WALK THE HISTORICAL STREETS OF MANITOU SPRINGS, CO; AND HIKE RED CHIEF MOUNTAIN

  • October 12, 2013 · 10:30 AM

Nestled at the base of Pikes Peak sits the tiny community of Manitou Springs in Southern Colorado. Once a mecca for spiritual renewals, early resident’s long deceased still refuse to leave. It's one of Manitou Springs' oldest ghost stories, and every year the town makes sure it lives on.

Long before white settlers set foot into the Rocky Mountains the Native Americans revered Manitou Springs as a place of spiritual and physical healing. The springs that bubble in the area contain curative minerals which drew people to Manitou Springs. The Native Americans, especially the Utes would come down Ute Pass now highway 24 to drink the waters which flowed out of the ground.

More than 100 years ago Emma Crawford came to Manitou Springs in search of a cure for her Tuberculosis. It was thought that the town's crisp mountain air and healing waters could help her, and for a while it did. She drank the waters, and she started feeling better, but she always wanted to hike up Red Mountain. To honor the Native Americans she would sometimes call the mountain Red Chief Mountain.

Against all medical advice, Emma set out on a journey up the mountain and accomplished her goal. To mark her efforts she tied a red handkerchief around a Pinion tree, and later wished that if she ever did die Red Mountain would be where she wanted to be buried. Things were looking bright for young Emma, and she was in the middle of planning her wedding when things took a turn for the worse, and she succumbed to her illness. Emma's finance carried out her final wish and found 12 men to carry her coffin to the top of Red Mountain. The 12 men had to work in shifts and spent two days trying to get Emma to her final resting place. Due to the loose gravel, they had to go back and try the next day, but they eventually got her up there.

Emma was laid to rest, but her eternal sleep was interrupted. A decade later a developer was given permission to build an incline to the top of Red Mountain which would terminate at Emma’s gravesite. The developer exhumed Emma’s coffin and buried it on the opposite side of the mountain. Year’s later torrential rains in Manitou Springs washed Emma's coffin back down Red Mountain, and legend has it she was found by some young children playing in Ruxton Canyon. They ran by this skull, and nearby were the silver handles, and the name plate to her coffin, so they brought them downtown to the sheriff.

Emma was reburied in Crystal Valley Cemetery, where a headstone marks her story. But is she at rest?

The incline no longer exists, and the only access to the top of Red Mountain is by foot. For some of those who make the ascent to Red Mountain have told Emma is there to greet them. Some say Emma also shows herself behind the windows of the Crawford House where she and her family would stay during their visits to Manitou Springs and often hear her play the piano.
Maybe on this day we’ll see this loving and caring woman on the summit of Red “Chief” Mountain with her bright smile and her red handkerchief .

Paul Intemann Memorial Nature Trail is a popular trail that winds south of Manitou Springs. When hiking from north to south the trail head is located off the Ruxton Avenue by the Iron Spring Gazebo. Follow the trail through Spring Street and through the gate. After about 1/2 mile you will see a spur that leads up to the Red Mountain. Standing south of Manitou Springs, Red Mountain (7375 ft) can be accessed by a short but rewarding hike. Some remains of the summit structures can still be seen. Start at the Iron Springs trailhead for Paul Intemann trail. About half a mile past the gate we'll reach the trail junction with Red Mountain trail spur to the right. From here the trail starts climbing rather steeply through the forest. Once we reach the bare saddle keep left to the summit. We'll enjoy great views including Manitou Springs, Williams Canyon, The Incline and Pikes Peak.

After the hike I'd like to walk through town and check out some of the historical museums and landmarks.

Length: Total length of both segments is 5 miles.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate with a 1,000 ft elevation gain.

Directions: From the Denver area and Colorado Springs area take the Valley Highway (I-25). Exit onto US-24 Westbound to Manitou Avenue and drive into downtown Manitou Springs. At the round about turn on to Ruxton Avenue. Continue up the hill and find parking on the side of the street somewhere by the Iron Spring gazebo.

I hope you all have a great week!!!

