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Hiking Colorado Springs – 12 Amazing Trails To Do This Year

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From bridges and waterfalls to running creeks, never ending views, and geological wonders, you will discover hiking Colorado Springs to be a must-experience for avid hikers of any experience level. These are 12 seriously epic hikes which provide spectacular panoramic views of Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas.

Hiking Colorado Springs Epic Hikes
Hiking Colorado Springs – Epic Hikes You Must Do

Colorado Springs sits at an elevation of 6035 feet, with Pikes Peak reaching 14,115 feet. With this much elevation, you’re going to want to be aware of the effects of elevation when hiking the trails. If you are used to a lower altitude, spend at least a day hanging out in town acclimating before tackling a big hike.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Visit Colorado Springs. All content and opinions are my own. #VisitCOS #GetOutdoors #ColoradoSprings #Sponsored

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Seven Bridges Trail

Seven Bridges Trail Colorado Springs
Seven Bridges Trail, Colorado Springs

One of the most popular trails for hiking Colorado Springs, Seven Bridges is located in North Cheyenne Cañon Park. The trail takes you across 7 bridges, thus its name. Park at the Upper Gold Parking Lot and walk 0.7 miles west to the trailhead. Partially paved, the trail is open to all sorts of hiking types from runners, kid-friendly walks, and everyone in-between.

Finding the actual trailhead is a bit tricky. As you turn left into the dirt parking area, there is a closed road straight ahead. Note, this is at the opposite end of the parking lot, and not the closed off road beyond the parking turn. You’ll walk along this road for a bit – the gravel is deep and path is wide. It is about 0.7 miles.

Eventually, you’ll come to a marker to turn off into the actual trail – Trail 622. A short walk will take you to a slightly confusing area. Walk around a tree, climb over roots carefully, and continue upstream along the creeks edge. Once you make it to this point, the rest of the trail is easy to follow.

This trail is a great start for hiking Colorado Springs. Its fairly easy to get through, with a few stairs here and there and some beautiful views of the creek. The bridges are kept up in good shape, the air is crisp and clean, and you’ll be filled with a euphoric sense of accomplishment the rest of the day.

Seven Bridges Trail starting from the parking lot
Seven Bridges Trail starting from the parking lot
Seven Bridges Trail Official Trailhead Marker 622
Seven Bridges Trail Official Trailhead Marker 622
Seven Bridges Trail Around the Trees and Off You Go
Seven Bridges Trail Around the Trees and Off You Go
Seven Bridges Trail Creek
Seven Bridges Trail Creek

If you are hiking this trail during icy weather, you’ll find footing beyond Bridge 6 to be very slippery and steep – microspikes and sure footing recommended.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 3.7 miles
  • Time to hike: 1 1/2 – 4 hours out and back (depending on snow/ice conditions)
  • Elevation gain: 1600 feet
  • Dogs allowed: Yes: must be leashed – don’t forget your compostable poop bags
  • Parking fee: Free
  • Trail hours: All day
  • Parking directions
  • Trailhead location

Manitou Incline Colorado Springs

Manitou Incline Trail Colorado Springs Hike
Manitou Incline Trail Colorado Springs Hike

Do you like steps? I don’t think you answered YES! passionately enough. If you’re the kind of hiker that hates your own legs, there is a mile long set of stairs waiting for you along a 2000 foot elevation gain. Apparently someone has a 17 minute record to summit this trail.

There is a bail out path halfway up which takes you back down via the Barr Trail, which is still a difficult hike, but easier than The Incline Trail. The top of The Incline will also bring you to another section of the Barr Trail, slightly higher up. Or just go back down the stairs and make everyone else feel inadequate.

Protip: Your knees might hate you on the way down, so bring along some trekking poles for your descent.

Steeped in history, the Manitou Incline originated as a railway track in 1907 to provide access to water tanks at the top of the mountain. Soon after, it turned into a tourist attraction with a summit house. In 1990, it officially closed as a railway. Locals began using the abandoned tracks as a serious workout to hike to the top. As the illegal trail grew in popularity, it become a legal hiking trail in 2013, with legal battles finding themselves all the way in the front of the United States Congress. As for as hiking Colorado Springs, this trail is going to be one of the most difficult trails you’ll ever experience in a short distance.

