Hiking is a very popular pastime in the Pikes Peak Region. With literally hundreds of miles of trails to choose from, there’s something for every age and ability. From 12 foot “Tier 1” paved trails (mostly found in Colorado Springs) to 36 inches “Tier 3” dirt trails (open space and mountain trails), there are plenty to choose from and explore. Nearly all of our trails are “multi-use.” That means hikers can expect to see bicycles and even horses sharing the trail. Trail etiquette puts horses first, hikers second and bicyclists third. Please follow these rules. It’ll improve trail safety for all users.
Before You Get Started
Proper footwear is key to an enjoyable hike. Sandals and flip-flops can be dangerous in some of our open spaces where rattlesnakes are not uncommon. Tennis shoes, trail shoes or hiking boots are your best choice. Be sure to bring a fleece and/or raincoat as the weather changes rapidly in the mountains. Hiking Poles are helpful as our Pikes Peak granite tends to crumble. And finally, bring plenty of water. Our mountain air is dry and you're likely to consume more than you are use to.
Mt. Cutler Trail, North Cheyenne Canon Park
Location: N. Cheyenne Canon Rd, about .4 miles beyond Starsmore Visitor Center. Limited parking on left side of road near trailhead.
Why we like it: The elevation gain is <600’. It’s a steady climb but not too difficult. On top you are rewarded with great views of Colorado Springs and Bear Creek watershed. Volunteers and parks staff have shored up the trail as erosion is a constant challenge. Sturdy wooden bridges add to the aesthetics of the trail. Hike it early or on a weekday to secure parking. As you near the summit you have the option of taking the Mt Muscoco trail. This is a far more challenging trail and adds 3 miles to your hike. Make sure to bring plenty of water and wear sturdy shoes. Views from Muscoco are spectacular in all directions. Mt Muscoco is the highest point in the city’s parks’ system.
Contemplative Trail, Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Location: Highway 24 and Ridge Rd. Large parking lot with additional parking on the southeast side of the lot.
Why we like it: This trail has it all, lined on one side by dramatic rock formations, abundant shade, benches along the way and only foot travel allowed on the first stretch of trail. While not difficult, it’s not dull by any means. The trail starts on the west side of the parking lot/open space and meanders to the south before crossing the Sand Canyon Trail where you can loop back to the parking lot. Total length @ 2miles. On your way, stop and admire views of Garden of the Gods, Iron Mountain to your west and the Manitou Incline further to the west. If you are feeling frisky, add a couple of miles to your hike by taking Roundup trail heading south and returning on Red Rock Canyon trail.
Kids love Contemplative trail because there’s easy scrambling.
You’ll find it hard to believe you are just minutes from downtown Colorado Springs. Red Rock Canyon Open Space is a local favorite. It was almost sold to a developer who wanted to build town houses and a golf course. Residents supported a TOPS tax (Trails, Open Space and Parks) to purchase the property and keep it open space forever. Enjoy!
Dogs are welcome, but please keep them on a leash except in the designated off leash area just south of the trailhead.
Where to Go
Near Colorado Springs | 6 Miles | Moderate | 1,177 Ft. Gain St.Mary’s Falls is an intermediate hike in the Cheyenne Canyon Area. The trailhead is located just above Helen Hunt Falls at the intersection of High Drive and Gold Camp Road. For the first mile the trail follows Gold Camp Road making a 180 […]
This trail is short, less than 2.5 miles each way. It is popular with hikers and is mostly about 4' wide and smooth with a couple technical spots along the way. The middile portion is an easy ride, but the first and last half miles are steep and strenuous. You will alternate between open meadows and nicely forested singletrack with huge rock formations along the way.
This trail is CLOSED. The Waldo Canyon Trail was severely damaged by the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire and has since remained closed to the public due to safety concerns. In June 2018, the Rocky Mountain Field Institute began a planning process with the U.S. Forest Service and the Trails and Open Space Coalition to determine the future of the Waldo Canyon Trail and surrounding corridor. Tapis Associates was hired to help facilitate the 18-month public planning process, which will ultimately help determine future trail layout and design options, future trailhead locations and public access points, as well as dispersed camping opportunities. For more information, please visit www.rmfi.org or contact the Rocky Mountain Field Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org.