Colorado Springs is famed for its natural beauty. It’s closer to the mountains and has interesting natural features like the Cave of the Winds. All year round, you as a hiker can enjoy its many trails.
We’ll tell you about the hike’s difficulty, distance in miles, elevation gain, highlights, and how to get to the trailhead for each Colorado Springs hike.
The hikes are for everyone, from relaxing strolls under towering rock formations to strenuous treks, so feel free to take your pick!
Are These Hikes In Colorado Springs Safe?
Overall, hikes in Colorado Springs are very safe, provided you exercise caution. However, there are inherent hazards that you must be aware of before you hike.
Also, be cautious of the elevation. Take it gently and inhale with depth if you haven’t adapted to the thinner air at higher elevations. Some of these hikes are insanely high.
The Best Hikes in Colorado Springs
Here are the top hikes in Colorado Springs right now!
15. Midland Trail
The Midland Trail is a beautiful level stroll along the historic Midland Railroad. Though named a bike path, it is ideal for trekking as well. Some railroad remnants and great views of the west peaks await you. It’s a stunning desert landscape, and hiking with kids is also possible.
You can hike the Midland Trail for many miles if desired. Or travel the 5-mile circle #1450A to 376A and back to CR304.
The road splits nearly immediately, stay right heading up. The road continues to climb in elevation for 1.1 miles to a sign that says “Big Sandy Way.” On your right is the Midland Trail. The Midland Trail and Fourmile Area are both accessible from here.
There are no amenities at the trailhead or along the way.
14. Manitou Incline
The Manitou Incline rises over 2,000 feet in a mile. It is the country’s most distinctive and most challenging trail, drawing runners, soldiers, Olympic competitors, and hikers from all around. It is considered an intense trail and is a difficult hike. Although challenging for the faint of heart, it has been overcome by persons from all walks of life.
The trek is strenuous and only for experienced hikers. The Manitou Incline is not ADA accessible. If you have a medical emergency on the route, be aware that it may take 3-4 hours for help to arrive.
You’ll reach the top after a 2,000-foot trek. It then links to Barr Trail for a 3-mile steep yet spectacular descent.
13. The Paint Mines Trail
About 1 hour and 30 minutes south of Denver and 45 minutes east of Colorado Springs, the Paint Mines route offers hikers an easy 3.7-mile circle through badlands terrain of gorgeous rainbow sandstone and hoodoo rocks.
Despite its remote location in the Colorado plains, the park is well-known and weekends can be crowded. Around 40 cars can park at Paint Mines. Also, the trailhead parking lot has restrooms, but you won’t want to miss this one as The Paint Mines are considered one of the best hikes in Colorado Springs.
Paint Mines Route is a regularly used circular trail that boasts magnificent wildflowers. The park’s varied natural system draws coyotes, mule deer, horned toads, songbirds, falcons, rabbits, and hawks.
12. Seven Bridges
The trailhead is 0.7 miles from the Upper Gold Camp parking lot on the right side of the Gold Camp Road. This popular 3.7-mile trail has seven bridges along the way. There is minimal shade at first, but you will get into some shaded sections along the way. If you plan to hike in the summer, you should go early to avoid the heat and congestion.
As you make your way through the valley on unpaved and Lannon stone trails, Lannon stone stairs, and many footbridges, you’ll find the wonders of nature that will amaze you.
Nature has a field of spring wildflowers, the sounds of migrating birds, beautiful autumn color, and the pleasant sound of water trickling in a creek. If you choose to hike the Seven Bridges you’ll find yourself passing by giant trees, native beeches, plenty of streams, quiet regions, and experience everything you might want while hiking in Colorado Springs.
11. Catamount Trail
The Catamount Trail is a quick 3-mile loop less than a half-hour outside of Colorado Springs, CO. You’ll find at least 3 waterfalls and several creeks along the way.