After you’ve completed the hike and you feel your entire lower body steeped in soreness and pain the next day, think about the Incline 500 Club, which is reserved for people who have hiked to the top of the Incline Trail in 365 consecutive days.

Manitou Incline Trail Free Parking
Hiking Colorado Springs: Incline Trail free parking at 10 old mans trail, Manitou Springs
Manitou Incline Trail Free Shuttle
Manitou Incline Trail Free Shuttle
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Distance: 1 mile up the stairs, 2.5 miles down the Barr Trail
  • Time to hike: 2-3 hours
  • Elevation gain: 2000 feet
  • Dogs allowed: No
  • Parking fee: $5-$10 [credit] or Free shuttle
  • Trail hours: 6am to 8pm from April 1 to October 31. 6am to 6am November 1 to March 31.
  • Parking directions
  • Trailhead location

Manitou Incline Parking

For free parking: Park at the Tajine Alami Moroccan restaurant near 10 Old Man’s Trail. A shuttle runs from the lot to the entrance of the paid parking lot between 6am and 6pm daily, every 20 minutes. To verify the shuttle is running, visit this page and look for Route 33.

Section 16 Trail / Palmer Loop

Section 16 Trail Palmer Loop Colorado Springs
Section 16 Trail Palmer Loop Colorado Springs

The Section 16 Trail is immensely popular for hiking Colorado Springs, as the first half hike takes you on a steep ascent. You will find yourself rewarded with breathtaking views of the Red Rock Open Space and Garden of the Gods throughout the hike. The trail is full of rock formations, waterfalls, creeks, and wildlife. In addition to leashed dogs, you will also find horseback riders and mountain bikers.

Section 16 Trail Palmer Loop Views
Section 16 Trail Palmer Loop Views. Photo credit: Action Matrix
Section 16 Trail Palmer Loop Views Landfill
Section 16 Trail Palmer Loop Views. Photo credit: Action Matrix

The Section 16 trailhead parking lot is free, with a secondary lot to the left. From US-24, exit 26th Street. After two switchbacks, turn right onto Gold Camp Road. The trailhead parking lot is on the right side at around 0.9 miles.

This particular trail has multiple intersections and splits along the trail. You’re going to want to reference your favorite hiking app or website for specific directions or an offline map to follow along.

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Distance: 5.7 mile loop
  • Time to hike: 2-3 hours
  • Elevation gain: 1300 feet
  • Dogs allowed: Yes – must be leashed
  • Parking fee: Free
  • Trail hours: 24/7
  • Parking directions
  • Trailhead location

Mount Cutler Trail

Mount Cutler Trail Views Hiking Colorado Springs
Mount Cutler Trail Views Colorado Springs – Photo credit: Getting Lost on the Front Range

The Mount Cutler Trail is perfect for introducing new hikers or bringing along families to the beauty of hiking Colorado Springs. Find your way to the top and you will be rewarded with 360 degree views of the surrounding areas.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 1.7 miles out and back
  • Time to hike: 1-2 hours
  • Elevation gain: 470 feet
  • Dogs allowed: Yes – must be leashed
  • Parking fee: Free
  • Trail hours: 24/7
  • Parking directions
  • Trailhead location

Barr Trail to Pikes Peak

Barr Trail to Pikes Peak Hiking Colorado Springs
Barr Trail to Pikes Peak

No hike to scoff at, the Barr Trail will take you up the 14’er also known as Pike’s Peak – a worthy accomplishment for many a hiker. Add this long and difficult hike to your repertoire of hiking Colorado Springs for views unmatched by any other mountain in the front range of the Rocky Mountains. You’re best off to begin your ascent by 6am in order to reach Pikes Peak by noon.

Afternoon storms are a common occurrence, which you’ll want to avoid. Expect temperatures at the top to be 30 degrees during hot summer days, and much much colder during winter. This is not the trail to underestimate. Only experienced hikers whom are acclimated to higher altitudes should attempt this. Disclosures aside, the trail and summit is a spiritual experience.

