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Hikes in Colorado Springs with Breathtaking Views!

Hikes in Colorado Springs with Breathtaking Views!

If you are planning a trip to Colorado, you will likely want to go on at least one hike or two! You truly can’t go on a “bad” hike here in Colorado, as the entire state is breathtakingly beautiful! This guide will give you a list of 8 hikes in Colorado Springs that you will absolutely LOVE!

We live just over two hours from Colorado Springs, so we don’t get down there as much as we’d like, but we still make a point to visit a few times a year! 

We have had the opportunity to explore Colorado Springs and go camping in the area a handful of times since living here, and it is truly always an amazing experience!

For this reason, Colorado Springs is on our list of best things to do in Colorado

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best hikes in colorado springs

Colorado Springs is quite different than the rest of Colorado, holding its own unique vibes. The majority of people who live in Colorado live along the “Front Range”, which you’ll hear a lot when you visit. 

The Front Range is basically all the towns that line the mountains- think Boulder, or Fort Collins. Colorado Springs is an hour or two away from most of these cities, so it has its own charm!

Colorado Springs is close to the well known Pikes Peak, which I’m sure you already have plans to go see! For this reason, this guide will not go over hiking in Pikes Peak, but rather some other hikes you should take in the area!

Before you head off to Colorado, be sure to download our FREE Colorado Insider’s Guide, which is full of tons of information regarding everything you should see and do in Colorado (including hikes, parks, restaurants, and more!)

Colorado Hiking Essentials: What you NEED to Pack!

Before we get into the best hikes in Colorado Springs, let’s go over a few of the essentials you’ll need for a successful hike!

Regardless of whether you plan to hike 1 mile or 5, there are some items that you should always have with you. Don’t get caught hiking without your water bottle or slipping down a mountain because you didn’t bring the right footwear!

Remember, these are the Rocky Mountains, not just some small hills- you need to be prepared!

Check out our comprehensive list of hiking essentials!

  • First and foremost, you’ll need a good pair of hiking shoes. I’ve made the mistake of hiking in Colorado with just a pair of Nikes… Let’s just say it didn’t end well! The most important thing you can pack for a Colorado hike is a pair of hiking shoes- leave your gym sneakers at home!
  • You’ll also want a sturdy hiking backpack to hold all your belongings while you pack. You can choose to use a backpack you used to travel here, or get one specific for hiking. They make backpacks with water bladders in them, which makes staying hydrated on the trails super easy!
  • One last thing (for this list, at least!) that you’ll need to pack for your hike in Colorado is sunscreen and layers. Temperature can be very unpredictable in the mountains, which can often lead to dangerous situations, so make sure you are prepared! 

Don’t forget to grab a copy of this hiking log book to keep track of all your favorite hikes not only in Colorado Springs, but around the world!

8 Best Hikes in Colorado Springs!

Now that you’re packed up and ready to go, let’s talk about the best hikes in Colorado Springs! All these hikes are top rated, breathtaking, and (mostly) easy to moderate difficulty, so they are perfect for almost any traveler! 

1. Garden of the Gods Hike

garden of the gods colorado

Trail Name: Palmer, Buckskin-Charlie, Niobrara, and Bretag Trail Loop

Length: 4.0 miles

Time to Complete: 1.5-2 hours

Elevation Gain: 449 ft.

Difficulty: Easy

Dog Friendly: Yes

Cost: Free!

If you are looking to explore Garden of the Gods (You’re in Colorado Springs… of course you want to visit!), this trail will bring you around all the main attractions of the park. 

Keep in mind that when hiking in Garden of the Gods, there is very little shade. Bring a hat and sunscreen to prevent sunburn! 

Additionally, parking here can be tricky. There is a parking lot in the beginning of the park where you will have to walk a short bit to get into the actual park. In the summer months, park here to save you the hassle of trying to find parking amongst all the hikers inside the park!

Keep in mind that you can absolutely hike in Garden of the Gods without an actual plan. We’ve gone a few times and just walked around and saw the different sights we wanted to hit. In the Fall/Winter months, you can drive to each of the major attractions, though this will be difficult in the busy Summer months. 

2. Rampart Reservoir

rampart reservoir Colorado Springs

Trail Name: Rampart Reservoir Trail

Length: 13.2 miles (you can do as much or as little as you want!)

Time to Complete: Varies

Elevation Gain: 928 ft.

Difficulty: Easy

Dog Friendly: Yes

Cost: $7/day

Another one of our favorite hikes in Colorado Springs is the Rampart Reservoir Trail. It is technically located in Woodland Park, CO, which is about 30 minutes from Central Colorado Springs. 

This trail is a simple loop that takes you around the reservoir, so you can do as much or as little of it as you want as you spend your day at the beach!

At Rampart Reservoir, you can also enjoy boating, kayaking, picnicking, fishing, hunting, biking, and camping, so you can truly make a day out of this adventure!

This trail and park is a great place to families to take a leisurely hike, and spend the day together. There are plenty of picnic spots you can drive to ask well to do some grilling! 

3. Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Paint mines colorado

Trail Name: Paint Mines Trail

Length: 3.4 mile loop

Time to Complete: 2 hours

Elevation Gain: 334 ft.

Difficulty: Easy

Dog Friendly: No

Cost: Free!

