9 Best Hikes Near Colorado Springs That Will Blow Your Mind
As far as hiking states go, Colorado is a state that often comes to mind when people think about hitting the trails.
That is why we have compiled a list of the best hikes near Colorado Springs, Colorado. Since Colorado is famous for its beautiful mountain terrain, it should come as no surprise that this high altitude state offers a plethora of trails that can meet someone at any skill level.
Whether you are looking for a family friendly hike to teach your kids about the beauty of nature or you are a seasoned hiker looking for the next big challenge, there are hundreds of trails existing within walking and driving distance of Colorado Springs.
The trails on this list are scattered across skill levels, but the views are for everyone. Whether you are new to the mile-high city or are a native, these trails will not disappoint.
#1 Garden Of The Gods
The Garden of the Gods is a popular attraction for both tourists and locals because of its awe-inspiring views. This area is actually a registered National Natural Landmark, and when you see it for yourself, you will quickly understand why the local officials would go so far to protect it.
This beautiful park has several gorgeous hikes available for all skills levels and has a delightful visitor and nature center complete with a new Geo-Trekker theater that provides information on how the area itself was formed.
When you see the lush greenery and beautiful red rocks reaching towards the sky, you will find yourself wishing that you could stay there forever.
#2 Palmer Trail
Palmer trail is a gorgeous loop within Bear Creek Canon Park that regular hikers will absolutely love. The hike itself is rated as moderate because of its 5.7-mile length and nearly 1300-foot elevation gain that can be difficult for some people, particularly visitors already struggling with the altitude in the city.
On this trail, you can expect to see all kinds of views including mountains, a beautiful forest and vegetation, local wildlife, and a river to make sure you have the full outdoor experience.
The hike itself is excellent for sprightly pets and is sure to give you everything that you can think of when you ask for a hike. In fact, this particular location is even frequented as a winter hike in the off-season, providing you with views of beautiful snow-capped trees.
This is a fairly popular loop, so expect higher amounts of traffic on the weekends and holidays.
Also, there's a lot of snow in winter. Consider wearing appropriate warm leggings and pack your snow shovel.
#3 Midland Trail
Midland Trail is a stunning 6.9-mile hike that lies in Vermijo Park and considered safe for hikers of all skill levels.
Because of its paved concrete trail, it is friendly for family members of all ages and is also wheelchair friendly.
The elevation gain is a subtle 272 feet that will be comfortable for everyone, allowing you to head out and back with ease to see everything that this hike has to offer, including a local river.
The area is pet friendly and is considered an excellent spot for looking at local wildflowers and wildlife. Some consider the area to be a particularly excellent spot for birdwatching.
Whether you’re looking for a nature filled trail to run or ride your bike, or are simply craving an easy and peaceful time in nature, Midland Trail offers the full outdoor experience with the convenience of a sidewalk.
#4 Royal Gorge Park
Royal Gorge Park is a beautiful area and national historic site in Colorado that draws visitors from all over the country. Its most popular trail is the Arkansas River Canyon Rim Trail, a 5.4 mile hike with truly amazing views.
Though it is a moderate length if you walk the full way out and back, the elevation gain is only 610 feet, making this hike earn its easy rating.
Since it is more of a walk in the woods than an intensive hike, you can take the family and pets out for some beautiful time in nature without having to worry about a strenuous process. This area is great for observing local wildlife and bird watching, making it an exciting place to take children or head out with your camera.
Don’t be fooled by the lack of elevation gain either, this hike has some really amazing views.
#5 Manitou Incline
The Manitou Incline is a hike that is well known to locals because of its difficulty in the beginning. Though the views from the top are absolutely something to behold, this is not a good loop for people who suffer from altitude sickness or are not in moderately good physical shape.
It’s because of how challenging the first mile of the hike is. The hike itself is only 3.6 miles, and the area is highly trafficked.
However, newcomers are often caught off guard because the first mile of the hike has a nearly 2000-foot elevation gain.
