Colorado Springs Trail Guide – Best Hiking Trails in Colorado Springs

The city and area surrounding Colorado Springs have gorgeous scenery and ample ways to enjoy the great outdoors, perhaps one of the best parts of Colorful Colorado. Whether you are looking for a quick walk or a long, tiring trek, there are plenty of hiking trails in Colorado Springs at every difficulty level. And for those just getting started, be sure to check out our guided hiking tours.

If you are looking for the absolute best trails in Colorado Springs, we have an in-depth review of our top 5 favorite hikes near Colorado Springs. You’ll also see them on this list along with many other excellent options for hikers of all abilities. This list is organized roughly by difficulty level, as determined based on reviews from fellow hikers, length, and elevation gain. So if you are wondering where to hike in Colorado Springs, look no further. 

Easy Hikes

Memorial Park Prospect Lake Loop Trail

Parking: 280 S Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80910 (Tons of parking available in the park along Memorial Dr)

Elevation Gain: 26 feet

Round Trip Mileage: 1.3 miles

Highlights:

  • Paved loop, very accessible for wheelchairs, strollers, etc.
  • Great views of mountains and scenic lake
  • Beach area and playground

Palmer Park Cheyenne and Grandview Trail Loop

Parking: Palmer Park Trail Cave Outlook, 3120 N Chelton Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80909

Elevation Gain: 183 feet

Round Trip Mileage: 1.8 miles

Highlights:

  • So much to see here including a botanical reserve, horse stables, canyons, ravines, bluffs, and more
  • Tons of wildlife: Palmer Park is popular among birdwatchers

Stratton Open Space The Chutes, Laveta, and Chamberlain Trail Loop

Parking: North Cheyenne Cañon Park & Stratton Open Space Trailhead, N Cheyenne Canyon Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906 (on the right, just past the Starsmore Visitors Center)

Elevation Gain: 705 feet

Round Trip Mileage: 3.8 miles miles

Highlights:

  • Most popular hiking trail in Stratton Open Space
  • Excellent wildflowers and wildlife
  • Beautiful views of the Gold Camp Reservoirs

Garden of the Gods The Palmer, Buckskin-Charley, Niobrara, and Bretag Trail Loop

Parking: 3105 Gateway Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80904

Elevation Gain: 449 feet

Round Trip Mileage: 4.0 miles

Highlights:

  • Gorgeous views of the National Natural Landmark that is Garden of the Gods
  • Combines four popular trails around the park
  • Access to horseback riding, rock climbing, and biking trails
  • A Top 5 Pick! Learn More.

Ute Valley Park Ute Valley Park Trail

Parking: Ute Valley Trail Head, Ute Vly Trl, Colorado Springs, CO 80919

Elevation Gain: 488 feet

Round Trip Mileage: 4.3 miles

Highlights: 

  • Excellent views of Pikes Peak
  • Plenty of side trails to explore
Photo by Bailey Galindo on Unsplash

Moderate Hikes

North Cheyenne Cañon Park Mount Buckhorn Peak

Parking: Upper Gold Camp parking lot, 4415 Gold Camp Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906

Elevation Gain: 859 feet

Round Trip Mileage: 3.9 miles

Highlights:

  • Beautiful views along the way 
  • Boulders to climb at the summit (the tallest offers panoramic views)
  • A Top 5 Pick! Learn More.

North Cheyenne Cañon Park Seven Bridges Trail

Parking: Seven Bridges Trailhead, N Cheyenne Canyon Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906 (right before Helen Hunt Falls)

Elevation Gain: 912 feet

Round Trip Mileage: 3.5 miles

Highlights:

  • Very popular trail due to its history and uniqueness
  • Meanders alongside a creek and crosses over via seven charming bridges
  • Close to Helen Hunt Falls and Silver Cascade Falls

Pike National Forest The Crags Trail

Parking: Crags/Devil’s Playground Trailhead, 615 Teller Co Rd 62, Divide, CO 80814

Elevation Gain: 820 feet

Round Trip Mileage: 4.8 miles

Highlights:

  • Awesome views of unique geological features
  • Well marked trail
  • Challenging, but a good introduction for beginner hikers
  • A Top 5 Pick! Learn More.

North Cheyenne Cañon Park Mount Muscoco Trail

Parking: Mount Cutler and Muscoco Trailhead, N Cheyenne Canyon Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906 (on the left, 1.5 miles past Starsmore Visitors Center)

Elevation Gain: 1,292 feet

Round Trip Mileage: 4.0 miles

Highlights:

  • Includes a fun scramble at the summit
  • Outstanding views of the surrounding mountains
  • Well marked and well maintained
  • A Top 5 Pick! Learn More.

