There is nothing better than getting outside and getting some exercise on a beautiful day, especially in the mountains. Colorado Springs is surrounded by ideal spots for hikes, whether you are an average hike enthusiast or a more advanced hiker. If you are looking for your next hiking adventure, you may want to consider one or more of these spots.
Bear Creek Park
One of the most popular parks in the city is Bear Creek Regional Park. At 575 acres, there is plenty of area to explore. People can meander through miles of trails enjoying the fresh air in the rolling hills here. They can relax and stop and smell the roses, or whatever is blooming in the garden, and take a seat in the pavilion. Kids can play in the playground. You can also bring your four-legged friend to enjoy the dog park. If you want a more active pursuit, they have tennis courts, a volleyball court, basketball courts, playing fields, a horseshoe pit and an archery range. Want to have a picnic? Bring it along. Whether you are looking for a place to relax for awhile or a place to play with friends, Bear Creek Park might be the right choice for you. It is located at 21st St at Rio Grande in Colorado Springs.
St. Mary’s Falls Trail
Peace and serenity await at St. Mary’s Falls Trail in the North Cheyenne Cañon Park in Manitou Springs. Home of Seven Falls and Helen Hunt Falls, this area includes 6 miles of trails to explore. The hike starts out as an easy to moderate climb and ascends gradually, becoming more difficult and remote. It takes about 3 ½ hours to complete with a 1, 177 ft. elevation gain. You can also ride a bike or go horseback riding here. As the trails are fairly popular, you are likely to see others while exploring. It can get quite crowded. The best time to visit is April through October. Feel free to bring your dog, but make sure it is on a leash. The forest and falls are beautiful to behold. It is a great place to get away from it all. Ready to escape? The park is located at 2120 S. Cheyenne Canyon Rd. in Colorado Springs.
Section 16/ Palmer Loop
At approximately 5 ½ miles in length, the Section 16/ Palmer Loop gives a great view of the Garden of the Gods and Red Rock Open Space. Bring your camera to capture the scene. You can let your precious pooch come along as long as it is leashed. Be aware that this trail is very popular so might be crowded. There is partial shade throughout, except the first mile. There is a creek to cross over near the end of the hike. It is best to hike during the summer unless you want to encounter snow and ice. Some areas are quite steep and recommended for more advanced hikers. Otherwise, it is more of a gentle incline. The trail goes through Ponderosa Forest. It begins and ends at the Section 16 trailhead, which is on Gold Camp Road. You can access this trail from Colorado Springs and also Manitou Springs.
Between Seven Bridges and the Kineo Mountain hike is the Mount Buckhorn hike, a three to four hour trek over rock bridges and through canyons with a view of the basin below. The trail is shaped like what hikers call a “lollipop loop” and is often used not only for hiking, but also for scenic bike rides and horseback riding. Mountain biking, in fact, is quite popular here, as well as off-roading. The elevation is only 803 feet and the journey takes just under 5 miles to complete. It is considered moderate as far as difficulty level. Be aware that North Cheyenne Canyon Road is still closed through May 2022; however, you can still get access through Gold Camp Road. Three bridges on the closed road are being reconstructed. There are plenty of boulders along the trail that are fun to climb including a huge one on the summit. The peak is 8,380 ft. high.
Reservoir at Palmer Lake
Only 24 miles from Colorado Springs is Palmer Lake. Just head west through Monument on I25 and toward the foothills and you will find it. Here you can get some peace and quiet, as well as Rocky Mountain views. At just over four miles roundtrip, this is a moderately challenging route. It is a quick trip, relatively speaking, at only just over 2 hours to complete. It is not just for hiking. You can also go fishing here. In the winter time, people like to snowshoe as well. The best time to visit is May through October. You will feel like you are on top of the world here, as you reach the summit. At 7,200 feet up, the lake sits on Palmer Divide. Bring the family to have a nice day but leave the four-legged friend at home as no dogs are allowed here.