If you choose to hike the Catamount Trail, prepare for at least 1-2 hours as this hike starts at an elevation of over 7700 ft. Hikers and pets can enjoy this moderately challenging trail, and be sure to explore the beautiful Gazebo Lake near the trailhead.
With several segments to this hike, you’ll stumble upon the Thomas Trail full of colorful wildflowers in the spring and summer that you can also visit. Begin near Green Mountain Falls, west of Colorado Springs, and conclude at South Catamount Reservoir, on Pikes Peak’s north side, to get here. Two viewpoints provide marvelous views of the valley below.
There are lots of picnic tables and facilities near South Catamount Reservoir, however, there is no parking available at the trailhead.
10. Mt. Herman Trail
Mt. Herman is located between Denver and Colorado Springs in the Rampart Range in the Front Range. It overlooks the Palmer Divide, a 7,000-foot hill that functions as a storm barrier across Denver and Colorado Springs. On a clear day, the summit offers views of Pikes Peak to the south, Longs Peak to the north, and the Colorado Springs and Denver skylines.
The most straightforward route is a Class 1 trail from Mt. Herman Road. It is a 2-mile round trip track with a 1,000-foot elevation gain. On a good weekend, the peak gets a few visitors.
You can hike the trail all year except for excessive snowfall. Mountain Herman Road may be obstructed in the winter, making the trip longer. Waterproof shoes may be more comfortable on some trails in the winter and spring season.
9. Tunnel Drive
Canon City includes a unique route for family, animal observation, and enjoying the Royal Gorge landscape. Tunnel Drive, a 2-mile level walk down an abandoned railroad track, gives a birds-ey perspective of the Arkansas River, breathtaking canyon, and other spectacular sceneries.
There are three granite-blasted tunnels on this crushed gravel route downstream of the Royal Gorge. To describe the trail’s flawless surface, the rock around it is 1.7 billion years old, with pink and white granite ribbons running through it.
Tunnel Drive offers a glimpse of Royal Gorge without the crowd. Turn south off Highway 50 into Tunnel Road near the power station on Cañon City’s western side to get into the road. Then continue straight for approximately a half-mile until you reach a yellow gate marking the start of the trail.
The trail begins with a 5-minute hard paved uphill, but after this, you will have a smooth walk from here. Make sure to take a photo of the two small tunnels located at the start of the trail; they are stunning to witness!
One last quick note about the terrain, Tunnel Drive has compacted soil and several wooden bridges so that any stroller can go around it. Make sure to bring your whole family.
8. Mt. Cutler
Mt. Cutler in Colorado Springs is a 1-mile trek to the top of a foothill mountain that overlooks Seven Falls and the Cheyenne Canyon system due to its short distance and little elevation gain.
The Mt. Culter route starts at the blue trailhead sign and ascends gently through pine forests. The trail eventually opens up to a flat region where red rock formations are thrust into a bland environment.
Like Red Rocks Canyon near Colorado Springs, these orange-red granite fins are remnants of a 14,000-foot-deep structure that stretches nearly the entire border of Colorado.
The last stretch to Mt. Cutler boasts picturesque scenery to the south and north. From Mt. Cutler’s summit, head north for views of the foothills and canyon and south for glimpses of the Colorado plains.
To return, retrace your steps down the same route you came up with.
7. Aspen Trail
The Aspen Trail in Mueller State Park is a 2.5-mile looping route that links to the School Pond trail for a 3-mile round trip. This track is famous in the autumn because of the vibrant aspen forests. It has a partial shade but is generally exposed.
School Pond trailhead parking is on your left as you enter the park. It’s ideal for hiking in the summer or autumn when the trails aren’t muddy or snowy. An all-terrain stroller might handle some of the steeper inclines.
You can typically trek left to a vast aspen grove for a food stop. There are also restrooms available for use in the tourist center.
The trail is not ADA compliant, and pets are not permitted.
6. The Crags Trail
The Crags Trail leads hikers to the stunning granite pinnacles on Pikes Peak’s shoulders for vistas of snowcapped summits. The Crags, a family-friendly 5-mile trek along a stream, showcases June wildflowers in alpine meadows.