Barr Trail to Pikes Peak Summit Hiking Colorado Springs
Barr Trail to Pikes Peak Summit Hiking Colorado Springs. Photo credit: Wikipedian Kbh3rd
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Distance: 21.3 miles out and back
  • Time to hike: 12-16 hours
  • Elevation gain: 7400 feet
  • Dogs allowed: Yes – must be leashed
  • Parking fee: $40/day and take shuttle from Manitou Springs
  • Trail hours: 24/7
  • Parking directions
  • Trailhead location

Catamount Falls / Green Mountain Falls Trail

Catamount Falls Trail Hiking Colorado Springs
Catamount Falls Trail Hiking Colorado Springs. Photo credit: Day Hikes Near Denver

For the hiker interested in streams and waterfalls, this trail is best suited when the water is flowing to fully enjoy. Catamount Falls will take you through three different waterfalls and over several creeks. If you are a waterfall hound like me – this is an excellent trail to experience.

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Distance: 6.4 miles out and back
  • Time to hike: 2-4 hours
  • Elevation gain: 1700 feet
  • Dogs allowed: Yes – must be leashed
  • Parking fee: Free
  • Trail hours: 24/7
  • Parking directions
  • Trailhead location

The Crags Trail

The Crags Trail Hiking Colorado Springs
The Crags Trail Hiking Colorado Springs. Photo credit: Crazy About Colorado

With rock formations and twisted bristle cone pine trees throughout the trail, The Crags will take you to a group of rock pinnacle formations unique to the area.

If hiking this during the winter season, park at Mennonite Camp and hike an extra 1.4 miles from there, as the road beyond is often unplowed, with reports of people being trapped between stuck vehicles.

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Distance: 4.8 miles out and back
  • Time to hike: 2-3 hours
  • Elevation gain: 820 feet
  • Dogs allowed: Yes – must be leashed
  • Parking fee: Free
  • Trail hours: 24/7
  • Parking directions
  • Trailhead location

Garden of the Gods Rocks and Vistas

Garden of the Gods - Hiking Colorado Springs
Garden of the Gods – Hiking Colorado Springs

From the main parking lot, the Rocks and Vistas is an easy scenic loop which will take you through the beauty that is the Garden of the Gods. Pose alongside unique rock formations, watch rock climbers of varying skill levels, and perhaps sign up for yourself. As far as hiking Colorado Springs goes, this would be considered a touristy hike, perhaps more of a stroll, but recommended to try at least once, as all skill levels are able to get close to enjoy the towering rock formations.

Garden of the Gods Winding Paved Trails
Garden of the Gods Winding Paved Trails
Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs Pikes Peak
Garden of the Gods with Pikes Peak
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 4 miles loop
  • Time to hike: 1 1/2 – 2 hours
  • Elevation gain: 600 feet
  • Dogs allowed: Yes – must be leashed
  • Parking fee: Free
  • Trail hours: Sunrise to sunset
  • Parking directions
  • Trailhead location

Garden of the Gods Overlook and Scenic View

Garden of the Gods Pike Peaks Scenic View
Garden of the Gods and Pike’s Peak Scenic View

This iconic view of Garden of the Gods with Pike’s Peak in the background is not an actual hike, but a worthwhile stop to provide perspective after you’ve visited and hiked around Garden of the Gods.

Directions to the Mesa Overlook

Helen Hunt Falls

Helen Hunt Falls Hiking Colorado Springs
Helen Hunt Falls Hiking Colorado Springs

Named after Helen Maria Hunt Jackson, a poet and writer, this waterfall is part of the Cheyenne Creek in North Cheyenne Cañon Park. The falls are a short hike, with a viewpoint at the bottom and a bridge at the top. If you are feeling extra adventurous and want a bit more step, you can follow the trail upwards and onwards even further. You’ll eventually find yourself at a bench with views of the surrounding mountains.

Helen Hunt Falls Hiking Colorado Springs Cheyenne Creek
Above Helen Hunt Falls – Cheyenne Creek

For those of you who are avid social media posters – don’t expect reception in this area. You’ll have to share your photos with the world once you exit the park.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 0.3 miles
  • Time to hike: 15 minutes
  • Elevation gain: 45 feet
  • Dogs allowed: Yes – must be leashed
  • Parking fee: Free
  • Trail hours: 24/7
  • Parking directions
  • Trailhead location

Blodgett Peak

Blodgett Peak Trail Hiking Colorado Springs
Blodgett Peak Trail – Hiking Colorado Springs

The trail to Blodgett Peak takes you through the Blodgett Peak Open Space and offers vast open views of the valley below while hiking Colorado Springs.

