Cheyenne Mountain Highway

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Cheyenne Mountain Highway

Map of the Cheyenne Mountain Highway in red
Route information
Maintained by CDOT
Length7.5 mi[1] (12.1 km)
CountryUnited States
Highway system
  • Colorado State Highway System
View of Colorado Springs from Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun on Cheyenne Mountain Highway

The Cheyenne Mountain Highway, also called Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road,[1]:1, 7:1 is a road in Colorado Springs, Colorado[2] that begins at the intersection of Penrose Boulevard, Old Stage Road, and West Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard.[3][a] It is a paved road to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun. Thereafter, it is an unpaved private road to one of the peaks of the mountain, known as The Horns.


Cheyenne Mountain has three peaks. The southern peak is Cheyenne Mountain's summit at 9,200 feet (2,800 m) in elevation, the antenna farm sits on the middle peak, and the northern peak is called The Horns.[5][b] Cheyenne Mountain Highway ends at The Horns.[7]:18,19


The road is paved to the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun, thereafter it is a four-mile-long (6.4 km) unpaved road to The Horns, where The Broadmoor's Cloud Camp is located. This was formerly the site of the Cheyenne Mountain Lodge. There are gates that control the access to the road: two after the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and a third after the Will Rogers Shrine. The Broadmoor has maintained the road for the transport of guests to Cloud Camp.[7] A portion of the road is named Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road.[8] The Cheyenne Mountain Highway was originally built for transportation to properties built by Spencer Penrose, which came to include the zoo, the shrine, and the top of the mountain.[9]:222


Road to Broadmoor properties

After building The Broadmoor, Spencer Penrose began to develop Cheyenne Mountain property that he purchased on the northern peak in 1915. He built the 7.5 miles (12.1 km) Cheyenne Mountain Highway in 1925.[1][5][c] Initially called the Broadmoor-Cheyenne Mountain Highway, it began one mile (1.6 km) south of The Broadmoor at the Old Stage Road and ascended to the summit with 32 switchback turns up the mountain, gaining almost 3,000 feet (910 m) in altitude with a maximum 10% grade. It afforded views of Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak.[11]

Penrose hired Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers to build the unpaved decomposed gravel toll road. In the depressed economy, this provided work for individuals in need of jobs and helped him to manage construction costs. The cost of the construction was $350,000 (equivalent to $5,840,417 in 2022). [1]:8:7[12] In 1926, the Cheyenne Mountain Lodge opened at the top of Cheyenne Mountain.[13][d] Visitors could make the trip up the highway to the lodge on the backs of elephants,[5][e] such as an elephant given to Penrose by an Indian rajah.[14]

The toll gate was situated on the highway just before the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (1926)[14][15],[16]:88 and the Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun (1937) was built on the northern promontory of the mountain.[15][17]:1 The Broadmoor also operated a ski area from 1959-1991 on Cheyenne Mountain,[18] near the Broadmoor Shooting Range.[19] The highway was rebuilt and widened, received several scenic turnouts, and paved with asphaltic concrete following a flood that washed out the road in July 1965. It reopened in April 1966.[20]

Cog railroad

Penrose opened the original Broadmoor-Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Cog Railroad in June 1938, and Shirley Temple was a passenger on its first run. The train was a replica of the steam trains operated by the Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway[21][22][f] In 1950, a "new streamlined" cog train called the Broadmoor Mountaineer was dedicated by Charles L. Tutt, Jr., The Broadmoor's president, and J. F. Gordon, the president of Cadillac Motor Company, who operated the train on its inaugural ride.[21]

Cheyenne Mountain Cog Railroad offered service on a narrow gauge road from The Broadmoor to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo from 1961 until 1974.[24][25] The railway engine called The Mountaineer was a small edition of the narrow gauge cog trains used to climb Pikes Peak. Two Plexiglas-topped cars, each carrying up to 20 people, took passengers for a two-mile (3.2 km) ride through four tunnels. The ride began at a boarding station by the lake at The Broadmoor and stopped at the zoo's entrance, the Thundergod House.[26][27]

See also


  1. ^ A road from inside the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo to the Will Rogers Shrine is called the Russell Tutt Scenic Highway.[4]
  2. ^ An old Native American legend is that the mountain is the remains of a dragon that drank water from a flood, could not move from the weight, and died, leaving his image captured in the mountain's profile.[5] Legends of the lizard dragon with the great thirst were relayed to Spanish priests, recorded in manuscripts, and delivered to and stored in New Spain's capital and Madrid, Spain's archives. Another legend tells of a devil who lost a fight over land to the god Manitou, who took his dead body to a Cheyenne Mountain canyon, and the devil's horns are the only visible feature.[6]
  3. ^ The road was 7.5 miles (12.1 km) when it went from Cheyenne Lake at The Broadmoor resort to The Horns. The highway is now 6.7 miles (10.8 km), since the beginning portion of the highway was made into El Pomar Street and Penrose Boulevard.[10]
  4. ^ It had a restaurant, a suite for Penrose on the third floor, four guest rooms, and living quarters for servants.[13]
  5. ^ The lodge, which closed in 1961, is now the site of The Broadmoor's Cloud Camp lodge and cabins.[13]
  6. ^ The Gazette's 1950 article, "Cadillac president to pilot inaugural run of cog train, Broadmoor Mountaineer, to zoo", reported that the railroad opened in 1937,[21] but it did not open until June 1938.[22][23]


