Hikes in Colorado Springs
There is no denying that Colorado Springs is an outdoor enthusiast’s haven. Nestled between the foothills of the Front Range and the Great Plains—the topographic contrast yields countless adventure opportunities. From hiking, biking, and horseback riding to climbing, white water rafting, and fishing, there is no shortage of epic experiences.
Enjoy the comforts of this active city, indulging in delicious gastronomy and sipping a cold beer after a long day of exploring the wilderness. Delivering both high energy and easy-going experiences, this region is ideal for eager explorers looking to condition themselves for a technical summit ascent in the Front Range or for those acclimatizing to the area’s altitude. With a myriad of adventures to choose from, there is an experience to satisfy every type of adventure traveler.
Famously distinguished by demanding vistas of America’s Mountain—Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs is also characterized by the Garden of the Gods, the Red Rock Canyon Park, the North Cheyenne Cañon Park, the Bear Creek Cañon Park, and Cheyenne Mountain State Park. Offering everything from enchanting forestland strolls to red rock scrambles, a visit to Colorado Springs is a must-add to your Colorado itinerary.
15 Awesome Hiking Routes in Colorado Springs
Whether you are seeking an arduous ascent or a relaxing forest walk, Colorado Springs offers a wide range of adventures! Wander through lush mixed pine forests, golden aspen groves, red rock canyons, or scale up waterfalls and craggy bluffs. With ample topographies to explore and scenery to admire, there are hiking routes suitable for all skill levels and ages. We took it upon ourselves to curate a list of the area’s 15 fantastic hikes that we think you may enjoy! Check it out:
- Manitou Incline Trail - The Manitou Incline Trail is an epic hike up the old Pikes Peak cable car route. The 2,768 steps up 600 m has proven to be one the most challenging ascent in the area. Demanding endurance, this popular hike up the Manitou Incline rewards conquerors with breathtaking vistas of the Front Range and the cityscape below.
- Rainbow Falls - Rainbow Falls is a family-friendly adventure to the west of the city. Bounded by looming orange-hued cliffs and a graffiti-decorated bridge, the scenery is unmatched. Short, sweet, and stunning, this walk is a wonderful weekend escape. Head out in the Spring when the cascades are bountiful.
- The Crags Trail - Explore the diversity of Colorado’s terrains as you venture The Crags Trail. This amazing hike travels through aspen glades, bristlecone pine forests, and up craggy granite bluffs. The Crags are a collection of unique outcroppings and spires that jut from the landscape, providing epic overlooks of the foothills.
- Paint Mines Trail - Travel to the plains and immerse yourself in the Paint Mines Trail. Suitable for hikers of all skill levels and ages, this trek can be enjoyed by the whole family. Adventure through the corridors etched into the plains which are geologically, archaeologically, and ecologically significant. This is a great day hike to escape the busyness of the city.
- Seven Bridges Trail - The Seven Bridges Trail is one of our favorite adventures. Hike through the North Cheyenne Canyon, traveling over seven charming log bridges above the running creek as you revel in the sighs of the bounding orange-hued cliffs.
- Helen Hunt Falls - Who doesn’t love a waterfall, right? The Helen Hunt Falls is a beautiful cascade surging over 30ft from North Cheyenne Creek. Explore the shores of the pool and have a picnic overlooking the mesmerizing cascades. Children and adults alike will be hypnotized by the waterfall and the looming bluffs from the bridge atop the falls.
- Pulpit Rock Trail - Conveniently located near the city’s center, the Pulpit Rock Trail is a great urban escape. Explore the luxuriant meadowlands decorated with unique spires, bluffs, and hoodoos. Easy-going and accessible, the park has a myriad of trails to trek, thus the hike can be easily customized to your liking. If you are feeling adventurous, climb up to the ridgeline for an awesome view of the city!
- Seven Falls to Inspiration Point - Seven Falls is the only cascade in the state to earn a spot on the National Geographic’s list of International Waterfalls. The Seven Falls to Inspiration Point might just be the most scenic adventure near Colorado Springs. Hike the ‘grandest mile of scenery” through the Pillars of Hercules and up 224 steps up to the top of the seven distinct cascades. Demanding stamina, the views from Inspiration point prove well worth the effort.
