioning, and passes over a series of switchbacks, hills and valleys as it makes its way through the lush forest. Rain and thunder storms are likely throughout the high country afternoons so be sure to bring along rain gear and plenty of liquids to keep yourself hydrated in the thin alpine air.
Ed Lowe Road is a marked and paved road leading south of Highway 24 not far west of the Pikes Peak Regional Hospital. Deer and other wildlife is prevalent on the roadway so be sure to watch your speed and keep an eye out for the critters.