Best Places to hike in Colorado Springs, Colorado
When you hear “Colorado Springs,” nothing else comes to mind but the majestic Rocky Mountains. It’s impossible not to call the city a stellar outdoor paradise! Hiking is one of the many outdoor activities you can do in Colorado Springs, and there are many trail options to choose from.
Hiking enthusiasts come to the city or drive to the nearby areas to explore various trails. The great thing about hiking in Colorado Springs is that you can find a trail for every level of expertise. With miles and miles of trails, deciding which route to take can be difficult. Let’s explore some of the best hiking trails in and near Colorado Springs:
Red Rock Rim
Length of Trail: 2.2 miles
Location: Highway 24. 3550 W High St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904 (Red Rock Canyon Open Space)
Phone: +1 719-385-5940
When you head over to the Red Rock Canyon Open Space, you’ll immediately have a handful of options for hiking. For an easy hike, you can take the Red Rock Rim trail. The trail is pretty short — only about two miles — but it’s a great way to see the beauty of Red Rock Canyon. The trail’s location is very friendly for beginners, and families can hike any time of the year! Dogs are welcome too — as long as you keep them leashed.
The best part about the Red Rock Rim (and any trail in Red Rock Canyon Open Space) is the spectacular, breathtaking view. It’s the perfect trail for beginners who need a friendly introduction to hiking. It’s challenging enough to be fun but not so challenging that it’s discouraging.
Cheyenne Mountain Short Loop
Length of Trail: 4.2 miles
Cost: $9 for a vehicle pass
Location: 410 JL Ranch Heights Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80926 (Cheyenne Mountain State Park)
Phone: +1 719-576-2016
Another location that’ll welcome you with many hiking options is the Cheyenne Mountain State Park. You can choose from the different easy and moderate trails, but the Cheyenne Mountain Short Loop is one of the most recommended trails for beginners in the area. The trail is around four miles loong, and it’ll take you a little under two hours to complete.
The Cheyenne Mountain Short Loop is also popular with bikers and dog-walkers since it’s not too difficult. You’ll get to see the gorgeous scenery of Cheyenne Mountain and the views of Colorado Springs from the top. Hiking this trail is a great way to spend a day with family or friends.
Length of Trail: 5 miles
Location: Montrose, CO 81403 (Uncompahgre National Forest)
Phone: +1 970-874-6600
Whenever you’re ready for a slightly rougher trail, check out the trails at the Uncompahgre National Forest. There, you’ll find one of their featured hiking trails popular among locals and visitors, the Bear Creek Trail. This trail is about five miles long, and you’ll need to be ready for a three-hour adventure!
The Bear Creek Trail is great for those who want to enjoy the forest. You can decide to camp to really enjoy the experience. The trail is also dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your pup along. Just remember to keep them leashed at all times. Moreover, prepare for fees for campgrounds and day-use areas from May to September. It’s best to ask first if you need passes and permits before you drive out.
Length of Trail: 1.5 miles
Location: 1805 N. 30th Street Colorado Springs, CO 80904 (Garden of the Gods)
The Garden of the Gods is a must-visit when you’re in Colorado Springs. It’s the number one park in the area for a reason! While you’re there, don’t miss out on the chance to hike the Buckskin Charlie trail. This 1.5-mile-loop is a great way to explore the rocks and cliffs that make the Garden of the Gods so striking.
The Buckskin Charlie trail is a moderate trail that will take less than an hour to finish. If you plan on taking breaks to take in the views, then it might take you longer — which is not a problem at all! It’s an excellent trail for those who want to see the best of the Garden of the Gods, especially the Central Garden formations. The rocky trails will definitely give you an unforgettable adventure.
Length of Trail: 1 mile
Location: Manitou Springs, CO 80829
Phone: (719) 685-5089
Don’t be fooled by the mile; the Manitou Incline is a strenuous hike that only experienced hikers should attempt. If you’re up for the challenge, then you should definitely give it a try! The Manitou Incline is a must-do when you’re in Colorado Springs. Even athletes use this trail to train.
The Manitou Incline is considered the most challenging trail at Manitou Springs. There’s a total of 2,744 stairs to climb! The trail gains around 2,000 feet in elevation. Once you make it to the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Colorado Springs. Keep in mind that the Manitou Incline is absolutely not for the faint of heart. If you’re ready to conquer it, go ahead and make your reservations!
Length of Trail: 3.4 miles
Location: 29950 Paint Mine Rd, Calhan, CO 80808 (Paint Mines Interpretive Park)
Phone: +1 719-520-7529
At El Paso County, you can visit the Paint Mines Interactive Park and hike the Paint Mines trail for a day of adventure. The Paint Mines are unique geological formations that are must-sees in Colorado Springs. You won’t get to see the same thing anywhere else!
The Paint Mines Trail takes about an hour and a half to complete, but you’ll be guaranteed an easy to moderate hike. Along the way, you’ll see colorful clay formations and canyons. The best time to go is from March to October. The trail will also give you great views of Pikes Peak, so don’t forget to bring your camera! However, unlike other easy hiking trails, you can’t bring your dog along on this one. Also, it’s best to schedule your hike in sunny seasons as the path can get muddy when it rains.