- Palmer Trail Section 16 - Immerse yourself in the wilderness and explore the diversity of the area’s flora and fauna along the Palmer Trail Section 16. Whether you are seeking a hike, bike, or trail run—this amazing route delivers. Travel through mixed pine forests, past red rock outcroppings and through wide creek canyons around this circuit.
- Garden of the Gods Loop - Exhibiting the best of what the Garden of the Gods has to offer, the loop trail is an epic family-friendly adventure. Explore the sandstone spires, hoodoos, and sculptures that adorn the landscape– there is no doubt as to why this site is a crowd favorite.
- Red Rock Canyon Loop - The corridors of the Red Rock Canyon prove to be fantastic hiking routes. Children and adults alike will enjoy the immense bluffs and outcroppings that line the paths. Rich with geological, and archeological significance, this park is well worth the detour!
- Mount Cutler Trail - Looming over the North Cheyenne Canyon, the Mount Cutler Trail is an awesome summit hike near Colorado Springs that reveals the stark contrast of Colorado’s topographies. From Front Range peaks, forested ravines, waterfalls to the Great Plains, the overlook at the peak delivers breathtaking views.
- Mount Muscoco Trail - Another great hike, the Mount Muscoco Trail sits next to Mount Cutler overlooking the Colorado wilderness. Though vertiginous in sections, this route can be ventured by intrepid children and novice explorers alike—just make sure to pack plenty of water!
- Columbine Trail - The Columbine Trail is an unassumingly picturesque adventure through the North Cheyenne Canyon. Bounded by red-hued cliffs, mixed pine forests and along a babbling creek, this trek will lull you into a state of relaxation. A popular trek near Colorado Springs, you will likely be in the company of several other outdoor enthusiasts also seeking tranquility.
- Stanley Canyon Trail - The Stanley Canyon Trail is an epic day-hike near the city. Located in the immediate west of the US Airforce Academy, this serrated canyon provides an up-close and personal view of the base on one side, and from the other– lush greenery, granite outcropping, and lively meadowlands.
When is the Best Time to Visit Colorado Springs?
The beauty of Colorado Springs is unparalleled. Boasting countless adventure travel possibilities, the charm of the area is that it can be explored year-round! Camping and hiking are popular activities all year, but the summer months are congested by tourists and locals alike enjoying the Colorado weather. Though often considered an annoyance, the busyness is a testament to the area’s beauty and plentiful adventure pursuits.
The shoulder seasons of spring and fall are less crowded, and in our opinion, arguably more scenic. The spring is lush and abundant with wildflowers, while autumn will see the rolling foothills cloaked by vibrant red and yellow foliage. The chilly weather will keep you cool while exploring the wilderness, not to mention accommodation rates are usually lower in the city! Winter expeditions in the area are more tranquil and secluded. The mild conditions warrant the perfect opportunity to get out into the fresh air, though it is important to note that some routes are subject to seasonal and sporadic closures in the winter months—including the road up to Pikes Peak.
Other Outdoor Activities in Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs is more than just a hiking destination. Though there are hundreds of amazing hiking routes to explore - over 603.5 km of trails to be exact - this area also offers a plethora of other outdoor activities. Whether you are an intrepid athlete or casual outdoor explorer, you will find an activity to satisfy your adventure craving.
The summertime warrants epic outdoor opportunities beyond hiking and camping. Though many head west out to the Front Range and Sawatch Mountains, there are plenty of opportunities near the city center. Mountain bike through the Bear Creek Cañon Park, white water raft down the Arkansas River, stand up paddleboard on the Rampart Reservoir, or rock climb in the Garden of the Gods– a good time awaits! The winters in Colorado Springs are mild, so many locals take advantage of cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, and skating. Just a step out your front door, adventure possibilities are boundless in the city.
Amazing Adventure Tours in Colorado
Sadly, we have yet to curate a Colorado Springs adventure package, but we are always working on adding new ones, so keep an eye out! Until then, check out our Colorado adventure tours or Rocky Mountain National Park hiking tour. If you are interested in planning a trip to the area and need some tips and tricks, feel free to reach out, we like to consider ourselves experts in the adventure travel realm!
Frequently Asked Questions About Colorado Springs
What is Colorado Springs known for?