North Slope Recreation Area North Catamount Reservoir Trail

Parking: Pikes Peak Toll Rd, Woodland Park, CO 80863 (just past the Crystal Reservoir Visitors Center)

Elevation Gain: 262 feet 

Round Trip Mileage: 2.7 miles

Highlights:

  • Short but steep (15% grade around the 1.5-mile marker), so you’ll get a good workout
  • Beautiful views of meadows and wildflowers along the way
Photo by Jonathan Chaves on Unsplash

Hard Hikes

Red Rock Canyon Open Space Sand Canyon, Mesa, Greenlee, Red Rock Canyon Loop

Parking: 3550 W High St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904

Elevation Gain: 882 feet

Round Trip Mileage: 5.4 miles

Highlights:

  • Varied terrain and interesting geology
  • Lots of sun as shade is limited
  • Good views without too difficult an elevation gain

Pike National Forest The Incline Trail

Parking: Barr Trailhead, 98 Hydro St, Manitou Springs, CO 80829

Elevation Gain: 1,978 feet

Round Trip Mileage: 4.0 miles

Highlights:

  • The most popular trail in the Pike National Forest
  • All the elevation is in the first mile – at the hardest point, it’s an extremely challenging 61% grade!

North Slope Recreation Area Limber Pine, Mule Deer, Mackinaw, and Ridge Trails Loop

Parking: Catamount Recreation Area, 3168 Co Rd 28, Woodland Park, CO 80863

Elevation Gain: 1,036 feet

Round Trip Mileage: 8.4 miles

Highlights:

  • Challenging trek around the North Catamount Reservoir with a bunch of elevation changes
  • At times follows the water, and at other times, you’ll be in the forest

North Cheyenne Cañon Park Columbine Trail

Parking: Starsmore Discovery Center, 2120 S Cheyenne Canyon Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906

Elevation Gain: 1,607 feet

Round Trip Mileage: 7.6 miles

Highlights:

  • Great views of the surrounding mountains
  • Plenty of wildlife (don’t forget to check out the Starsmore Discovery Center at the trailhead
  • Gradually inclining slope, no huge scrambles
  • A Top 5 Pick! Learn More.

Pike National Forest The DeCaLiBron: Mounts Democrat, Cameron, Lincoln and Bross Trail

Parking: Kite Lake Trailhead, Co Rd 8, Alma, CO 80420

Elevation Gain: 3,136 feet

Round Trip Mileage: 7.0 miles

Highlights:

  • Ability to summit three 14-ers, the highest being Mount Lincoln at 14,295’ (Note that Mount Bross is private property and illegal to summit)
  • Real right of passage for serious Colorado hikers

Final Thoughts

Before you hit one of these awesome hiking trails in Colorado Springs, be sure that you are well prepared for your trip. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and other essentials that we cover in how to pack for a day hike. Happy trails!

Are Trekking Poles Worth It?

Are trekking poles worth it? As a hiking guide, I’m asked this question hundreds of times every single season I’m in the backcountry. It could be guests asking me before a trip if they should have hiking poles or strangers I meet on the trail who see that I’m a guide and want my opinion on the matter. But no matter the circumstances of the question or who is asking it, there is rarely a straightforward yes or no answer. There are several distinct pros and cons worth discussing to help you decide if trekking poles are worth it.

Therefore, let’s take a moment to go over these pros and cons to see where hiking poles shine on the trail and where they might be a hindrance, and I’ll finish with my own recommendation on the issue. Then, you should have all the information you need to decide if a new pair of hiking poles will make an appearance on your next hike, be it a guided hike in Colorado Springs or on your own.

Trekking Pole Benefits

Increased Stability

Trekking poles dramatically increase your overall stability on the trail. Uneven terrain, fatigue, and sneaky tree roots can all play a role in compromising your stability and cause you to lose your balance or even take a tumble while hiking. Trekking poles, however, can dramatically improve your overall stability by increasing the number of contact points you have on the ground from two – just your feet – to four. You can also use those two additional contact points to test water/snow depth, untrustworthy-looking rocks, or mud you might encounter on the trail. In fact, trekking poles are one of our “must-have” recommendations on our list of tips for hiking in muddy terrain.

By doubling your contact with the ground, hiking poles make it much easier to avoid losing your balance, and to recover more quickly if you do.

Support

In addition to upping your stability on the trail, trekking poles also offer the crucial benefit of providing support for your knees and hips. When used properly, they can transfer some of the burden of hiking to your arms and shoulders – allowing you to hike harder and farther without letting achy knees hold you back.

The benefit is especially pronounced when going downhill. The jarring impact of hiking down a steep trail – especially with a fully loaded backpack – can trash your knees in no time. But distributing part of that load to your arms can make a world of difference in your hiking experience. Let’s take a closer look at how your arms can suddenly play a larger role in your hiking.

Photo by Nilotpal Kalita on Unsplash

Let Your Arms Do Some Work

Your legs are working endlessly as you hike, but having your trekking polls in hand allows you to push down on the ground with your arms to propel yourself forward or upward (or lessen the impact of going downward). Therefore, you’re suddenly able to use your arm muscles to improve your forward movement and shepherd in the support we discussed earlier by taking some pressure off your knees and hips.

While your arms can absorb and mitigate that shock of going downhill – thus saving your knees – they can also fully join the hiking effort when going uphill. In this case, using trekking poles and your arms to push down on the ground will help you get a small but noticeable amount of power pushing you upward. Over the long run, during a strenuous or prolonged climb, this assistance can play a prominent role in your hiking endurance. You’ll also get an arm workout during what is predominantly a leg-only activity.

Trekking Pole Downsides

Now that we’ve covered the benefits, we must balance that information by including a few drawbacks that influence the question: are trekking poles worth it?

