After heavy rain, Cheyenne Canyon still too dangerous to reopen

Rachael Plath, Good Morning Colorado Meteorologist/Reporter, r.plath@krdo.com
POSTED: 05:41 PM MDT Oct 01, 2013 

September’s heavy rain is still causing problems in one Colorado Springs canyon.

North Cheyenne Canyon remains closed to the public after rain saturated the area, prompting land and rock slides. 

Three weeks later, water is still seeping out of the porous mountainside, and streams continue to run higher and faster than usual.

“What we’re trying to do is systematically go through the trail system and make sure that we have a useful product before we open back up again,” said Scott Abbott, regional park, trails and open spaces supervisor with the city of Colorado Springs.

Abbott said crews have been surveying the canyon since the rain began falling.  His team is working to remove the sediment from trails, stabilize the mountainside, repair damage to infrastructure and roads and implement preventative measures so that this does not happen again.

Among some of the hardest hit areas is Gold Camp Road, where an 80-foot stretch of the road was completely washed away.

The Mount Cutler and Columbine trails were also hit especially hard, with debris and water covering parts of the paths.

Abbott said the canyon is unstable and dangerous, and said there is a lot of uncertainty going forward.

“With an event this big, we’re not quite sure how the earth is going to continually react,” said Abbott.

Abbott said despite closing the canyon, hikers are breaking into the restricted area.  He said this is dangerous because of the continuation of landslides and rock slides.  He said there are also construction crews using heavy machinery, which could potentially prompt even more slides.  This is why the area is still closed, and why Abbott said residents need to heed the warnings.

“We’re really begging people to stay out as we are continuing to work and utilize machinery in here and continuing to go through the process.  It’s very important that the public stay out,” he said.

There is no date set for reopening the canyon.