Drive I25 and HWY 24 to the Crags from Denver, or take 67 via the foothills for a scenic trip.
The Craigs will be your favorite trek while hiking in Colorado Springs Pikes Peak Region since it is simple, diverse in terrain, and provides excellent views. It begins at the Crags Campground loop and follows Fourmile Creek’s drainage. The left-side branch is more complicated, has a more significant elevation increase, and has less shade.
The right branch is more gradual and gives more shade than the left. You can scramble the left and right components together to make a looping path. Scrambling is entertaining, but it may also put you in risky situations. Snow and ice may gather from October to June on this road, so proceed carefully if you choose to hike this one in the winter.
A broad valley encircled by orange and pink granite cliffs awaits those who take the right branch of the Fourmile Creek Trail. During the summer, these meadows blossom with wildflowers, including Indian Paintbrush. Indian Paintbrush has orange, red, and even yellow varieties in Colorado.
5. Intemann Trail
Intemann Trail is a famous 5-mile track for hikers and mountain bikers. It links Manitou Springs to Section 16, Bear Creek Regional Park, and Colorado Springs trails.
It offers views of Garden of the Gods, Manitou Springs, and Red Rock Open Space.
The Intemann Trail now passes through the newly constructed Iron Mountain Open Space. So the Manitou Springs trails and the western Colorado Springs trails are officially connected!
From the Palmer or Section 16 trailhead in Colorado Springs, go west for about a mile until you reach the Intemann Trail. The pathway takes across meadows to rolling woodlands.
Continue down the route to Crystal Park Road, where a quiet stream awaits you to relax and enjoy the sound of rushing water.
Cross Crystal Park Road and the route rise sharply on the opposite side. Following an ancient dirt road around Iron Mountain, it rejoins an easy trail outside the south of Manitou Springs.
4. Fountain Creek Regional Trail
Fountain Creek Regional Trail connects Pikes Peak Greenway Trail and Fountain Creek Regional Park for almost 11-miles of scenic hiking. The path itself attracts bicyclists, hikers, joggers, and casual walkers as the majority of the trek is smooth & flat.
The route runs from El Pomar Youth Sports Complex to Fountain Creek Regional Area – a 460-acre wetlands park with vistas of undulating meadows and Pikes Peak.
Willow Springs Ponds and Duckwood Athletic Fields trailheads are located at 2010 Duckwood Road in Fountain. The neighborhood has been prone to flood due to its closeness to wetlands. So don’t forget to check the weather forecast before hiking out into nature.
3. Austin Bluffs Open Space
Austin Bluffs Open Space is one of Colorado Springs’ most unusual and underused parks. It has a complex geological history and beautiful scenery. It is not too crowded, and the breathtaking views will make this one of your favorite hikes in the Springs.
The Open Space has a small lake, geological structures, various multi-use trails, and native wildflowers. In addition to University Park Open Space, Austin Bluffs Park is a 584-acre property containing Pulpit Rock Park.
Many routes go to the summit of Pulpit Rock, with amazing views of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains.
There are four primary multi-use trails you have here for hiking, jogging, biking, and exploring. We recommend them all, however, these few are our favorites:
Pulpit Rock Peak Loop
The first trail is the 2.4-mile Pulpit Rock Peak Loop, a moderately strenuous trek. The trailhead starts at the Pulpit Rock Parking lot on North Nevada Avenue and proceeds south in a giant circle.
At 6,621 feet, Pulpit Rock offers spectacular views of Pikes Peak and the surrounding city!
The trail is best when you visit it between April and September for fantastic weather and stunning views.
Pulpit Rock Via Wittenberg
The 2.8-mile out-and-back Pulpit Rock through the Wittenberg route is another local favorite.
The trail is somewhat challenging in places. It begins in a community near Wittenberg Court and finishes in Pulpit Rock (see above).