Additional Weight and Bulk

A common downside to trekking poles is that they add more bulk and yet another piece of gear to your hiking equipment. Hiking is already a gear-heavy enterprise, and adding even more to the mix can be hard to justify. Specifically, trekking poles need to be stashed in or on your pack when you’re not using them. In this scenario, they’re simply more weight you’re toting around and taking up valuable space in your pack.

Next, wielding trekking poles effectively has a learning curve, and they may feel like a handful when you first start using them. Let’s take a look at this drawback next.

They Can Be a Handful

For many hikers, the thought of no longer having your hands free and available for drinking, bracing on rocks, or adjusting your pack is borderline repulsive. Suddenly acclimating to having your hands engaged during your entire activity can feel strange and alien – and many people avoid using trekking poles for this reason.

This downside becomes especially pronounced on narrow or overgrown trails.

Increased Snag Risk

Using poles for balance and support on the trail may work like a charm on open terrain, but it can become a different story in overgrown areas. Thick shrubbery, bushes, and narrow trails are all a recipe for snagged trekking poles, which can quickly turn them into a hindrance. Very rocky terrain also holds the same dangers. Here, gaps between boulders or smaller rocks are the perfect trekking pole traps.

In all these cases, a snagged trekking pole can be anything from a minor annoyance to a more severe obstacle that upsets your balance.

As with many of our trekking pole downsides, this issue can be mitigated with experience and practice. But once again, that learning curve comes into play, and many hikers decide that trekking poles are not worth this effort.

My Recommendation

After years of working as a hiking and backpacking guide and seeing the full range of hikers, from trekking pole lovers to ardent refusers, I’ve developed the opinion that just about everyone can benefit from a hiking pole or two in most situations.

For the longest time, I was also highly skeptical of trekking poles even when I was carrying ridiculous pack loads as a guide. But a season in the famously rugged White Mountains of New Hampshire shattered that prejudice, and I now fully appreciate that the benefits of trekking poles far outweigh the downsides for the vast majority of circumstances. I now tell my guests, and about everyone who asks, that you can’t go wrong with at least one trekking pole.

A single pole bridges the divide between pros and cons where you still benefit from increased stability and support while mitigating the downsides by still having one hand free and not trying to learn how to wield two new hiking instruments at the same time. Once you’re comfortable with just one trekking pole, perhaps that’s the perfect balance for you or perhaps you’ll take the next step and use a pair. My recommendation here grows dramatically if you tend to suffer from sore knees or poor balance with hiking – you’ll be amazed by the added support! So, for many folks on the fence about trekking poles – just try one.

That said, there are certain situations where trekking poles may not be worth it. Bushwacking – hiking in dense vegetation off-trail – is a perfect example where hiking poles have the potential the get snagged and become a hindrance. Or if you’re a super lightweight hiker and can’t justify adding additional weight to your gear list.

Final Thoughts

So in the end, think about where you’re hiking and if trekking poles have a chance of making that hike easier. If the answer is yes, then I wholeheartedly recommend that you take the plunge and give them a try. If you’re hesitant, then just try a single pole to test the waters and find out if trekking poles are worth it to you. All you need to do now is find a trail, and our favorite hikes near Colorado Springs are a great place to start.

Happy hiking!

Where to See Wildflowers in Colorado Springs

Surrounding the cities of the Colorado foothills are mountain vistas erupting from long stretches of prairie. The sight in itself is astonishing, but it gets even better in the spring. When wildflowers come out to bloom and show their colors after a long winter tucked away, the mountains light up with a vibrance unseen since the year prior. 

Of course, it’s one of the best times of the year to get outside. This list of wildflower hikes in Colorado Springs is a start towards a longer journey of finding every last petal of every last flower and taking in its beauty. And the best part is that you don’t have to look far when seeking out where to see wildflowers in Colorado Springs. With a camera and identification book in hand, it’s time to set out on the trails and see what’s out there.

Garden of the Gods Park

Come springtime, Garden of the Gods has shoots of color popping up in every direction you look. It’s one of the best places to go throughout the entire year, so of course, it makes the list of where to see wildflowers in Colorado Springs. 

This region is perfect for day hiking in Colorado. There are guided walks throughout the day, and you can book hiking tours that will allow you to get a full experience and understanding of flora and fauna along the way. 

The Palmer, Buckskin-Charley, Niobrara, and Bretag Trail loop is an easy four-mile loop throughout the park where you can tour several of the park’s most outstanding features. If you want to get out for some outstanding sights but only have a couple of hours, this is one of the best picks.

Indian paintbrush covers the landscape here along with multiple varieties of wildflowers – such as Colorado blue columbine and bluebells – making it a diverse color scape that can impress anyone who passes through.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Located right on the limits of Colorado Springs, Red Rock Canyon Open Space offers another quick getaway to see some of the most spectacular wildflowers the area has to offer. It’s an easy place to get to and has miles of trails to offer. 

Any combination of the various trails can make a great loop to explore and see a variety of different sights like beautiful rock faces to climb and open fields that just recently lost their snow. You may spot some Arrowleaf balsamroot or Rocky Mountain bee plant amongst the Indian paintbrush and other delicate flowers.