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Distance: 3.4 miles
  • Time to hike: 1-2 hours
  • Elevation gain: 2145 feet
  • Dogs allowed: Yes – must be leashed
  • Parking fee: Free
  • Trail hours:24/7
  • Parking directions
  • Trailhead location

Pulpit Rock Park

Pulpit Rock Park - Hiking Colorado Springs
Pulpit Rock Park – Hiking Colorado Springs

The hike to Pulpit Rock Park will bring you to spectacular views of Colorado Springs below and sweeping panoramas with Pikes Peak. While this is an easy hike, expect to get lost amongst some of the offshoot trails as you scramble around to the top. If you are interested in experiencing some of the most gorgeous sunsets in Colorado Springs, this is a great destination to experience them.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 4.2 miles loop
  • Time to hike: 2-3 hours
  • Elevation gain: 583 feet
  • Dogs allowed: Yes – must be leashed
  • Parking fee: None
  • Trail hours: Sunrise to sunset
  • Parking directions
  • Trailhead location

Ute Trail

Ute Trail Hiking Colorado Springs
Ute Trail – Hiking Colorado Springs

The Ute Trail in Estes Park will take you into the alpine tundra, far above where trees can no longer survive – a truly epic way to experience hiking Colorado Springs. The elevation and conditions makes this a fairly difficult hike, although adventurers will be well rewarded throughout the entire hike between flora and fauna. The trail is closed during winters, making this a springtime through fall accessible hike.

  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Distance: 5.3 mils out and back
  • Time to hike: 2-3 hours
  • Elevation gain: 3169 feet
  • Dogs allowed: Yes – must be leashed
  • Parking fee: Free
  • Trail hours: June – September
  • Parking directions
  • Trailhead location

Hiking Colorado Springs Waterfalls

As a bonus to reward you for your tenacity in hiking Colorado Springs, here is a list of all hiking trails near Colorado Springs which have waterfall features. There about 25 waterfalls total which I have identified.

  • Seven Falls / Seven Bridges Trail
  • St Marys Falls Trail
  • Barr Trail to Pikes Peak
  • Helen Hunt Falls Trail
  • Columbine Trail
  • Silver Cascade Falls Trail
  • Catamount Falls Trail
  • Trail 666
  • Eagles Peak Trail
  • Loud’s Cabin
  • Rainbow Falls (currently closed)
  • Seven Falls to Inspiration Point
  • Lower Columbine Trail
  • South Cheyenne Canyon
  • Three Peaks Loop
  • Thomas Trail Loop
  • Crystal Creek Reservoir Trail
  • Buffalo Canyon Trail
  • Cameron Cone
  • Green Mountain Falls
  • Crystal Falls to Catamount
  • William’s Canyon Trail (currently closed)
  • Nelson’s Camp Loop
  • Dorothy Falls via Queens (Private property, guest access only)
  • Kineo Mountain

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25 thoughts on “Hiking Colorado Springs – 12 Amazing Trails To Do This Year”

  1. You’ve done a great job putting together this extensive list of amazing hikes in Colorado Springs. I’ve been hiking in CO once and I’m proud to have gone up my first 14’er – Mount Massive! That was quite an experience 🙂 The Manitou Incline looks like quite a challenge. I’d love to do it one day. Reading this inspires me to visit Colorado again soon.

    Reply
  2. Walking and hiking are my primary forms of exercise so I appreciate you spotlighting these trails. Getting out in nature is a great way to stay healthy.

    Reply
  3. I love visiting this area. However, I’ve not been on most of these trails. Can’t wait to do this entire list!

    Reply
  4. This is so helpful. We are trying to go to Colorado sometime next year so definitely will save this for later. The pictures look so amazing!!!

    Reply
  5. I saved this for later…so many great places to hike! Colorado looks amazing! I know I will love the 7 bridges since I have a thing for bridges, but that one with all the stairs?! That is insane!!

    Reply
  6. My wife has an uncle in Boulder we were talking about seeing this summer. Maybe we will check some of these out…except for Manitou. That Manitou Incline looks insane!

    Reply
    • Hey Dave! Yes! By the way, if you’re up in Boulder, you have to check out the Rocky Mountain National Park. The scenic drive along 36/34 is something you can’t miss.

      Reply

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