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On Walkabout On: Inspiration Point Trail, Colorado

Basic Information

  • What: Inspiration Point Trail
  • Where: Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy (358 feet in elevation gain)
  • Time: 1 hour or less roundtrip
  • More Information: SevenFalls.com

Narrative

Seven Falls is a great place to visit in the Colorado Springs area.  Most people who come to this beautiful waterfall spend enough time just to ride the Mountain Elevator to the lookout 140 feet above the floor of South Cheyenne Canyon.  However, something else I recommend doing at Seven Falls is to hike the Inspiration Point Trail.  This short trail is only about 2 miles roundtrip from the visitor center.  However, what probably turns off some people from hiking the trail is that fact that it requires hikers to climb up the steep stairs located adjacent to the waterfall:

The first waterfall of the Seven Falls is Hull Falls which is considered to be a “horsetail fall” since the water maintains some contact with the rock as it falls down:

The stairs that begin next to Hull Falls has 224 steps that hikers need to climb up to reach the top of the canyon.  Here is a view looking down from the stairs towards the start of the climb up:

The next falls the stairs reach is Shorty Falls:

Here is a picture of Bridal Veil Falls from further up the stairs:

Here is another waterfall near the top that is named Ramona Falls after the book written by the famed early 19th century author Helen Hunt Jackson:

Here is the view from the top of the Seven Falls looking back down into South Cheyenne Canyon.  In the below photograph the lookout at the top of the Mountain Elevator is visible:

From the top of the waterfall there is trail that follows South Cheyenne Creek deeper into the mountains:

The trail leads to one of two locations above the waterfall.  Visitors can hike to another waterfall called Midnight Falls on the Roundabout Trail or take the longer Inspiration Point Trail to see the original gravesite for Helen Hunt:

I decided to hike the Inspiration Point Trail and then if I had time hike up to Midnight Falls on the way back.  I ultimately decided to not visit Midnight Falls due to how little water was flowing in the creek and will hike up the trail some other time when there is more water in the creek.  The trail above the Seven Falls is in good shape and very easy to follow:

The area around the trail is thickly forested and even include a few very large ponderosa pine trees:

Along the trail there were plenty of signs to warn visitors of the hazards posed by bears in the area:

Something that I never realized about Seven Falls before was that I noticed that the property owners actually use a pipe to pump water to the top of the canyon to keep the waterfall flowing.  Looking through the trees back towards the creek I could see a pipe pouring water into the creek:

Further down the trail South Cheyenne Creek actually has little to no water in it which clearly shows why the pipe is needed to keep the waterfall flowing:

I came next to the fork in the trail that leads to Helen Hunt’s gravesite:

From this point the trail becomes a bit steeper as it gain in altitude, but most people shouldn’t have any problems getting up this section of the trail.  The gain in elevation though did mean that better views of the surrounding mountains such as the 9,782 ft (2,982 meter) Stove Mountain:

I hiked right by Stove Mountain earlier this year on my walk up to the summit of the  11,499 ft (3,505 m) Mt. Rosa which can be seen pictured below behind and to the left of Stove Mountain:

Mt. Rosa was the mountain that explorer Zebulon Pike climbed up to after his failed attempt to climb the mountain now named after him, Pikes Peak in 1806.  You can read more about Mt. Rosa and Zebulon Pike at the below link:

After enjoying the views of the nearby mountains I continued to hike up the trail to Inspiration Point:
I eventually reached Inspiration Point that has a viewpoint that looks across South Cheyenne Canyon towards a mountain called the Covered Wagon:

This lookout is also where the original gravesite for Helen Hunt is located:

Helen Hunt Jackson who was a famed writer and activist back in the 1800?s. Helen Hunt passed away in 1885 from stomach cancer while living in San Francisco.  Her husband had her body shipped to Colorado Springs and buried above Seven Falls.

Helen Hunt Jackson

Helen Hunt Jackson had a very tragic personal life that saw her husband and two sons die due to accidents and sickness.  She went into a deep depression and turned to writing to cure her sadness.  Eventually her health would decline as well and so she moved from New England to Colorado Springs for the fresh air and famed mineral springs of Manitou.  It is here she met her 2nd husband William Sharpless Jackson while visiting Seven Falls.  She would live in Colorado Springs for a number of years and write some of her most famous works here.  Of note was her writings defending the rights of Native-Americans that she had come to understand their plight while living in Colorado Springs.  The spot where she was originally buried above Seven Falls is said to be the location that inspired one of her most famous books, “Ramona”:

Her husband then had her grave moved to Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs a few years later in 1891 due to vandalism concerns which is where she still rests today. However, her original gravesite remains a popular destination where even back in 1928 visitors were leaving rocks at that have accumulated over the years to the pile that remains today.   Helen Hunt isn’t the only person with a memorial at Inspiration Point, the former owner of Seven Falls Melvin Stanley Weimer has a plaque up there as well:

I could not find a whole lot on Melvin Weimer on the Internet, but I did find this article about him recalling the time Babe Ruth visited Seven Falls in 1938 to be interesting.  If anyone knows more about Melvin Weimer please leave a comment.  From Weimer’s memorial at Inspiration Point, there is outstanding views looking towards Colorado Springs:

There are also views from Inspiration Point looking back towards Stove Mountain as well:

Conclusion

After spending about 20 minutes hanging out at Inspiration Point enjoying the views I then proceeded to hike back down the trail.  In total it took me less than hour roundtrip to complete this hike.  Overall my family and I spent 4 hours hanging out at Seven Falls and had a great time.  Seven Falls has turned into a place we seem to visit once a year outside of the summer tourist season.  It really is a beautiful place which I can easily understand why Helen Hunt would have wanted to be buried there.  Even though it is a bit pricey for a large family to visit Seven Falls I definitely recommend checking it out, though be careful about visiting in the summer tourist season because it can get quite packed with visitors.  If going definitely take the time to hike up to Inspiration Point.  The trail is easy to follow though the stairs could be daunting for people with bad knees.  However, once at Inspiration Point the views are worth the effort.

Note: If you have visited Seven Falls before please leave a comment and let others know what you thought about your trip.

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