Photo by Kevin Bree on Unsplash

North Cheyenne Cañon Park

Here’s another gem that sits so close to the city but makes you feel like you’ve driven hours to find wilderness. The North Cheyenne Cañon Park is a short ten-minute drive from the heart of Colorado Springs and has wildflowers aplenty to offer anyone who comes looking. 

This park is full of granite cliffs and waterfalls, providing a luscious environment for flowers to grow and thrive. The park is 1,000-feet deep in the granite canyon, following the creek the entire way. The water draws an array of birds and wildlife that makes this park unique. 

The Daniels Pass Trail system is a newer part of the park where you can go deep into the woods and find flowers that have stayed hidden for many years without trails to blaze the way. The Mount Muscoco and the Mount Cutler trails are also great options for getting a higher vantage point and seeing the landscape from a new perspective.

Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak may define the area surrounding Colorado Springs. It was what gold miners looked to when they first made their way west, and today it’s one of the most popular 14ers climbed in the state. Pikes Peak is an easy way to get up high and see wildflowers for miles on end as well as right in front of you on the trail. 

The Elk Park trail will take you along open meadows and a beautiful creek that provides an ample environment for wildflowers of all different types. As you move up the mountain, the flora changes with elevation, which can give you the chance to see an even wider variety of flowers on a single trail. 

Here you’ll find Columbia monkshood, Indian paintbrush, orange Agoseris, mountain bluebells, arctic yellow violet, darkthroat shooting star, and the list goes on. Be sure to bring a wildflower identification guide in order to find as many as possible because this is the spot to tick off a lot of boxes in the hunt to discover them all. 

This is likely the only trail where you’ll find a good amount of snow alongside the wildflowers. It can provide a stark contrast that is unlike many other regions in the area and draws visitors from all around.

Photo by Alexis Gethin on Unsplash

Ute Valley Park

Mere minutes north of downtown Colorado Springs is Ute Valley Park. This hidden gem is surrounded by humanity but can still make you feel as if you’ve left the city. All along the trails of this 538-acre park, you can find a blast of color from the many wildflowers in the area. 

Within the park, you’ll likely see some Mariposa lily blooms, prickly pear cacti, and faerie trumpets that are common in the area. While this park might not offer massive mountains to climb, it’s a fantastic representation of what the area is truly like – all within the city limits.

Tips for Hiking on Muddy Terrain

Spring hiking in Colorado Springs, or just about anywhere in Colorado, is synonymous with mud hiking. Many of us ask the question, can you hike in the mud? The answer is a resounding yes, but there are a lot of particular tips for hiking in the mud that comes in handy to help any user get the most out of their time on the trail. 

Just because the trails are muddy doesn’t mean you have to stay at home and settle into couch life. Getting out is entirely possible! Learning how to manage mud season takes some adjustment time, but it gives you a whole new world of places to hike in the springtime. Mud season isn’t going to stop showing up, so it’s time to adapt. 

Photo by Caspar Rae on Unsplash

Pick the right trail

The best move for hiking in the mud is to do a hefty amount of research and preparation. Some trails will stay wamps throughout mud season, and others may be in better condition than others. If you pick the right trail, you may not even encounter much mud on the hike. 

To pick the right trail, head online and look into certain trail conditions. Some trails will be better positioned to drain quicker or dry out faster from the sun. South-facing trails, for example, get a huge amount of sun and will be much more likely to provide a solid, less muddy, trail surface. 

The internet is another great resource for discovering trail conditions in the spring. Many hikers head out and report back to different social media groups, where they will describe what the trail looks like throughout the season. You’ll likely find others have gone out and checked before you have even considered going out, so use the information they’ve provided to save yourself some time. 

Head out early

As the temperatures rise, ice turns to mud. If you can, getting out on the trails earlier in the morning means that the mud is likely to be a bit more firm and stable to hike on. Further on in the day, you’ll find yourself trekking through deeper and softer mud. 

Heading out early also gives you a jump on the crowds of people that are all trying to get outside after a long winter. Trails tend to deteriorate throughout the day as use increases. If you get out early, you’ll find the trail in the most pristine condition that it will be on that day.

Choose to get muddy

One of the best, but hardest to follow, tips for hiking in mud is to “make the trail deeper, not wider.” This concept generally means hiking straight through the mud rather than trying to walk around it off of the trail. While this is best for the trail, it’s hard to commit to getting yourself covered in mud that can often come up and over your boots. 

Taking care of trails often means not putting yourself first. In mud season, it means accepting the mud and owning it. You’re most likely going to get muddy anyway, so commit and get really muddy. Bring some plastic bags that you can throw your boots into when you’re finished with the hike, and the car upholstery will be grateful. 

Since getting muddy is just about the only option on the menu, it’s good to learn how to clean hiking boots well. Hiking in mud season means cleaning boots more often; otherwise, the mud will work its way deep into the boots and potentially ruin them. It’s a simple process but takes a bit of time to do once the hike is over. 

Protect your feet

Cleaning your boots is one way of protecting your feet in the long term. It’s equally important to prepare for the hike, as it is to prepare for cleaning up after the hike. 

