Colorado Springs Hiking Trails - Moderate
Section 16 is a 6-mile loop trail that winds through the foothills, up into the mountains, and ultimately ends (if youre going counter-clockwise) with a peaceful stroll along a mountain creek.
This trail offers fantastic views of Colorado Springs and Garden of the Gods in its first mile, and later, stunning views of the dense forest and foothills.
Section 16 trail offers beautiful views of the foothills
This is another one of our mainstay trails. Great exercise, lots of beauty.
The trail starts on a moderate/difficult note as there is a quick elevation gain, and again a mile or so later as you hike up several switchbacks to reach the high point of the trail. It can get windy up there!
The next 4 miles are easier on the lungs, as you make a gradual descent.
Some treasures on this trail: birds eye views, giant slabs of stone, a log bridge that crosses a mountain stream, and towering rock formations as you follow the creek back to the trailhead.
***INSIDER TIP: When you finally reach the dirt road towards the end of the trail, turn LEFT, and follow it another mile past the gate. Stay left when you reach the paved road to get back to the trailhead/parking lot. ***
Time: 2-3 hours
Directions: Hwy 24 west, turn left (south) onto 21st Street. Turn right on Gold Camp Road, and straight through the 4-way stop. The trailhead is ahead on the right. Watch out for mule deer! They like this road too. :)
Highly recommended to us when we first moved here, The Crags is one of the local classics that just happens to be closer to Divide, Colorado, less than 30 minutes away. Its worth the short drive.
We love this trail, its serene and invigorating at the same time.
The Crags trail
From the trailhead, follow the well-traveled path along Four-mile Creek. You will pass pine trees, grassy fields, massive boulders and finally youll reach a steep grade that takes you up to the rocky top. Views for miles and miles!
This is a great hike for everyone. Kids and dogs love this trail.
Time: 2 hours
Directions: From Colorado Springs, take Hwy 24 west 25 miles to Divide. Go south (left) on Hwy 67 for 4 miles. Watch for Crags Campground sign on your left. Turn left at sign, follow dirt road to Crags Campground. Turn left into campground to the parking lot/trailhead.
THE PUNCH BOWLS
One of the coolest (literally) of the Colorado Springs hiking trails, and one of the best-kept secrets. This is a unique 2-mile hike near Glen Eyrie that meanders through a steep canyon, gains 400 feet of vertical, and ends up at the punch bowls-- five granite bowls filled with mountain water. Excellent hike for a hot summer day. Jump into the bowls and go for a swim.
The first half of this trail is actually quite easy, and unique in that most of it is on a wood-plank walkway through the steep rock walls of Queens Canyon.
The walkway into Queens Canyon on the Punch Bowls trail
It enters moderate territory as you leave the walkway past the dam, where you will cross the creek 20 or 30 times, negotiating your footing on rocks or strategically-placed logs.
The difficult part comes towards the end, when you need to spiderman up the creek past rock walls and find your way up and down large boulders. The beautiful Dawson Falls is your reward for this feat.
A final challenge remains as you make your way up the steepest part of the trail to the punch bowls themselves, where you can take a dip in the cool mountain waters.
This is a really fun hike for experienced hikers: lots of unique terrain, a variety of challenges, and some photographic treasures.
*** BEFORE YOU GO: This trail is right next to Glen Eyrie, which is owned by The Navigators, a Christian missionary organization. They welcome hikers to use the trails, but due to the trail's popularity now have an online reservation system for those who are not guests of Glen Eyrie.
Time: 2-3 hours
Directions: From I-25 to Garden of the Gods exit, head west for 2 miles to 30th Street. Turn left and drive a half-mile to the Navigators entrance on the right. Stop at the guard booth to register.
Update: As of Summer 2012,
Waldo Canyon is CLOSED due to fire *****************************************
A great all-around trail that gets you up in the mountains, with awesome views of Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Pikes Peak, and Waldo Canyon. A real winner. Family friendly. Pet-friendly. One of the most popular Colorado Springs hiking trails.
This is a 6.5-mile lollipop trail--the first 1.5 miles (the stick) leads to the 3.5mile loop (the lollipop).
Right from the get-go you'll hike up a couple sets of stairs that lead to a quick bird's-eye view of the Ute Pass (Hwy 24) and the foothills. You will probably have to catch your breath after this, but it's worth it.
From there, you'll walk along the edge of the foothills, winding your way back into the canyon, and through some wooded areas to the loop split.
If you go clockwise, you'll meander along a cool creek where it almost feels like the Pacific Northwest.
Then it's up some switchbacks as you get to the halfway point where huge boulders and sweeping views make for wonderful photograph opportunities.
Expect amazing views from a Waldo Canyon hike
Back down the other side you'll hike over some rocky terrain, then make your way back through the hills where you can see the canyon and the city.
You might also see F-14's flying overhead from one of the Air Force bases.
Time: 3-4 hours if you're enjoying a casual hike. 1-2 hours if you're trail running.
Directions: From Colorado Springs, drive west up the Ute Pass/Hwy 24, two miles past the Cave of the Winds sign. The parking lot will appear suddenly on the right with Smoky the Bear presiding. In the summer, plan ahead, the lot is often full.
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