Then it’s a straightforward route pack back to the trailhead. Parking is free in the neighborhood and nearby areas.
No markers on the trail, so use the trail map for directions.
This route can be rugged and challenging in sections, mainly for a snowy or muddy trek.
Angry Squirrel and South Hill Loop
The Angry Squirrel and South Hill Loop are both beautiful trails! This 2.6-mile route is situated in the Open Space’s southeast corner.
It offers an entirely different perspective on the city and mountains than the previous two trails.
Stop at Rocky Overlook for photographs and panoramic views of the west highlands.
In the nearby neighborhood, parking might be difficult due to restricted space. However, the roundabout between Rockhurst Blvd and Whistler Point has plenty of free parking spaces.
It is best to visit it from May through October and is excellent for all ages.
Austin Bluffs Main and Pulpit Ridge Trail
The Austin Bluffs Main and Pulpit Ridge Path is the last hiking trail in this park.
A lake and stunning vistas await you on this little-known trail. It spans from the Austin Bluffs Open Space to the summit of Pulpit Rock. The route is simple at first but becomes challenging around Pulpit Rock.
2. Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
The Royal Gorge is a must-see in Colorado. The Royal Gorge, cut by the Arkansas River, is an hour away from Colorado Springs. Hiking is an excellent way to exercise and explore the canyon and Royal Gorge Bridge. On the Royal Gorge, Bridge and Park’s nearly 20 miles of hiking trails are some of the region’s best.
At this popular Canon City tourist destination, you can walk down the gorge’s paved trails and enjoy views of the bridge. You can even stroll over the Royal Gorge Bridge, the country’s tallest suspension bridge at 956 feet above the Arkansas River!
Here are the top trails with the most excellent views near the bridge to help you select one that you like.
The 1-mile Overlook Trail gives impressive views of the Royal Gorge and the bridge while getting you near the gorge’s border. Take in the magnificent landscape with solid winds and tremendous wows! To avoid the Overlook Loop, use the Rock Hardy Trail, which entails climbing down and back up an 85-foot valley.
Canyon Rim and FAR Out Trails
For a longer hike, take the Canyon Rim Trail toward FAR Out for 1 mile, then the Canon Vista Trail back for a 3-mile trek. Don’t miss the short detour up the Le View Trail to the viewpoint for the most incredible views of the gorge and bridge.
Bring your camera to capture great shots, but don’t go too near to the edge!
Anyone willing to go to Fremont Peak will be rewarded with spectacular 360-degree perspectives of central Colorado and the Rocky Mountains. Take the FAR Out Trail south from the Canon Vista Trail to the Summit Trail and continue it up the hill. This route is 2.6 miles long and 300 feet tall.
At 7,107 feet, Fremont Peak offers sweeping views of the rocky environment.
1. Garden of the Gods Park
Garden of the Gods is debatably one of the most fabulous hikes in Colorado Springs. The park’s towering red sandstone structures and panoramic vistas of Pikes Peak have earned it a National Natural Landmark rating.
Garden of the Gods stands out even after trekking in Rocky Mountain and Great Sand Dunes National Parks. Everyone can enjoy the Garden of the Gods, whether new parents with strollers or trail runners. The Garden of the Gods’ small size and easy access make it a destination for everyone.
Before trekking through Garden of the Gods, drop by the Visitor Center at Gateway Rd and North 30th St. and start picking up color hiking trail maps here. It’s also worth exploring the Visitor Center. Some exhibits describe the park’s history, both modern and old.
This Garden of the Gods hiking guide covers six distinct hiking trails ranging from 0.5 to 2.5 miles. Here are some of our favorites:
Siamese Twins Trail
One of Garden of the Gods’ most renowned hiking trails is located near the park’s southwest gate. The hike offers spectacular views of Pikes Peak and the Siamese Twins rock feature. The Siamese Twins route is a quick 1-mile long trek, yet it provides some of the park’s most stunning vistas.
