EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- You can add Old Stage Road, a winding, bumpy gravel road in the mountains above southwest Colorado Springs, to the list of local outdoor gathering places that have become more popular during the current pandemic.
But the situation has created problems, some people say -- such as increased trash, illegal campfires, heavier traffic, and target shooters who leave a mess and may be shooting illegally.
The steep road is located between the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and The Broadmoor Hotel. It goes around part of the upper edge of Seven Falls and ultimately connects to Gold Camp Road.
Visitors use the road as a recreation area and a shortcut to Cripple Creek in Teller County.
The increased traffic is an issue because the road is narrow and difficult to drive on in some stretches.
It's unclear whether El Paso County, or the U.S. Forest Service -- the road is within the Pike-San Isabel National Forest -- is responsible for maintaining the road. Both entities were unavailable for comment Monday.
However, Lt. Chris Gonzalez, of the county sheriff's office, said addressing the issues is challenging because the road is part of a large district that is patrolled by only one deputy.
"The road is in such a remote area that it can take our deputy an hour to respond to a service call there," he said. "And by the time the deputy gets there, no one is there and nothing is happening. Weak cellphone signal in the area also hurts our response because someone reporting an incident needs time to drive to where there's a stronger signal."
Gonzalez said he has pulled drivers over several times in his unmarked patrol vehicle when those drivers passed him while driving recklessly.
The hope is that the incoming colder weather and a reduced threat from the pandemic will reduce activity and lessen complaints about the road.
But some believe that with more people now aware of the road and its appeal, it will never be the same.