Mud is likely going to make its way to your feet. Even the most waterproof boots can struggle up against some seriously thick mud, so you need to be prepared for the likelihood of getting wet feet. In mud season, it’s necessary to bring along a couple of extra pairs of socks to throw on throughout the hike or at the end and an extra pair of clean shoes to drive home in.

If the trail is completely obliterated and covered in soupy mud, bringing boot liners is a good option for protection. Boot liners are simply plastic bags that go between your boots and socks as a completely waterproof barrier. They aren’t comfortable, but they’re effective. 

Wet feet can be more than uncomfortable; they can be dangerous and painful if they stay wet long enough. Go prepared and knowledgeable about what to do when your feet get wet on the trail or at least have a quick exit to the car. 

Bring the right gear

On top of simple plastic bags, a couple of other pieces of gear will help make hiking in the mud more accessible. 

For starters, gaiters are a great addition to hiking in the mud and are perfect for spring hiking in Colorado Springs, as you may encounter some snow along the way. Gaiters are like sleeves for your ankles that strap over your boots and fasten around your calf. They function to keep anything from getting inside your boots, even when you get above the top of the boot. 

Gaiters will help you to keep anything from getting inside your boots, but they won’t help you when the mud makes you slide around like walking on ice. This is where a solid set of trekking poles comes in handy. 

Bringing trekking poles will give you a better sense of balance in the mud. You can take great care without them, but the moment your feet slip, you’ll look like a frosted chocolate cake rather than a happy hiker. Trekking poles add more contact points with the ground and improve your balance. 

Most Accessible Trails in Colorado Springs

Whenever travel is on the menu, there’s a lot that goes into finding the right thing to do for your adventure. For some, that includes finding the best wheelchair accessible trails. If you’re looking for a spot with accessibility in surplus, Colorado Springs is worth taking a look at. 

The town is well-known for its stunningly beautiful trails and majestic landscapes that become the backdrop of day-to-day life. There are plenty of activities to do in the winter for anyone interested in the outdoors or city life. One of the best parts of these trails and activities is that several of them that are ADA accessible, as well as easier trails that often appeal to families with small children. 

We’ll take a look into the best ADA accessible attraction in Colorado Springs but won’t stop there. This list has a wide array of options that will allow for a longer visit and different styles of activities. 

Cottonwood Creek Trail

The Cottonwood Creek Trail is an excellent choice for anyone looking to explore the city with a wheelchair. The trail runs for 6.3 miles along the northern end of Colorado Springs. The best part? The trail is mostly paved, with only a few areas of dirt or gravel path. The section between Rangewood Drive and Union Boulevard is gravel, but the rest is paved. 

There are plenty of recreation areas along the trail, such as large playgrounds, grassy fields, and seasonal bathrooms. You get a mix of residential feeling along the walk, with some expansive views running alongside the creek with mountains as your backdrop. 

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

While it isn’t directly in Colorado Springs, anyone in the area shouldn’t miss this destination. Just around 40 minutes from the city, you’ll find the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. This historical monument is filled with over 1700 different species of fossils. You’ll even run into petrified Sequoia trees, bigger than you can imagine. 

This place is wonderful for wheelchair and family-friendly accessibility. It’s an incredible opportunity to fill your trip with education as well as an easy cruise on a paved trail. 

Garden of the Gods Park

Garden of the Gods is one of the largest attractions that brings thousands to the region each year. It’s completely understandable why. The park is filled with red rock structures that tower over an incredible landscape and create a unique environment only minutes outside downtown Colorado Springs. 

The park has an intricate trail system, which is handicap accessible. A few trails stand out as some of the best options for a day hike that accommodates everyone in the family. Before heading out, be sure to read up on how to pack for a day hike to have the best possible experience without forgetting all the essentials. 

Perkins Central Garden Trail

This short 1.1-mile loop is located within Garden of the Gods Park and is the perfect opportunity to see a lot of distinct features of the park. It’s often listed as the best trail for wheelchairs out of all the 15 miles of trails that you can find in the park. The loop is primarily level and completely paved. 

Along the route, you’ll see Kissing Camels, South Gateway Rock, Three Graces, and Sentinel Spires. These are well-known and sought-after attractions, all easily reached in the short mile-long loop.

If you’re hoping to find even more accessible trails in the park, check out some other guided hikes in Colorado Springs to get the most out of each hike as well. 

Olympic Training Center

Athletes come from across the country to use the magnificent facilities in Colorado Springs. This center offers year-round guided tours of the entire Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, where you can see the entire center in only an hour. It’s a perfect fit for a quick trip on a day when the weather may not be perfect for getting outside. 

The grounds of the training center are highly ADA accessible, especially as many of the athletes coming to train here are in wheelchairs themselves. The facility was designed for ease of use and accessibility, so it is well worth checking out whenever you’re in town. 

Pikes Peak Greenway Trail

Running 15 miles throughout Colorado Springs is the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail. This is the connector for other long regional trails in the north and south and provides access to parks and other trails scattered throughout the city. 

The trail is a mix of different surfaces. There are sections that are paved and some that are dirt and stone, but it’s still a highly accessible trail. People ride road bikes along the entire path and never have an issue. Since it’s in the middle of the city, it’s mainly a flat trip. 

