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A Hiker’s Guide to Colorado Springs

A Hiker’s Guide to Colorado Springs

Traversing the wonderful mountainous region of Colorado Springs offers a hiking adventure of a lifetime. Here are the area’s best trails where you can test your skills.

The beautiful Colorado Springs has been inviting nature lovers and outdoors enthusiasts for centuries. Even today, the area is a beloved destination for hikers from all around the United States and the world. There are many natural wonders and excellent trails available throughout the year after all.

If you’re getting ready to visit Colorado Springs, hiking is likely the first thing on your mind. Here are some of the best trails in the area, from the more relaxed to the most challenging.

1. Preparing for Hiking

Before you take to the trails, you should make sure to bring along certain essential items. Good hiking shoes are a must, as well as appropriate clothes. Those visiting during the summer should nevertheless prepare a light jacket since it can get cold in the shade.

You will need a backpack to carry the additional clothes and, of course, water. Bear in mind that several trails offer no protection from the sun, so it would be prudent to pack a hat and some sunscreen for those particularly sensitive to sunlight.

Although some of the trails are relatively short, don’t forget to bring some snacks, have a good night’s rest, and start early in the morning. What’s most important is to keep your energy levels high – this will not only help you finish the hike but also avoid injuries.

2. Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon Open Space is an area full of relaxing hiking trails that provide amazing views and won’t be very difficult to traverse. You can walk, climb, and explore the environment all day long as you take in the fascinating sight of the Garden of the Gods lying below.

The trails are welcoming to hikers with pets, as well as bikers who love a challenging ride. However, Red Rock Canyon doesn’t only feature light trails – there are some moderate trails as well.

3. Pulpit and Ute Valley

Both Pulpit and Ute Valley are mild to moderate hiking loops, each offering a wonderful outdoor experience. 

You can come to the Pulpit Rock Park Loop with kids and pets and enjoy the incredible vistas below the Rockies. But the main attraction on this hiking loop is certainly the ridge at Pulpit Rock.

Ute Valley Park also features a hiking loop with longer and shorter options. You’ll come across various terrain and a river and choose between the ridge or the valley bottom. The trail’s highlighted by gorgeous wildflowers and cheerful birds chirping away as you move along.

4. Cheyenne Mountain

When it comes to Colorado Springs hiking, it’s hard to top the beauty seen on Cheyenne Mountain trails. The sight of the city and the expansive plains stretching towards the horizon is breathtaking, as is the lush surrounding nature. 

The trails have a total length of about 20 miles and you’ll encounter many resting points and campsites along the way. These will become especially useful as you progress up the mountain since the trails become more challenging. But the additional challenge is worth it for the scenery that gets more stunning with every step you make.

5. Helen Hunt Falls

In the area around Helen Hunt Falls lies a unique and impressive trail, highlighted by the waterfall with a charming small bridge above. The hike is scenic and exciting, going along an artificial trail that is relatively short. 

But don’t get too relaxed when traversing this path. It can become rather challenging, especially regarding its length, and the trail gets very steep at certain points. When you walk through its half a mile, you’ll end up at a point about 200 feet higher than where you started. 

Those arriving with kids will be better off taking photos by the waterfall and abstaining from hiking, as the trail isn’t particularly well-suited for children. But if you’re up for the challenge, getting through the 100 steps that lead to the trail’s end will prove extremely rewarding.

6. Bear Creek Canyon

If you’re the active type who revels in long trails with exciting sights and a promise of adventure, you can’t go wrong with visiting Bear Creek Canyon. Several options are available as the trail splits near Jones Park Meadow and each branch leading you to impressive landscapes. 

Along the way, you’ll pass by waterfalls and traverse bridges hidden within the greenery. Keep an eye out for some abandoned mining tunnels, too. The feeling of adventure and exploration is guaranteed. In fact, Bear Creek Canyon might be the ideal place for those with an active imagination.

It’s easy to set up a picnic or just take a rest at one of the picnic tables near the creek. And if you feel extra energized afterward, you might want to tackle a local peak like Mount Garfield.

7. Manitou Springs Incline

Manitou Springs Incline is often considered the ultimate challenge when it comes to Colorado Springs hiking. This trail is quite unique, as it follows the wooden remains of the cable car track that used to run the distance. 

The steep 40-degree incline is the main reason why many people consider conquering this trail an achievement. It really is a test of endurance, as you’ll find out if you decide to take it on.

While the Manitou Springs Incline doesn’t reach a mile in length and is relatively short, it’s a trail you should take seriously. 

8. Blodgett Peak

Presenting the most difficult path to traverse, Blodgett Peak is perhaps not as celebrated as Manitou Incline but it’s among the rare hiking trails that might require some special equipment. 

This trail has steep sections that are made even more challenging because of the gravel that goes loose under your steps. The conditions make the trail somewhat tiring and there’s even a real risk of injury. 

It should go without saying that if you accept the challenge, you shouldn’t bring pets or kids along.

Take to the Mountains

Colorado Springs hiking is a huge attraction of the region, and for good reason. The wonderful nature and excellent exercise are very appealing, presenting a great incentive to take on the challenges of the area. 

