Cheyenne Mountain State Park Archery Range Hits Bullseye
When Mitch Martin, manager at Cheyenne Mountain State Park, invited me to attend and photograph the grand opening of his park’s new archery range, I have to admit, I really didn’t know what to expect. The term “outdoor range” immediately evoked memories of summer camp back in middle school, which consisted of lobbing arrows at hay bales and flimsy, easel-mounted targets that toppled over in the slightest gust of wind.
What I discovered, however, is a modern, first-class shooting facility. Quite simply, Cheyenne Mountain’s archery range can be summed up in one word: awesome.
Nestled in the foothills southwest of Colorado Springs, Cheyenne Mountain’s archery range is located just south of the park’s main entrance along Colorado Highway 115 and Pine Oaks Road. The range, which first opened to the public last summer, celebrated its official grand opening April 5, 2014. The formal, ribbon-cutting ceremony attracted families and sportsmen alike, all eager to test their skills at the new facility.
“I am very excited to provide this recreational opportunity to the Pikes Peak Region, said Martin. “This range, which was a huge collaborative effort among a variety of different agencies and organizations, really offers something for everyone.”
Experienced archers will appreciate the competition-style shooting lanes with targets ranging from 10 to 80 yards. As an added benefit, all 10 lanes are covered, sheltering shooters from inclement weather or the summer sun.
For those just starting out, a separate range is designated for novices. Intended for archers of all ages, the novice range features 20-yard targets and is limited to bows with a maximum draw weight of 35 pounds. And if those weren’t enough reasons to make the trip to Colorado Springs, there’s the phenomenal 3-D target course.
Consisting of high-quality, Rhinehart animal targets, the 3-D course features shooting stations along a well-groomed and scenic hiking trail. Lifelike moose, bear, deer and elk lurk among the trees, providing scenarios and shooting angles/distances similar to what bowhunters might experience on a genuine big-game hunt. Additionally, archers will find a few gobblers roaming the backwoods, offering a perfect tune-up for Colorado’s turkey season. The hilly, mile-long course is also great way to burn a few calories while honing one’s shooting skills.
Thanks to “The Hunger Games” films and book series, archery’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. To support growing demand, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) expanded its shooting-range operations, opening public archery ranges at Cheyenne Mountain and Barr Lake state parks.
“I believe that this is an example of a perfect fit for our merged agency,” said Martin. “It provides both a recreational opportunity on a state park property that can include the entire family, while assisting the wildlife side of our agency with recruitment and retention of hunters.”
To help maintain the range, users are required to purchase a valid parks pass to use the standard target ranges. Visitors wishing to take aim at the field and 3-D targets must purchase an additional archery range permit. Permits may be purchased for the day or as annual passes. Day permits are $3, and may be purchased at the park visitor center or through the self-service kiosk located at the range parking lots. Annual permits are $30 and are available at the visitor center.