Follow this trail to America the Beautiful Park, a famous 30-acre area with breathtaking views. There are plenty of other ways to utilize the Pikes Peak Greenway, and we encourage you to explore the trail system for yourself. 

Colorado Jeep Tours

Finally, if you want something completely different and still accessible for many, Colorado Jeep Tours are a great choice. You’ll get to see a wide variety of terrains within the area, all from the comfort of an off-road Jeep. 

Accessibility includes American Sign Language videos on every tour and a three-point harness seat belt equipped in the front seat for anyone with mobility issues. Don’t worry about leaving your service dog behind, as they are more than welcome to join. 

Does Broadmoor Outfitters Run Tours in the Winter?

Colorado is a haven for year-round adventure, but which tour companies run tours through the winter? Is skiing the only option?

Once the snow hits the slopes, it seems like most of the tourism follows suit. The thing is, while the mountains fill up with snow, Colorado Springs actually sees very little snow until the springtime. While the weather can often change and fluctuate, Broadmoor Outfitters aims to run tours all year long. 

So, don’t worry, Broadmoor Outfitters runs tours through the winter season, weather permitting. Read on as we answer some of our most common questions about winter tours in Colorado Springs.

What is winter like in Colorado Springs?

Colorado Spring is well-known for its mild weather during other seasons, and winter is no different. Temperatures are known to range from 17-61 degrees Fahrenheit. The average winter temperature is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so add a little sun and some quality clothing layers, and you’re set! With the lack of moisture in the air, sunny daytime temperatures feel much warmer in the sun, making outdoor recreation not only doable but rather enjoyable. 

Sure, it can get chilly some days, but that’s where planning ahead and preparation come into play. When you are booking outdoor tours during the winter, knowing how to layer properly and spending time looking at the weather forecast will help you prepare. 

Heading into the Pikes Peak area is a really popular choice, and it can be done in the winter. Be aware that going up to Pikes Peak will be much colder than in the city of Colorado Springs. The average high temperature during the winter on Pikes Peak is around 10 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Which tour is the best during the winter?

Although winter is relatively mild in Colorado Springs, we do not run all of our tour options in the winter months. Things like stand-up paddleboarding aren’t very popular when it is 30 degrees outside! 

Many guests enjoy our guided hiking tours during the winter months. When hiking in a new area, especially as a novice hiker, going along with a guide can ease some of the anxieties and help you feel more prepared and comfortable for the journey. 

We run more than our guided hiking tours in the winter, but this is a top choice among Colorado Springs’ visitors. 

Tours up to see Pikes Peak are also feasible in the winter months. Much like other mountain attractions that are open year-round, closures may occur due to weather conditions. 

Why would a tour be canceled?

Other than a cancellation on your end, the main reason a tour is canceled during the winter is due to inclement weather. It is relatively rare that weather gets in our way, but we take precautions when necessary. 

In most cases, tours can be rescheduled, and if we need to cancel due to weather, you will work directly with our team to find a solution that works for you. 


If you have a question about booking a winter tour or you want help choosing the best winter tour in Colorado Springs, contact us directly at +1-719-471-6168 or reserve your tour online.

Best Time of Year to Visit Colorado Springs

As tourism across Colorado continues to rise, Colorado Springs has become a popular destination during all seasons of the year. However, like any tourist destination, there are peak seasons, shoulder seasons, and off-seasons. 

Are you trying to avoid crowds?

Do you like to whitewater raft?

Are you thinking more of a foodie city tour?

The best time to visit often revolves around the type of activities you like to do, when you have time, and your personal preferences. To match your travel needs, find out when the peak tourist season is as well as our favorite time of the year.

What is the peak tourist season in Colorado Springs?

Like many areas of the United States, summer tends to be the peak tourist season. The reason summer is peak tourist season is because that’s when children are off of school and families can vacation together. There also happens to be some pretty stellar weather for outdoor activities.

Although summer is a beautiful time of the year, summer in Colorado Springs is hot and dry. The average temperatures range from 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is warm but not too hot to stop outdoor activities. In this region of Colorado, summer is also a popular time for festivals and special events, drawing in even more visitors and providing more options for activities.

When visiting at the peak of the summer tourist season, remember that we have afternoon thunderstorms in the mountains. So, hiking in the mountains can be cut short without proper planning. If you’re new to hiking in Colorado, the safest option is to book a hiking tour with experienced guides and locals that can keep tabs on essential things like weather for you. 

If you’re not a fan of crowds, it is a safe bet to steer clear of visiting during the summer months. Overcrowding at popular destinations like Pikes Peak or Garden of the Gods is expected in the summertime, so if you are seeking solitude, try a different time of the year. 

Best time of year to visit Colorado Springs

In our opinion, the best times of the year to visit Colorado Springs are March to May and September to October. The Spring and the Fall still see a decent number of visitors but won’t be as crowded as Summer. 

The temperatures tend to be colder in both shoulder seasons, but they are still quite comfortable for outdoor activities. Visiting Colorado Springs in the shoulder seasons also means fewer crowds and potentially lower prices on lodging and tours. 