The beginning of the trail comprises of mountain stairs that are uneven and not paved, and when you go, you will not be surprised to see many people waiting to catch their breaths on the side of the trail.
The rest of the trail is relatively simple, but the beginning is strenuous. It also comes with fair warning that it will be difficult to get emergency services to you in case something goes wrong.
If you are up for the challenge, it is well worth the payoff both visually and mentally.
#6 Pancake Rocks Trail
Pancake Rocks is a beautiful trail located within Pike National Forest near Cripple Creek, Colorado.
The forest in the area is unbelievably beautiful making this 6-mile hike a point of particular interest for locals and visitors. The elevation gain is just shy of 1700 feet, making it a moderate hike that you will want to be well in shape for.
This trail is home to beautiful views and breathtaking portions that leave you surrounded with trees, truly recognizing the beauty of nature.
If you veer off onto another trail on your way back, you can see gorgeous waterfalls depending on the time of year.
This trail is known to have snow well into the season, so you will want to come prepared with layers, but the experience is well worth it.
#7 Seven Bridges Trail
Seven Bridges Trail is a local favorite just outside of Colorado Springs that features a beautiful 3.7-mile out and back hike with a 1000 foot elevation gain.
Due to the trail itself, it is rather moderate, but for those who are up to the challenge it is well worth the opportunity to explore.
The local area is known for its famed waterfall, wildflowers, and wildlife that makes each time you hike this trail a little different from the last.
If you love the good rush of water and being surrounded by vivacious trees, this hike is for you. You will enjoy spending time crossing bridges, which only adds to the feeling that you are off exploring some faraway land.
During summer, it’s usually hot so consider taking a hiking backpack with water bladder with you for an ultimate experience.
#8 St. Mary’s Falls Trail
If you are looking for an adventure that leads you to a beautiful spot, look no further than the St. Mary’s Falls Trail. This trail is a 6.3 out and back style trail that gains just shy of 1400 feet as you traverse it.
The trail itself is rated as moderate, but a little dedication to the cause can go a long way with this one.
The area is pet friendly and known for great hiking and mountain biking. Don’t be afraid to bring your baby with you, if you’d like.
The real selling point is the beauty of the falls that remind you of the raw power of nature.
#9 Stanley Canyon Trail
For the more experienced hiker, the Stanley Canyon Trail is a beautiful setup within Pike National Forest known for its challenging path and beautiful wildflowers.
This 5.8 out and back hike features a 1700 foot elevation gain and is great for seasoned hikers looking for a little bit of beauty with their next big challenge.
The area itself is perfect for bird watching and trail running, making it a well-trafficked hike by those who are up for it.
Colorado is filled with countless beautiful hikes, each one more unique than the last.
If you are looking for beautiful sights and sounds in the area, you will surely find something worth of your attention on this list regardless of whether you are an experienced hiker or just dropping by for your first visit to the mile-high city.
When you venture out on these paths, you can expect beautiful visions of nature, fresh air, and plenty of sunshine.
Whether you’re looking to explore the wonders of nature, enjoy some local birdwatching, or just get out and challenge yourself, there is something for everyone out on the beautiful trails that Colorado offers.
As long as you remember your water and sunscreen (and why not some beer), you can count on having a wonderful day that will leave you blissfully exhausted at the end.
Have you been to Colorado Springs? What is your favourite trail? Leave a comment below!
Having worked in the outdoor, fitness, and cycling industry his whole life, Winston brings a wealth of real world knowledge on the topics. Rock climbing, backpacking, cycling and wilderness survival are his life. As both an athlete, coach and outdoor educator, his practical experience translates into his writing to help people better pursue their outdoor passions.. Read more about Winston here.
Colorado has some of the most amazing trails in the world! Royal Gorge Park is just breath taking. I visited there many years ago and have some great memories. By the way if you are afraid of heights, beware that the bridge there is really high. So you may want to have someone else do the driving in you are going over the bridge. Also, I would recommend drinking lots and lots of water. I love your website it’s really clean and it has beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing all these trails. Have an awesome day! 🙂