The photo above is a portion of Cheyenne Mountain State Park looking west across the Limekiln Valley to Cheyenne Mountain. Prairie grasses transition to gamble oak and juniper, and pine forests on the slopes of the mountain.
by Volunteer Dick Standaert
Cheyenne Mountain is composed of Pikes Peak granite that was intruded as liquid about 3 miles below the surface one billion years ago. The area now covered by Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain has been uplifted and completely eroded, and buried below inland seas, many times throughout geological history.
The Limekiln Valley is named for the exposed limestone in the valley drainage that was processed in a kiln to produce lime for mortar and other uses during the early homesteading in the valley.
The Lyons sandstone hogback shown in the photo below Cheyenne Mountain is also called the Limekiln watergap because it funnels intermittent water flow into the valley.
The sandstones and limestones exposed east of the mountain were uplifted thousands of feet along the Ute Pass fault during the uplift of Cheyenne Mountain.
Granite boulders the size of stoves and VW Beatles seen on the Blackmer, Medicine Wheel, Boulder Run and Courgar’s Shadow trails, and east of the Visitor Center were transported from the base of Cheyenne Mountain by debris flows and landslides. The debris flows formed large elongate topographic features that are easily visible when looking toward Cheyenne Mountain.
The GoogleEarth image of the West side of CMSP is looking West and shows the base of Cheyenne Mountain at the top of the image and the Limekiln drainage oriented east to west in the center of the image. The Dakota sandstone hogback is shown as a tree less line oriented north and south on the left side of the tree filled drainage. The Talon trails are shown on the left side of the image.
The Limekiln water-gap and Lyons sandstone hogback is shown as a treeless line oriented north and south on the right side of the drainage.
The Ute Pass fault is not visible but is located between the granite at the base of the Cheyenne Mountain and the Dakota and Lyons outcrops. It extends north and south through the west side of the park and continues north through Ute Pass.