Don


 

 

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  • Don

    What is it about this town that brings out the best in almost everyone! Very nice day with a lot of new people.

    1 · October 15, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Beautiful hike, excellent lunch, fun people. And, I found my elusive mobile! All in all, a wonderful experience! Thanks, Don, for organizing it.

    October 13, 2013

  • Annie

    Perfect day - thank you everyone!

    October 12, 2013

  • Lisa

    It was great to meet some new people today! Really enjoyed talking with everyone!

    October 12, 2013

  • Michael T

    Don and Everyone,
    What a great time. Good weather, a great views, and most of all wondeful people. Lunch at the Loop made it a near perfect day.

    October 12, 2013

  • Craig F

    Great day on Red Mountain and what a fun group of hikers both on and off the trail.

    October 12, 2013

  • Maliheh

    Awesome! Fun!

    October 12, 2013

  • Jennifer

    Jennifer

    I had the best time on this hike today! It was so much fun. Thanks Don for organizing it!
    I tried to make lunch afterwards but had a hard time finding a parking space. On my 3rd go around, I found a space! Went to the parking machine and it said, " Not accepting paid parking now, try later." I didn't want to get a ticket or towed away, so I just called it a day and drove home:(
    It was great meeting everyone!! You will see me on future hikes and get to gethers! Take care everbody! Jennifer

    October 12, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry everyone I'm not feeling very well.

    October 12, 2013

  • Don

    The directions to the gazebo is below. Gazebos aren't usually placed on maps. It's just a meeting spot and to indicate where the trail begins. Much like a sign or information board.

    October 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Is the Gazebo the same thing as the Melodrama-Dinner Theater at 444 Ruxton Ave. I can't locate a gazebo on the map.

    October 11, 2013

  • Don

    We'll be meeting at the Gazebo

    October 11, 2013

  • Maliheh

    Howdy! Are we meeting at the trail head(off the Ruxton Avenue by the Iron Spring Gazebo)? Or further into the trail?

    October 10, 2013

  • Don

    Folks, The Iron Spring Gazebo isn't hard to find. Be sure you turn on Ruxton Ave at the round about turn. You'll go all the way to where you'll see the tramway station which takes folks up to the summit of Pikes Peak. At this point you'll want to find parking either on the street on in one of the parking lots. The Iron Spring Gazebo is on the other side of the tramway station and below the street near the trail we'll be hiking. Though the trail is an easy trail the loose gravel is a real pain so please do not wear tennis shoes on the hike.
    See you on Saturday.

    October 9, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    UGH! 1.5 hrs to get there and I have some work to do that morning now, but I will try to get down there. Don, keep your ears on please!

    October 7, 2013

    • Don

      My ears are attached to my head.

      October 9, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hello All!
    I was hoping to finally meet the group a few weeks ago, but the floods washed us out. Glad there is a hike I can make now. Anyone carpooling from Denver?
    Thanks

    October 7, 2013

  • Melinda M.

    Hi Don, could you let me know if dogs (on lead) are allowed on this hike? THANKS from the Australian! :)

    October 6, 2013

    • Don

      I had one member who took his dog and there wasn't any problem until coming down!!! It wasn't funny but...yes it was!!! Sleigh Ride!!! Don't let the dog drag you down the trail! As I wrote in the posting the trail is mostly loose gravel.

      October 6, 2013

  • Tammy

    Would anyone like to carpool from the Littleton area?

    October 5, 2013

  • Michael T

    Looking forward to s great day.

    October 5, 2013

  • Scout M.

    If I don't have to work that weekend, I'll be there!

    July 31, 2013

  • Don

    For those who would like to go to the cemetery where Emma is buried you may follow me out of town and I'll show you where the cemetery is but I won't show you where Emma is buried...that's a story in itself and I have proof it happened!!!

    July 8, 2013

  • Don

    Please wear boots/shoes with traction. The trail hasn't changed that much since those men carried the coffin up Red Chief Mountain. You'll see why it took 2-3 days.

    July 8, 2013

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