You might be able to imagine the experience of Colorado Springs hiking by learning the
that Colorado Springs itself is 1 mile above the sea level. Colorado Springs is the largest city in Colorado by area. You’d be surprised to know that Colorado Springs made it at #13 in the New York Times list of ‘52 Places to Go’. Apart from this, it has been in the top list of many categories.
You must be thinking, why Colorado Springs is so famous. One of the core reasons is its natural beauty. It is located near the base of Pikes Peak that is 14,115 feet above sea level. Now you can think of the magnificence of Colorado Springs hiking and the outdoor recreation spots it has to offer.
Not just tourists, but nearby dwellers are also attracted to this place for an exquisite weekend. The adventure enthusiast and hikers, experienced or not, visit Colorado Springs hiking spots for its many trails. Each trail here has something different to offer, and you have lots of options to choose from.
Don’t worry, here is a quick guide to the Colorado Springs hiking, which will help you to choose the spot of your liking according to the difficulty level you can pursue and the type of surroundings you’d prefer.
1) Garden of the Gods
Designated the National Natural Landmark in 1971, Garden of the Gods features beautiful deep-red, white, and pink sandstones. Here, you can explore the surrounding on your own or take a free guided walk. You will fall in love with the great views that snow-capped Pikes Peak would provide as a backdrop while you hike.
Among the Colorado Springs hiking trails, this is one of the best. Six hiking trails are ranging from ½ to 3 miles. The difficulty level is easy to moderate, being suitable for casual hikers.
There are loop trails and even Out-and-back trails. The elevation of the trails starts at 6200 ft. and gains up to 300 ft.
The Garden of the Gods trails in Colorado Springs are free of cost to the public and are accessible year-round between 5 AM to 9 PM. On the way, you’d find beautiful meadows, aspens, and you might come across whitetail deer, mule deer, bighorn sheep. Activities like biking, running, rock climbing, horseback riding are also permitted in some areas.
Apart from these adventure activities, you can learn about how the red rocks got there and how their formations keep changing. A New Geo-Trekker theatre is set-up for the purpose, which is shown every 20 minutes.
They also have a glass-enclosed cafe and a wide terrace that gives beautiful views of Pikes Peak. So, what are you waiting for? Add this spot to your adventure list.
2) Hiking in the Red Rock Canyon Open Space
There are many easy trails in the Red Rock Canyon Open Space. Above that, there are two off-leash dog trails also available. Other trails are easy to access for trail running, mountain biking, and hiking. You’d find gorgeous red rock formations and ruins of a red rock quarry on your way hiking.
These Colorado Springs hiking trails are very beginner-friendly at 1 to 3.3 miles. You’d have options of loop trail as well as Out and Back trails. The elevation starts at 6100 ft. and gains about 100 to 900 depending on the trail. You’d come across migratory birds and a pond area on your way.
Choose among these five hiking options:
- The dog loops of ½ to 1 mile
- The contemplative sand canyon loop of 1.75 miles
- The 2 miles of quarry loop featuring the old miner’s steps along the way
- Hogback Valley Lion Loop of 3.3 miles with spectacular views
- The 3 miles of Mesa-Greenlee Loop which takes you through the heart of Red Rock Canyon
3) Cheyenne Mountain State Park
This spot of Colorado Springs Hiking gives you options of more than hiking and biking. There are day-use picnicking sites, around 61 campsites, and an archery range. The hiking and biking trails are 28 miles where you can come across wildlife also.
There are easy to moderate trails available here and a few hard ones. Check out these trails and choose your hiking experience.
- The Zook Loop is an easy trail of 1.8 km. with an elevation gain of 39 meters.
- The Short Loop trail is an easy but heavily trafficked trail of 6.8 km. It gains an elevation of 148 meters, and you’re in for some beautiful wildflowers along the way.
- The 5.8 km. of Cougar’s Shadow and Blackmer Loop with moderate difficulty and moderate traffic, is mostly shaded and gains an elevation of 179 meters.
- Coyote Run to Sundance and Talon Trail is rated as a hard trail route of 14 km. You’d love this trail as it has tough yet fun climbs. The trail gains an elevation of 410 meters.
There are also other trails which you can choose from. The specialty of the Cheyenne Mountain State Park trails is its trail maps. They are marked very neatly along the way, and so you can have the utmost fun without the worry of getting lost.
4) Manitou Incline and Manitou Springs
Manitou Incline is one of the most popular Colorado Springs hiking trails. The base of this steep Incline is in Manitou Springs. This is an intense hike and is recommended for physically active and comfortable people with the elevation.
Though being just a one-mile hike, it is tough for its 2000 ft. elevation steep and has an uneven staircase. You must have certain hiking essentials to help you on the way.
The highest point of the elevation is 8590 ft. There is a tie-in at the top of the incline with Barr trail, which can be accessed for descending without going back down the steep incline. This point is referred to as a ‘bailout point.’
There are two other bailout points at step 395 and step 1300. With the help of these, you can get the satisfaction of climbing the incline and minimize the extreme difficulty that comes after the Barr Trail bailout.
5) Bear Creek Trail
A moderately difficult and heavily trafficked Bear Creek Trail is an out and back trail. This trail features a waterfall and so is famous among the Colorado Springs hiking trails. There are three routes to this trail, starting at a common trailhead.
