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    Red Rock Canyon Loop

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    8.7 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    269 m
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    Directions to Trailhead

    Red Rocks and mountain views? What more could you ask for? The Red Rock Canyon Loop is an epic hike through the vibrant hogbacks that jut from the landscape. This amazing adventure through the Open Space will leave you at a loss for words as you explore and admire the immense outcroppings layered with various colored sediments. Pleasing geological buffs and outdoor enthusiasts alike, this trek is a must-add to your Colorado Springs bucket list.

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    Route Description for Red Rock Canyon Loop

    Immerse yourself in the fragile alpine desert as you venture the Red Rocks Canyon Loop. This unassumingly beautiful circuit exhibits the rich ecological and industrial history of the area. Located just outside the boundary of Colorado Springs, this amazing attraction draws visitors from all over. With countless outdoor adventure possibilities and unparalleled scenery, you can expect to share the path will dozens of other like-minded explorers. For a more sequestered experience, consider an early morning excursion, or head out in the off-season. Note there are rattlesnakes in the area, so keep an eat and eye out for them. Additionally, this environment is fragile, so remain on the marked path and don’t climb on the rocks unless otherwise signposted.

    The Red Rock Canyon Loop narrates the area’s unique history. Make sure to take the time to learn more about the Canyon’s history and stop to read the interpretive signs. Littered with a network of trails, you could spend the whole day exploring the hogbacks and surrounding wilderness. Whether you want to hike, bike, run, or horseback ride, the Red Rocks Loop can provide. Consider packing a picnic and having lunch overlooking the Red Rock or the Rocky Mountains. With ample scenery to explore and plenty of overlooks, it is best to charge your camera before you head out on this excursion!

    Embark on your journey along the Red Rock Canyon Loop from the Red Rock Canyon Trailhead. Though this circuit hike can be completed in either direction, we prefer to track counterclockwise on this one. From the trailhead, veer right and hike west along the Sand Canyon Trail. Follow this path as it curves you south along a red rock cliff. Soon you will encounter an intersection. Here, take the Contemplative Trail along the west side of the Fountain Formation. Enjoy the sparse tree shade as you travel further south. At the next junction, merge onto the Roundup Trail briefly before confronting yet another intersection.

    At this point, take a sharp left onto the Mesa Trail—this path is uneven, so mind your footing! On your left will be the Fountain Formation, and on your right, the Lyons Red Sandstone. Continue hiking north and enjoy the sights of the red-hued geological features. Eventually, you will meet the Greenlee Trail, take a right, and this trail will divert you south. Passing the quarry and the Lyons Red Sandstone on your right, you will also be granted views of the Rockies in the west.

    Follow the Greenlee Trail, merging onto the Roundup Trail at the next intersection. Heading east along this route to the path’s end, you will be diverted north onto the Red Rock Canyon Trail. This segment of the trek will guide you through the valley between the Lyons Sandstone and the Dakota Ridge. Admire the corridor bounded by vibrant walls and notice the symmetry of the Lyons Sandstone where blocks were cut out of it in the 1800s. Follow this path all the way back to the trailhead, marking the end of your adventure.

    Trail Highlights

    Red Rock Canyon Open Space

    The Red Rock Canyon Open Space is an outdoor enthusiast’s oasis. There is no shortage of diverse ways to explore the Red Rocks with countless adventure opportunities, including hiking, mountain biking, trail running, horse riding, and even rock climbing. The history of the canyon dates back millions of years ago when alluvial deposits of the Rocky Mountains reached the boundary of Manitou Springs. After years of erosion, the upturned strata formed sandstone ridges called ‘hogbacks’.

    Since its formation, the Red Rock Canyon has played a more industrial role, being home to several quarries, gravel pits, mining operations, and landfills. It wasn’t until the late 20th century that the Canyon was transformed into an open space, safeguarding the area's industrial, natural, geological, and archeological history.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How long is the Red Rock Canyon Loop?

    The Red Rock Canyon Loop is an 8.7 km circuit trail.

    When is the Red Rock Canyon Open Space open?

    The Red Rock Canyon Open Space is open year-round from dusk until dawn.

    Is the Red Rock Canyon kid-friendly?

    Yes, the Red Rock Canyon Open Space is family-friendly.

    Insider Hints for Red Rock Canyon Loop

    • Head into Bristol Brewing Company after your trek for a delicious refreshment.
    • If you are feeling adventurous, why not schedule a rock-climbing excursion in the park?
    • Head out at dawn to beat the crowds!
    • Bring plenty of water when hiking in the summer months, the red rocks radiate heat.

    Getting to the Red Rock Canyon Loop Trailhead

    The Red Rock Canyon Loop departs from the Red Rock Canyon Trailhead in the Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly


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