Located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs is known for its unique rock formations in the Garden of the Gods and Red Rock Canyon Park. Additionally, America’s Mountain—Pikes Peak dominates the skyline in the west, offering countless adventure opportunities, attracting locals and tourists alike!
How far are the mountains from Colorado Springs?
The Rocky Mountains are as short as a 30-minute drive west from Colorado Springs.
Is Pikes Peak visible from Colorado Springs?
Yes, Pikes Peak dominates the western skyline. Visible from almost anywhere in Colorado Springs, it is hard to miss!
Is Colorado Springs a good hiking destination?
Yes, Colorado Springs is an epic hiking destination that has trails suitable for explorers of all skill levels and ages!
What is the hardest hike in Colorado Springs?
There is an obvious consensus that the Manitou Incline Trail is the hardest hike in Colorado Springs. This demanding trek will undoubtedly put your endurance to the test as you climb the vertiginous 603 m incline.
Check Out Other Epic Hiking Destination in Colorado
Best Hikes in Colorado Springs
Manitou Incline Trail
The Manitou Incline Trail is one of the most arduous, and most popular trails in Colorado. A state littered with impressive 14ers, the 2768 steps up 600 m of elevation prove to be one of the most technical and demanding hikes in the area. Reserved for intrepid and athletic adventurers, this trek is often ventured by Olympic athletes, firefighters, and military. Though realizable by the average joe, this amazing climb is not for the faint of heart.
Rainbow Falls exhibits a beautiful scene of Fountain Creek cascading over orange-hued rocks and the towering historic bridge decorated with vibrant graffiti. This short but sweet trail near Colorado Springs is a crowd favorite escape into the fresh air.
The Crags Trail
The Crags Trail is a stunning backcountry excursion near Divide, CO. Travel through dense pine woodlands, along the Fourmile Creek, past granite outcroppings, and up to bristlecone forests to the protruding granite columns nicknamed “The Crags”. This unique geological feature attracts adventurers of all sorts seeking a more up close and personal view of the rusty-colored pillars.
Paint Mines Trail
The Paint Mines Trail is a unique adventure near Colorado Springs that exhibits the natural beauty and diversity of the area. Located in the plains, these corridors etched into the landscape reveal historical, ecological, archeological, and geological significance, which can be traced back to the prehistoric and historic eras.
Seven Bridges Trail
The Seven Bridges Trail is an epic adventure through the North Cheyenne Creek Canyon lined with woodlands, rock outcroppings, and over seven wood bridges. This versatile fresh air escape can be enjoyed by the whole family, year-round. The next time you find yourself near Colorado Springs, this hike is well worth the detour.
Helen Hunt Falls
The Helen Hunt Falls is a beautiful cascade situated just west of Colorado Springs. Surging over 30ft from the North Cheyenne Creek, the waterfall is a short walk from the parking lot. Family-friendly and a great location for a picnic, this site is a popular day trip into the fresh air.
Pulpit Rock Trail
The Pulpit Rock Trail is an exciting adventure through the Austin Bluffs Open Space in Colorado Springs. One of the highest points in the city, the unique geological feature is in and of itself an epic view, but the vistas from the ridgeline are the cherry on top!
Seven Falls to Inspiration Point Trail
The Seven Falls to Inspiration Point Trail is an amazing adventure in North Cheyenne Cañon Park. This epic adventure warrants breathtaking panoramas of the Seven Falls, a 55 m set of seven cascades that surge between the towering cliffs of the South Cheyenne Canyon. This incredibly scenic hike is a must-add to your Colorado hiking itinerary.
Palmer Trail Section 16
The Palmer Trail Section 16 is an amazing circuit hike near Colorado Springs. This path travels through a wonderful wilderness escape through diverse topographies, including red rock outcroppings, mixed pine forestlands, brush meadows, and wide creek canyons. Whether you are seeking a quick mountain bike or a day-trek, this revered adventure through the Manitou Section 16 Open Space and Bear Creek Cañon Park will not disappoint.
Garden of the Gods Loop
There is no question as to why the Garden of the Gods attracts millions of visitors each year. This stunning landmark situated in the high alpine desert presents awe-inspiring scenery of sandstone spires, red rock slabs, and unique outcroppings that protrude from the grasslands. Exhibiting the diversity of the topography, flora, and fauna, the Garden of the Gods Loop is a truly breathtaking experience.
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