  1. ^ a b c d Lyons, Nancy R. (March 3, 1994). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Shrine of the Sun" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Retrieved September 27, 2012.
  2. ^ "Colorado Springs Index (C through Clovis Way)" (PDF). City of Colorado Springs. June 5, 2012. p. 13. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  3. ^ "Cheyenne Mountain Highway beginning (38.778661, -104.855053)". Google maps. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  4. ^ "Scenic Drives". Colorado Springs Visitors and Convention Bureau. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d Steven Saint (January 8, 2002). "The Springs' other mountain: There's a lot more to Cheyenne than NORAD". The Gazette. Colorado Springs. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  6. ^ Henry Russell Wray (July 31, 1904). "The Legends of Cheyenne Mountain" (PDF). The Gazette. Colorado Springs. pp. 13:1, 2, 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 5, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "City Planning Commission Agenda" (PDF). Cloud Camp Project. March 21, 2013. pp. 19–20. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  8. ^ "Cheyenne Mountain Zoo". Open Street Map. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  9. ^ Tim Blevins (1 January 2011). Enterprise & Innovation in the Pikes Peak Region. Pikes Peak Library District. p. 194. ISBN 978-1-56735-302-0.
  10. ^ "Directions: Cheyenne Lake to the top of the Cheyenne Mountain Highway". Google maps. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  11. ^ "New Road Built up Cheyenne Mountain". Schenectady Gazette. October 21, 1925. p. 14. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  12. ^ "Will build $350,000 motor road to summit of Cheyenne Mountain" (PDF). The Gazette. Colorado Springs, Colorado. July 16, 1924. pp. 1–4. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  13. ^ a b c Rich Laden (March 22, 2013). "Broadmoor Plans Rustic Retreat atop Cheyenne Mountain". The Gazette. Colorado Springs.[dead link]
  14. ^ a b Federal Writers' Project (1941). Colorado, a Guide to the Highest State. Best Books on Federal Writers' Project. p. 371. ISBN 978-1-62376-006-9.
  15. ^ a b Fodor's Travel Publications, Inc. (1 April 2008). "The Broadmoor and Cheyenne Canon". Colorado. Fodor's Travel Publications. pp. 402–403. ISBN 978-1-4000-1909-0.
  16. ^ Thomas Jacob Noel; John Fielder (2001). Colorado, 1870-2000, Revisited: The History Behind the Images. Big Earth Publishing. p. 88. ISBN 978-1-56579-389-7.
  17. ^ "From NORAD to Parks: A Tale of the Cheyenne Mountain Project" (PDF). Colorado Open Lands. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 1, 2015. Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  18. ^ "Timeline - History of The Broadmoor". The Gazette. Colorado Springs, CO. September 15, 2011. Archived from the original on September 5, 2012. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  19. ^ "Broadmoor Shooting Range Open". Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph. Colorado Springs, Colorado. April 4, 1975. p. 29. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  20. ^ "Rebuilding the Wonder Road" (PDF). The Gazette. Colorado Springs, Colorado. April 17, 1966. p. C 5:6. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  21. ^ a b c "Cadillac president to pilot inaugural run of cog train, Broadmoor Mountaineer, to zoo" (PDF). The Gazette. Colorado Springs, Colorado. May 24, 1950. p. 13. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  22. ^ a b "Child star rode to top of Peak, visited zoo" (PDF). The Gazette. Colorado Springs, Colorado. February 12, 2014. p. A 6:1. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  23. ^ Mary Stevens Humphreys (1990). "Cog Train To The Zoo (pamphlet)". Woodland Park, Colorado: Mountain Automation Corporation. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  24. ^ Glenn R. Scott, with Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Department (1999). "Historic Trail Map of the Denver 1° × 2° Quadrangle, Central Colorado" (PDF). Geologic Investigations Series I-2639 pamphlet. US Geological Survey, US Department of the Interior. p. 30. Retrieved February 1, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  25. ^ "Narrow gauge cog road runs to zoo, The Mountaineer" (PDF). The Gazette. Colorado Springs, Colorado. May 21, 1961. p. DD 4:9. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  26. ^ "Narrow Gauge Cog Road Runs to Zoo" (PDF). The Gazette. Colorado Springs, Colorado. May 21, 1961. p. DD4. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  27. ^ "Cog train, The Mountaineer, takes visitors to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo" (PDF). The Gazette. Colorado Springs, Colorado. May 23, 1965. p. CC 8:4. Retrieved February 4, 2015.

External links

External images
image icon Early view of Cheyenne Mountain Highway, Pikes Peak Library District
image icon Cheyenne Mountain Highway toll house (estimate by 1930), Denver Public Library
image icon View of Colorado Springs from Cheyenne Mountain Highway (estimate by 1928), Denver Public Library
image icon Aerial views of Cheyenne Mountain and Cheyenne Mountain Highway