Williams Canyon

Near Manitou Springs     |     6 Miles     |     Challenging     |     6,468 Feet     |     Out and Back

This is a unique trail. You will begin by heading up what used to be the exit road from the Cave of the Winds at the top of the canyon. You will see No Trespassing signs, but if you’ve turned in your waiver at the Cave, you’re good to go. The road has long been shut down and can now be hiked or biked free of automobiles. The canyon is so narrow in places, you won’t believe it was once an auto route! Keep following the road. When it switchbacks left, go straight on to the singletrack. It’s about 3 miles until the trail exits up on Rampart Range Road. The grade is tough in places and much of the trail is jagged, jumbled rocks that will cause numerous dismounts. As a climb, it’s positively brutal. Even downhill, this will cause a number of hike-a-bikes. If you don’t want to do the out-and-back climb, you can access the trail from above two ways. One way is to ride up the Rampart Range Road and look for the singletrack on the left near the old shooting range. Get the Pikes Peak Atlas map by Robert Ormes and Robert Houdek for the approximate location of the trail. This map also shows where you can drop into Williams about halfway in from the Waldo Canyon loop. The canyon is spectacular and the adventurous will find this an attractive outing despite the difficulties involved. It’s a real backcountry adventure starting right on the edge of the city.