Whether you have lived in this area your entire life or just rolled into town, we’ve discovered that many people don’t know about, or haven’t taken time, to stroll down the amazing local hiking trails. We’d like to give you a few insights into some of our most popular Colorado Springs trail systems.
Depending on the trail you choose, your hike should be around 1 to 4 miles in length. The trail difficulties at Red Rock range from easy to moderate, so this open space is terrific for any hiker’s experience level. Once you arrive, you will find yourself wanting to stay for a couple of hours, at least. Hikers, dogs, horses, mountain bikes, and rock climbers (with permit) are welcome here, and Red Rock Canyon Open Space is an excellent site for the kids, as well. Between Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, with great views of the amazing Garden of the Gods, a National Natural Landmark, and views of the 300-foot sandstone rock formations banked by the snow-capped Pikes Peak, it’s hard to beat this hiking heaven. Get even more info here https://redrockcanyonopenspace.org/
Right in the center of Colorado Springs is the beautiful Palmer Park, named the Best Urban Park, in 2017, by Elevation Outdoors. With Pikes Peak and the foothills in the background, you can hike, bike, walk your dog, picnic, visit overlooks, horseback ride, and more. Once the home of a baseball field, the park now has your choice of trail skill levels, pavilions, native animals, and picnic tables. Palmer Park also offers up two baseball/softball fields; a football/soccer field; three volleyball courts; a community playground; horse stables, and several picnic grounds. The trail ratings at this site range from easy to moderate, making the 730 acres and 25 miles of trails unbeatable. Yes, Palmer Park is the pride of Colorado Springs.
This park is between the cities of Colorado Springs and Fountain. The 460-acre parkland includes a creekside trail, Willow Springs Ponds (actually two lakes, a playground, and a pavilion), the Fountain Creek Nature Center, and Hanson Nature Park. The Nature Center is where you and your family can discover more about the area. The center offers programs concerning natural history, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and the riparian ecosystem (wetlands adjacent to rivers and streams). You can even go fishing in Willow Springs Pond. South of the park is the 12-acre Duckwood Active Use Area, a 12-acre site that contains two multi-purpose fields, four picnic pavilions, restrooms, a basketball court, horseshoe pits, and a large playground. Whew!
This trail starts at the Manitou Visitor Center (Schryver Park) or the America the Beautiful Park in Colorado Springs, along with all major cross streets along the route. Midland Trail is five miles in length and is paved, making it accessible for the older generation or those with disabilities, if necessary. It’s a fabulous trail for taking pictures or videos of Midland and Pikes Peak. The scenery on the trail often includes all kinds of wildlife and trail access abounds. The Midland Trail is a great choice for some cycle exercise, too.
This much-used long trail cuts right through the center of town. Runners say this path is excellent for some easy-access jogging, plus it is simple to access from just about any point in Colorado Springs. The pathway offers 15 miles of trail that is adjacent to Monument Creek and the Fountain Creek. The trail is 6-feet wide and is made of asphalt, concrete, crushed stone, and dirt, in most cases, making it springy but firm. It also meanders through part of Monument Valley Park, near the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, the border of the campus of the US Air Force Academy. Pikes Peak Greenway also offers views of Colorado College, the city, several large city parks, and much more.
Pikes Peak Barr Trail is among the most difficult trails to maneuver in the Pikes Peak area. It is a 12+ mile hike up to the Pikes Peak Summit, making it a 7,800 feet altitude increase. The trail accommodates hikers and dogs and offers magnificent views of rock formations, forestry, not to mention the scenic views available once hikers reach the summit. The trail is packed dirt and rocks and is easy to follow. It will, so you’ll know, take the average hiker about 6-10 hours to get to the top. The trail is near Manitou Springs where a waterfall feature exists for extremely adventurous hikers. Makes sure you have sturdy footwear and plenty of water for this one. The area is, as one hiker put it, “insanely beautiful.”
The Paul Intemann Memorial Trail is relatively new and honors the Manitou Springs city planner. It is a portion of the Ring the Peak trail system. Adventurous hikers can walk the 5.8 miles that run from Iron Springs to Gold Camp Road. The trail winds around the ridgeline up to Iron Mountain with some switchbacks, making this an easy and fun trail to hike. Wildflowers abound in this area, along with wildlife. Intemann Trail is an excellent choice for bird watching, nature trips, fantastic views, and for taking the kids along. It’s sort of “has it all.” Get more info here. http://www.cospringstrails.com/hikes/intemann.html
Here we have one of the most popular trails in the area, although it is one of the most difficult, as well. The site originally housed the city’s cable car which took visitors up Rocky Mountain, but it closed in 1990. The city eliminated the rails, and wooden ties were placed to prevent erosion. From the bottom of this path, looking up, the trail appears to be an “endless stairway to heaven.” The law against climbing the incline was changed in 2013 (even though most climbers hiked the trail anyway), and repairs took place in 2014 and 2016. For those who start and then realize they can’t make it to the top, the Barr Trail passes by the Incline allowing an easier way to navigate to the bottom. Good to know because the locals call the incline “the holy grail of cardio.” There are more stairs on the incline than there are in the Empire State Building.
The Gulch is a pleasant place to hike in Pike National Forest. At five miles, the trail connects to a path that will take walkers to a meadow alongside the creek. Lovell Gulch offers fantastic views of Pikes Peak. Its difficulty level is moderate and the scenery, in general, is divine. Hikers will get a spectacular view of Pikes Peak and Ute Pass on this foot, bike, and horse trail. You can camp at undeveloped sites along the approximately five-mile trail in Pike National Forest. Campers will undoubtedly get that quiet rest they’ve been looking for so long. More Info
West of Highway 67, about halfway between Divide and Cripple Creek, several trails will take you near the huge granite Dome Rock. The trails will also guide hikers through canyons, rock outcrops, meadows, and a creek with beaver dams. Dome Rock Trail crosses the creek at several locations, so plan on getting a bit wet on this hike. Makes it all the more fun, right? The views from the Dome location include the Sequoia National Forest and Golden Trout Wilderness. This type of granite dome is a favorite for hikers because of the wide, exciting views offered by the dome’s open spaces. The rating is moderate, and the length is 4.6 miles one way. You won’t want to miss this one. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/dome-rock-trail
These are just ten more reasons Colorado Springs is one fabulous place to live. If you are craving to know more about this gorgeous part of the world, we’d be happy to help you discover Colorado Springs.