Another one of our favorite hikes in Colorado Springs is in Paint Mines Intrepretive Park. It is about 50 minutes northeast of Colorado Springs, and makes a great day drip!

They are named for the colorful clays Native Americans used to make paint, and have evidence of human life from over 9,000 years ago! It also has tons of geographical formations such as spires and hoodoos that you’ve got to see!

At the park, you’ll see breathtaking views of both Pike’s Peak and Garden of the Gods. Some describe it as a piece of Utah in the middle of a prairie. 

There is not much shade here, so make sure you are prepared to protect your skin from the sun!

Don’t forget to pack these items for your trip to Colorado!

4. Manitou Incline

Trail Name: The Incline Trail

Length: 3.8 mile loop

Time to Complete: 1-3 hours

Elevation Gain: 1922 ft.

Difficulty: Hard

Dog Friendly: No

Cost: Free, but reservation required

One of the most famous hikes in Colorado Springs is the Manitou Incline, both because of its insane beauty and challenge! 

The Manitou Incline has 2,768 steps, for a total of 190 floors climbed- so don’t attempt this unless you are well prepared! 

You will also gain almost 2,000 feet, with a peak elevation of 8,590 feet. Because of the high altitude, make sure you know how to prevent altitude sickness, especially if you do this in the beginning of your trip!

The climb to the top might be difficult, but the views are so worth it! If the hike gets to be too much, there are 3 bailout points that will bring you back down- don’t feel too bad, plenty of people don’t make it!

5. Eleven Mile Canyon Reservoir

eleven mile canyon reservoir

Trail Name: Midland/Black Bear Trail

Length: ~1 mile

Time to Complete: 1 hour

Elevation Gain: 200 ft.

Difficulty: Easy

Dog Friendly: Yes

Cost: $7/day

One of my absolute favorite places in Colorado, and hikes in Colorado Springs is at Eleven Mile Canyon Reservoir. It is just over an hour from downtown Colorado Springs, but it is entirely worth the drive! 

The views here are spectacular, and you truly feel like you are transported into a picture book. Every time we come to Colorado Springs I make a point to stop here, because it is just so breathtaking!

We’ve even gone camping at Eleven Mile Canyon Reservoir, which is a great camping location for families. Check out this guide for camping with kids!

There are multiple hikes you can take within this area, but we like to take this short loop for an easy stroll through the beautiful sights!

Enter Coyote Ridge Nature Trail into your GPS (it should say Lake George, CO). Once you get here, park in the main parking lot by the trail, then head straight onto the “Coyote Ridge Interpretive Trail, Ponderosa Loop”. This will take you past the lake on your right. You will then keep going straight onto Midland Trail. Keep going until you see a sign for Black Bear Trail on your right, which will bring you back near where you started!

It is a short hike that you can definitely make longer, but you’ll want to stop and take in all the sights along the way!

6. Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Trail Name: Mesa, Greenlee, and Red Rock Canyon Path Loop

Length: 1.8 mile loop

Time to Complete: 1 hour

Elevation Gain: 262 ft.

Difficulty: Easy

Dog Friendly: Yes

Cost: Free!

Another one of the best hikes in Colorado Springs is in the Red Rocky Canyon Open Space park, which is right across the street from Garden of the Gods.

Here, you can see some amazing views of the red rocks, and even spend some time in the pond that the trail takes you around. 

You’ll even find an off leash dog area here, which your furry friend will love you for! 

One suggestion I’ve heard from many hikers of this trail is to take it counter-clockwise, as this makes some of the more challenging parts of the trail downhill.

Keep in mind: this is not “the” Red Rocks park you’ve probably heard of where all the concerts are. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater also has some amazing hikes, but is 1.5-2 hours from Colorado Springs, closer to Denver. If you find yourself in the area, definitely check it out! Also, check out our guide of the best things to do in Denver!

7. Austin Bluffs Open Space

austin bluffs open space

Trail Name: Pulpit Rock Park Loop

Length: 4.2  mile loop

Time to Complete: 2 hours

Elevation Gain: 557 ft.

Difficulty: Moderate

Dog Friendly: Yes

Cost: Free!

Austin Bluffs Open Space is located in Northeast Colorado Springs, and is known for its distinctive rock formations, some dating back up to 70 million years ago!

The trail takes you along the Pulpit Rock ridge line. At the top, you’ll be able to see a breathtaking view of the Rocky Mountains, including Pike’s Peak. 

Make sure you download offline maps for any hike you take, but especially this trail, and it can become easy to get lost! 

8. Cheyenne Mountain State Park

cheyenne mountain state park

Trail Name: Cougar’s Shadow and Blackmer Loop

Length: 3.6  mile loop

Time to Complete: 2 hours

Elevation Gain: 587 ft.

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Dog Friendly: Some trails

Cost: $9/vehicle

The last of our favorite hikes in Colorado Springs is in Cheyenne Mountain State Park. The park has 28 miles of trails, camping, archery, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and more!

This is a great place to pack a lunch and spend the day taking in all the amazing views and beautiful wild flowers. 

The park also has a visitor center where you can get more information, souvenirs, and snacks!

What's Next?

As we continue to go on hikes in Colorado Springs, we will update this list, so be sure to check back often! In the mean time, be sure to sign up for your free Colorado Insider’s Guide below!

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