If you like hiking in nature, you’ll love Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs

Eight Things that Make Colorado Springs Worth Visiting

Eight Things that Make Colorado Springs Worth Visiting

Whether you’re looking for a nature getaway or want to explore the unique wonders of the area, you’ll find plenty of attractions in and around Colorado Springs. Here are just some of the most enticing ones.

Colorado Springs and its surrounding area are famous for the breathtaking natural environment and the wonders of mountains and canyons. However, there’s even more than the gorgeous nature to see here. 

From amazing sights for those in love with the mountains to airborne spectacles for ‘Top Gun’ fans, here are the eight things you should check out on your next visit to Colorado Springs. 

1. Garden of the Gods

Deserving of its name, the natural wonder that is the Garden of the Gods presents a staggering view of red rocks carved into colossal pillars. The rock formations came into being due to different forces of nature like geological activity and thousands of years of rainfall. 

You can get detailed information about the history of this landmark at the Visitor Center, either through displays or daily presentations. And if you want a guided tour or a vehicle to help you traverse the Garden, you can get those at the same spot. There are bikes, Segways, jeeps, and trolleys available. Academy Riding Stables even offers horse riding tours.

The Garden of the Gods is free to visit and there are no time limitations, which means you can plan the hike in the way that suits you the most. The rocks leave a different impression depending on the time of the day, so the park is worth revisiting multiple times.

2. Stargazers Theater

While the dome-shaped theater looks like a planetarium, it serves an altogether different purpose today. This intriguing building was built in 1969 and started out as a movie theater before becoming an event venue in 2008. 

Nowadays, you’ll find an event being held here throughout most of the week as various artists come here often to display their talent. The seats arranged in tiers and the domed ceiling ensure you can perfectly see and hear every show. However, if you get carried away by the music, there’s nothing stopping you from getting on the dance floor. 

After a satisfying concert, you can get a reasonably priced meal and some drinks at the venue to bring a great night to a perfect end.

3. Pikes Peak

Ever since the 1800s, people have been coming to this area for gold and staying for the stunning beauty. The Gold Rush may have died out but Pikes Peak remains enticing for visitors and attracts thousands of tourists today.

The scenic Pikes Peak Highway might not be for everyone, as it leads you up 8,000 feet of America’s Mountain. While the scare might eventually pay off once you experience the amazing view from the top, those afraid of heights might consider admiring the mountain from a distance.

You won’t find a gas station on the way up, that’s why essential considerations when starting the journey to Pikes Peak are fuel and general caution. And if you start feeling lightheaded along the way, be ready to make a stop to adjust to the altitude.

4. U.S. Air Force Academy

There’s plenty to explore and see at the United States Air Force Academy. Of course, the main attraction here is catching the planes passing overhead. 

But you don’t have to rely on sheer luck to marvel at the pilot’s skills. If you reserve tickets and visit the graduation ceremony that’s held in May, you’ll most likely witness a real spectacle.

To start exploring the academy, go to the Visitor Center for some introductory information and area maps. After that, you can proceed to the chapel, stadium, or the Honor Court. You can take the tour on foot or by car, although driving might distract you from seeing a passing plane. 

5. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Situated on the mountainside, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo perfectly fits in with the surrounding landscape. Naturally, it’s a must for families with kids as it presents an opportunity to hang out with various animals, including the visitors’ favorite giraffes, which you can feed.

Best of all, the zoo’s easily accessible for everyone. 

Spending time here is all but guaranteed to be among anyone’s list of most enjoyable experiences. No visit to Colorado Springs should go without checking out the zoo, as it’s a less intensive way to get some incredible views of the area.

6. Manitou Springs

Manitou Springs is a small town separated from Colorado Springs, although it’s less than six miles away. The place has successfully resisted becoming more urbanized, remaining an authentic town and even earning the title of a National Historic District. 

You’ll have a great time exploring Manitou Springs and walking down its nostalgia-filled streets. There are charming outdoor cafes where you can take a rest and soak up the atmosphere. And the various galleries and shops will keep you busy once you get back to touring the town.

7. Red Rock Canyon

The Red Rock Canyon sits right next to Colorado Springs, offering easy access to its trails where hikers and bikers alike can enjoy the crimson landscape. It served as a gold ore refining location in the 19th century before becoming exclusively-owned by a family in the 1900s. 

A century after, in 2003, the city purchased this land and adorned it with plentiful trails where visitors can take in the fresh air and marvel at the fascinating vistas.

8. Pioneers Museum

The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum houses photographs and exhibits that document the history and evolution of the city. While the museum isn’t vast by any stretch of the imagination, it offers a captivating journey through the ages – from the early days of Colorado Springs as a mining town to the now-famous tourist attractions.

Enjoy Your Visit to Colorado Springs

The charming, beautiful Colorado Springs area is more than worth the visit. For nature lovers, this comes as a given. But those interested in authentic local culture and history will also find plenty of things to see and learn. 

Always fresh and enticing, Colorado Springs will leave a lasting impression, inviting you to come back for more.

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