Spring in Colorado Springs

Visiting in the Spring is a great option, especially if you are looking for outdoor activities to do. The temperatures range from 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit most days, which is excellent for those that want cool hiking temperatures. 

Another popular attraction during the Spring is the whitewater. With the mountain snow melting, the water rises and quickens in rivers and streams around the area. The higher water levels mean an increase in the opportunity for kayaking and rafting. 

Fall in Colorado Springs

Fall in Colorado Springs has begun to grow in popularity with tourists as many visitors enjoy the fall colors in the mountains. The Fall colors bring in a lot of day-trippers and weekenders, but as the temperatures begin to drop, so do the number of visitors. 

The average temperature in the Fall ranges from 45-70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is decent weather for hiking well through the first weeks of October. One of the best ways to see the Fall colors is to join one of our zip line tours. You’ll get a unique view of the foliage and get the best overlook in the area. 

If a zip line isn’t your scene, the views are still breathtaking when taking a trip up Pikes Peak by car, hiking, or choosing a Cog tour

Photo by Matt Noble on Unsplash

The offseason

While we enjoy the Spring and the Fall for outdoor activities, do not discount Winter vacations in Colorado Springs! Winter in this part of Colorado is not too cold. The average temperatures sit around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When it does snow, the snow tends to melt quickly as well. 

The only catch with visiting in the winter is that some of the hotels and other tourist attractions are closed. So, if you plan to visit in the winter, check-in in advance and book ahead of time to make sure that you can find a hotel during your stay. Plus, the hotels that remain open tend to have much better prices than any other time of the year. 

With more affordable prices in the winter, it is one of the best times to stay at the Broadmoor Hotel. If you love the holidays, you’ll enjoy the city, and the Broadmoor decorated for the season’s festivities. A winter vacation in Colorado Springs is ideal for those that like quiet winter hikes, snowshoeing, and cozy activities like cooking classes, fine arts, and food tours. 

Although it doesn’t tend to be a primary winter sports destination, it is still close enough to take a trip up the pass to ski or snowboard in Vail, Keystone, or Breckenridge. 

How to Pack for a Day Hike in Colorado

The variety of terrain and difficulty found on day hikes requires the skill of adequately packing. 

How to pack for a day hike is a skill that many have been working towards mastering for years and that all hikers need to know the basics of. Before you head out into the backcountry, your pre-trip will always require you to take a look at all of your hiking essentials. 

Day hikes in Colorado Springs can be laid back or some of the more strenuous hikes out there. To take these hikes on safely, you need to pack efficiently and effectively. While optimism and a positive mental attitude should be the first thing you pack, you can’t forget that emergencies do happen. If they happen to you, what’s inside your day pack will often determine how the situation plays out. 

If you’re new to hiking or have never hiked in Colorado before, we recommend booking a hike with a guide. Guided hiking tours will help you feel confident in a new environment and help lower risk while hiking in the mountains.

10 Essentials to pack for a day hike

The Ten Essentials are a great place to start when learning how to pack for a day hike. These were created over 80 years ago and have been modified as our technology and knowledge advance.

To begin, we’ll take a quick look at each of the ten essentials.

1. Navigation

Before you head out, you’ll need to know where you’re going and how to get there.

A map and compass are an excellent pick for navigational aids, but you can up your technology game and bring along any satellite navigation and communication devices. 

2. Sun Protection

The sun will quickly ruin your day hike and potentially lead to more serious problems if you’re unprepared.

If you adequately protect yourself with the proper layers, hats, and sunscreen, you are much less likely to experience heatstroke, dehydration, or any other sun-related illnesses. Even on cloudy days and in the winter, the UV rays can still reach you, so always be prepared!

3. Insulation

If you’re packing for a long day hike or even packing to prepare for potential hazards, extra layers will be key to keeping you safe and comfortable.

The weather flips like a switch in some environments, especially in the mountains. With the proper jackets, hats, and rain shells, you can be ready to take on anything mother nature throws at you. 

4. Illumination

Any day hike can turn into an overnighter if you lose the trail or get turned around unexpectedly (especially if you neglect navigation).

Pack a headlamp or flashlight with spare batteries, so you don’t need to shuffle your way through the dark. 

5. First-Aid

There’s no need for a complicated first aid kid unless you are a professional, but it’s important to have a basic kit ready for any injuries you or other hikers may have.

Remember, not all kits are made for all environments. Buy a basic kit and make changes to it to fit your experience level and the needs of your group. 

6. Fire

Being ready for anything means being prepared to keep yourself warm, cook food, and treat water when in the backcountry.

Fire starting supplies such as waterproof matches, a lighter, or a Ferro rod are great options to help get a fire anywhere. Pick what you are the most comfortable with and pack a spare.

7. Repair kit and tools

Packing a repair kit can seem like overpacking when you’re planning on just going out for the day, but it can be one of the most important things you bring along.

You will find more uses for duct tape and a knife than you ever thought imaginable when you need it out there. 

8. Nutrition

Every day of our lives appears to be driven by, “what meal will we have next?”

When you go out into the backcountry, this question is asked even more frequently as your body works harder than normal to bring you from place to place. Even if you bring out just a few calorie-dense snacks on your day hike, you’ll be grateful. The best practice is to bring at least an extra day’s worth of calories.