Due to its off-the-beaten-path location, the Siamese Twins Trail is less busy than other Garden of the Gods’ trails. P14 is the most acceptable parking lot for this trek.
This trail gains 100 feet in elevation. On a bright day, the Siamese Twins formation frames Pikes Peak nicely. You won’t want to miss it!
Perkins Central Garden Trail
Compared to the Siamese Twin Trail, Perkins Central Garden Trail is somewhat longer at 1.5 miles but has less elevation gain. Onboard, you’ll have an unrivaled view of the world’s most remarkable rock formations.
It is also the most popular Garden of the Gods’ trail. The trail connects the Kissing Camels on North Gateway Rock to the Cathedral Spires between North and South Gateway Rock. The loop is flat and straightforward.
It’s a nice walk for families with young children or anybody searching for quiet tracks for strollers or wheelchairs.
The Palmer Trail is a lengthy Garden of the Gods’ hike, and the rocky route leads from the Main Parking Lot to the center of the Siamese Twins hiking trail.
It passes the Giant Footprints and ends with the Siamese Twins. The trail winds around the park’s perimeter, offering excellent views of Gateway Rock. You can also take a walk around the park’s gorgeous vegetation.
The Ridge Trail
The half-mile Ridge Trail is ideal for hikers seeking a more strenuous Garden of the Gods’ trail. It is just 100 feet high, where you can start from the South Garden Parking Lot (P10) and proceed towards the Sleeping Giant.
This one is quite difficult yet short (only half a mile round-trip).
The Scotsman and Buckskin Charlie Loops
These two loops are located south of the Central Valley. Start from the main lot and take up the Scotsman track at the valley’s southern end. The parking lot is modest and likely to be crowded most days throughout the summer.
The Scotsman Loop is 1.1 miles long. Following social routes east from the Scotsman Picnic Ground, the Scotsman dips south, then winds northeast before returning to the parking lot. Bring your trail map or use your phone’s map to navigate.
You can find the Buckskin Charlie Trail on the Scotsman’s southern bends. The trail loops around and rejoins the Scotsman at the Scotsman Picnic Area then continues north along the Juniper Way. You may add the Buckskin Charlie Trail to double your trek.
The Balanced Rock Loop Hike
The Balanced Rock Trail is called because it is near Balanced Rock, not because it leads there. Visitors approaching the park from the south will first see Balanced Rock, then the Trading Post.
A connector route runs straight north from the parking lot, crosses the road, and joins the Balanced Rock Loop trail. The way follows Garden road counterclockwise, then heads north to meet another portion of the road.
To continue the Cabin Canyon Trail, hikers should cross the road (look for automobiles and bicycles). The Cabin Canyon Trail leads south to a crosswalk where you can rejoin the Balanced Rock Trail and return to the parking lot.
What You Should Know Before Visiting Colorado Springs’ Top Hikes:
Colorado Springs Dangers: Colorado Springs is a lovely city in the Rocky Mountains. Despite its picturesque setting, the city and its surroundings can be dangerous.
Sickness at High Altitude: Colorado Springs is above 6,000 feet. A lack of mountain experience may cause altitude sickness in folks who haven’t been there before. Symptoms include dizziness, migraines, and exhaustion.
Weather: Prepare yourself for snow if you come during the winter. Check the forecast and weather in Colorado Springs before you go. Weather-adjusted driving continues, particularly during rush hour. When traveling in the highlands, ensure your vehicle is suited to manage ice.
Scary Hikes: Garden of the Gods is a renowned hiking destination in Colorado Springs for tourists from all over the globe. Keep an eye out for animals and fallen rocks in this region and others surrounding town. Caution is advised while dealing with wild animals such as rattlesnakes, bears, and mountain lions. Also, you should not forget to pack water, a map, a phone, and food for all hikes.
This list of the top Rocky Mountain hikes can help you plan your adventure. With almost enough trails to fill up your whole year, these are some excellent places to start!