- Loop Trail, which is easiest and just 15 minutes
- Mid Canyon Trail of 1.4 km.
- Canyon Rim Trail of 2.5 km.
There are stairs on the way to Canyon Rim Trail and lookout points. You must be aware of wildlife like rattlesnakes, coyotes, and bears. You’d come across tree frogs in the spring season. The trail also features steep terrain, waterfall, and footbridges.
6) Palmer Park Trail
The trail length here is 25 miles, and it gains various elevations along the way. You would be in the laps of nature with magnificent views of Pikes Peak and foothills. This is a very well-known and large city park area with ample hiking and biking trails, a dog park, overlooking spots, picnic areas, and much more.
Choose among these easy to moderate Colorado Springs hiking trails in Palmer Park.
- 3.9 km trail of Templeton, Mesa, Yucca loop. It gains an elevation of 119 meters and is friendly for kids and dogs. Dogs must be kept on a leash.
- Palmer Park’s outer loop trail is 11.9 km and moderately difficult. This trail is best used from march to November. The trail gains an elevation of 259 meters and is horse and dog friendly.
- The heavily trafficked and moderate Templeton trail of 6.3 km that gains an elevation of 160 m. Here, you can go for mountain biking, bird watching, wildlife, horseback riding and is kid-friendly.
- You can breathe in the views of wildflowers and forest in the easy Edna Mae Bennet Nature Trail that is of 3.7 km. It gains an elevation of just 92 meters and is great for a short hike.
7) Woodland Park
Woodland Park features some great trails to add to the adventure of Colorado Springs hiking. You can choose among these trails and enrich your experience.
The Limber Pine Trail
This is a short and easy hike of 0.7 miles that gains an elevation of 243 ft. A part of the trail runs along the North Catamount Reservoir hence, giving the best views. You’d find many recreation opportunities on the water along this trail.
Lovell Gulch Trail
This is a loop trail that spans for 5 miles and features some steep inclines. It is the best route from May until October. In the months of winter, you must be ready to hike through snow and ice on the way. There are many aspen trees, and thus is a gorgeous fall hike route.
This is an out and back trail of 4.5 miles that features lovely wildflowers in spring. There’s an elevation gain of 480 feet, and is easy for kids and beginners.
There are other trails of short and long distances around the Woodland Park area that connect with each other. You can look through the maps and connect two trail routes, and have your own experience.
8) Pike National Forest
In the area surrounding Pike National Forest, you’d come across more of moderate and hard Colorado Springs hiking trails. If you’re an adventure seeker, you can select from these trails that are around the Pike National Forest area.
- The Decalibron is rated as a difficult one and is 12.7 km. The trail is mainly used for snowboarding and hiking, and it gains an elevation of 1050 meters. This is a challenging route in summer and fall.
- Catamount Falls out and back Trail is of 9.3 km, having an elevation gain of 502 meters. This is a very beautiful, kid-to-dog-friendly trail and features forests, a lake, a waterfall, and snow during the winter season.
- Chessman Canyon trail of 8.5 km with an elevation of 145 meters is an overgrown forest trail that features a river. You can stop here for fishing or gorgeous views. The path gets steep on the mountainside, and so is a moderately difficult trail.
9) Rainbow Falls Hike
The name quickly catches attention, and so is this trail route in Colorado Springs hiking. This is a short and easy walk that features a historical bridge and waterfall. It is 0.2 miles of round trip and takes less than an hour. The elevation starts at 6480 ft. and gains approximately 40 ft.
This trail route is accessible year-round but is best in the spring season. Dogs are allowed here on a leash. The best part of the trail is the waterfall and creek and is most suitable for exquisite photography and hiking.
On the way, you’d come across orange and golden rock faces around the creek. The bridge on the way was built in 1934 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
10) Mt. Evans Summit Hike
Hiking through Mt. Evans, that is Colorado’s Front Range Fourteeners, you must know where to stop and stare. It is a ¼ mile hike and is easy, but you must consider the altitude.
It is open during early summer and through fall. You would witness the beauty of lakes, mountain peaks, tundra, wildlife, and the best panoramic views.
You can picnic on the way or stop for wildlife viewings like mountain goats, marmots, bighorn sheep, and others. This is a perfect spot to come with friends and family. The peak is at 14,265 feet. The spots that you should stop at are,
- Echo Lake, which should be arrived at in the morning as the water is like glass and the surrounding is very serene.
- There is a Dos Chappell Nature Center at Mt. Goliath. Here you must stop for breathing in the beauty and scents of wildflowers and take in the views.
- The Summit Lake views are breathtaking, and you might be lucky to come across Mountain Goats and Bighorn Sheep here.
It is advised to start early if you wish to bag the best of this Colorado Springs Hiking route. Take into consideration the altitude before going on the way as it might affect your health.
Colorado Springs hiking and recreational activities are sought by many. It has many waterfall routes and hikes, trails featuring streams and lakes, pet’s and kid’s friendly hikes. In short, there is something for all, and each hike area serves an exceptional adventure experience.
Have you visited any of these trails? Share your experience in the comment box with us.