Length of Trail: 3.8 miles
Location: N Cheyenne Canyon Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Phone: +1 719-685-5089
As its name says, the Seven Bridges trail will take you through seven different bridges. But that’s not all! The hike also has terrific views of Cheyenne Mountain. You will get to see waterfalls and aspen groves along the way. Give yourself at least two hours if you want to fully enjoy this trail. It follows up along North Cheyenne Creek, and you have an option to push through another trail after the seventh bridge.
The Seven Bridges trail is considered to be moderate to difficult. The trail is mostly uphill, with an elevation gain of 1,046 feet. It’s an ideal trail for those who want more challenges and breathtaking sceneries. The Seven Bridges is especially popular during summer, so make sure to go early to avoid the crowds.
Helen Hunt Falls Loop
Length of Trail: 2.3 miles
Location: 2120 S Cheyenne Canyon Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Phone: +1 719-385-6086
If you get to divert from the Seven Bridges trail, you’ll find yourself hiking the Helen Hunt Falls loop instead. However, it’d be best to schedule a separate hike for this trail because it’s also unmissable! The best part is that you’ll get to see the Helen Hunt Falls — a 35-foot waterfall.
Hikers should be ready to take on this trail as it’s considered moderately challenging, with about 400 feet of elevation gain. It’ll take an hour and a half to finish the entire loop. If you want a more intense workout, you can always continue to the top of the falls. Don’t hesitate to take in the beauty of the waterfall and the stream!
Ute Valley Park Loop Trail
Length of Trail: 3.8 miles
Location: 1705 Vindicator Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80919 (Ute Valley Park)
Phone: +1 719-385-5940
April through October in Colorado Springs is the best time to hike the Ute Valley Park loop trail. From the top, you’ll see the fascinating city and the majestic Rocky Mountains. It’s a moderate trail that features a river, and it’ll take around two hours to finish.
The Ute Valley Park loop trail is not just famous for hiking. Tourists and locals also consider the trail excellent for mountain biking and bird-watching. You’ll also get a glimpse of Colorado Springs’s wildlife and archeological sites! This loop trail is one of those that requires some of your time and effort but will surely be rewarding in the end.
Length of Trail: 13.5 miles
Location: Manitou Springs, CO 80829
Phone: (719) 685-5089
If you thought the Manitou Incline was all the Manitou Springs have, you’re in for a treat. Hikers can also challenge themselves with the Barr Trail. It’s one of the longer trails on this list, but it’s also one of the most gratifying. The Barr Trail will take you all the way to the top of Pikes Peak!
The Barr trail has more than 7000 feet of elevation gain, so it’s no joke. Hikers should give themselves a whole day to complete the trail. The Barr Trail is difficult, but the views from the top are definitely worth it. You’ll see panoramic views of Colorado Springs, the plains, and even some neighboring states! Who wouldn’t want to say they reached the summit of one of America’s most famous mountains?
Colorado Springs Hiking Tips
Every hiking experience is different, but some general tips can help make your Colorado Springs hike more enjoyable. Keep these tips from the city, and you’ll be on your way to a great hike!
Prepare Before You Hike
Never hike without proper preparation. Check the weather, dress appropriately, bring snacks and water, tell someone where you’re going, and study the trail map. Hiking can be dangerous, so don’t think of it as a walk in the park!
Stay on Designated Trails
To avoid getting lost and minimize your environmental impact, always stay on designated trails. Hiking off-trail is not only dangerous, but it can also damage vegetation and wildlife habitats.
Clean up After Yourself
We all want to enjoy the outdoors, so do your part in keeping Colorado Springs beautiful. Hikers should always pack out what they pack in and leave no trace of their hike. This includes litter, food, and even dog waste.
Don’t Take What You See
You’ll find a lot of rocks, flowers, and other things while hiking, but remember that everything in nature is protected by law. That means taking home a souvenir from your hike is illegal and punishable by a fine. Appreciate what you see, but don’t take it with you! You can always keep a memory with your photos.
This general tip applies to all hiking trails worldwide. Hikers should never build a fire because the meadows, forests, and grasslands will be at risk. Wildfire is a major problem, so please do your part in preventing one.
You’re not only enjoying the scenery on your hike. You’re also in the animals’ home. Hikers should always give wildlife the space they need and never approach them. This is for your safety — and the animal’s safety, too!
Consider Other Hikers
We all want to have a great time on the trail, so be considerate of other hikers. Hikers should always yield to uphill hikers and keep their voices down. This will help everyone have a more enjoyable hiking experience.
Spring Into Hiking Action in Colorado Springs!
Hiking near Colorado Springs is a great way to exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and see incredible views. With so many trails to choose from, there’s something for everyone! Your visit to Colorado Springs will only be complete if you go on at least one hike. When you go back home, you can tell everyone about your incredible hiking adventure. Who knows? You might even inspire them to hike, too. See you in Colorado Springs, hiker!