9. Hydration

No matter if you’re out in the dead of winter or on one of the guided hiking tours in Colorado Springs during the hottest day of the year, water is always your best friend.

Water keeps you warm in the winter and cools in the summer. Almost every ailment you start experiencing in the backcountry comes with the initial treatment recommendation of “drink some water.” Unsurprisingly, it usually works. 

10. Emergency Shelter

Going out means going out ready for your trip plans to change drastically. In most cases, you’ll never end up spending a night out that was unplanned.

However, if you ever find yourself in that situation, an emergency shelter will be a lifesaver. This can be a small bivy (like a one-person waterproof cocoon) or simply a tarp to protect yourself from the elements. 

More about comfort, less about survival

The Right Pack

The right backpack for day hiking is going to be a complete game-changer when you’re out hiking. A comfortable bag with enough space and support will turn a miserable experience into a walk in the park. For starters, I recommend buying a 30-40 liter pack if you are focused on day hikes.

40-liter packs can be used for short overnight trips but aren’t overkill for just a day. 

Do some research on different packs that give you the back support you need. Certain brands like Osprey will form-fit each pack to your back. This can be helpful, especially if you have a history of back problems. 

Don’t let not having the perfect day hiking pack stop you though! Start with the bag you have and upgrade when you’re ready.

The Right Shoes

Nobody wears flip-flops to the prom, and nobody should wear high heels out on the trail. The right shoes for you will be shoes that are comfortable, sturdy, broken in, and give you good ankle support. After those basics, you can begin looking at the different styles of rubber, traction designs, and waterproof construction.

Wearing the right shoes helps to avoid blisters, which means you won’t need to break into your first aid kit. The more preventative measures you can take to save on supplies will leave you even more prepared for your next day hike. 

How to Pack for a Day Hike

Now that we’ve hit the basics of what you need to pack, it’s important to talk about the process of packing.

The ABCs

The ABCs are a valuable tool for packing a backpack so that it fits comfortably and makes hiking easier. While most people will only use this method with multi-day trips, it’s helpful to consider when you are doing day hikes as well. Like I mentioned earlier, some day hikes in Colorado Springs can push you to your limit. Packing a comfortable bag will take a lot of strain off your back and make these hikes more enjoyable.

Accessibility- When you’re packing, make sure things you’ll need while hiking are packed on top or in an external pocket that you can easily get to. This includes things like rain gear, snacks, and especially a headlamp. Looking for a headlamp without a headlamp can be the most frustrating thing you’ll do all year long. 

Balance- Having a bag that pulls you to one side will end with a cranked back and one leg that takes on a lot more stress throughout the day. The key is to make your pack well-balanced to maximize comfort. The weight should be evenly distributed from side to side, and you want the majority of the weight to be in the bottom third of your bag. 

Compression- Here’s what can save you after packing a long list of essentials to bring on any day hike. Gear that compresses down into a small pouch is the best gear for hiking. After all, you don’t need to buy an 80-liter pack to go out for the day. Invest in a few compression bags to squeeze everything down into a small space. 

Know your Environment

You need to know what kind of a hike you are headed into and what that environment may throw at you. This means looking at the current weather forecast, the weather trends for your location, and reviews of the hike from recent days. 

You can gather information from apps (like AllTrails), with hikers going out onto these trails every day. If one person notices a dried-up river where most hikers rely on water, you wouldn’t know this without their comment. Utilize social platforms to gather as much information as you can before heading out. 

This information will help you greatly when packing your bag. It will tell you if you need extra socks because everything is muddy and wet or if you need to bring a down jacket for when you get up above 11,000 feet of elevation.

If you’re uncertain about reading this information and transferring it into packing, don’t hesitate to reach out for guided trips in Colorado Springs. These are fantastic resources when first learning how to be comfortable in the backcountry. 

What to Wear Hiking in Colorado

When you’re spending time planning a hiking vacation in Colorado, pouring yourself into the details, you’re envisioning everything goes right. You’re picturing smiles and laughter, time unplugged in nature, and memories made – whether by yourself or with your family. However, there’s a relatively easy way for things to go wrong. 

Being unprepared for Colorado’s weather patterns can not only put a wringer in your vacation – it can compromise your safety, too. We’ve put expert advice together to compile this informative overview of what to wear hiking in Colorado. You can also check out our other post on Hiking Safety in Colorado

Typical Weather

Before you can decide what to wear hiking, accommodate yourself with Colorado’s climate

  • Spring: Spring weather in the Colorado Springs area means pretty drastic temperature shifts from day to night. Highs can be anywhere in the 50s and lows in the 20s. 
  • Summer: Summer in the Colorado mountains is definitely warmer than spring. However, with highs in the mid-80s and lows in the low 50s, these significant shifts in temperature from day to night mean you’ll still need to pack more than just a t-shirt and sunblock. 
  • Fall: Highs in the 60s and lows in the 30s is just about perfect weather for hiking in Colorado, but it doesn’t mean you don’t need to bring plenty of layers – just in case you are hiking later in the day than you planned. 
  • Winter: Temperatures in Colorado Springs hang out in the 40s in the day and high teens at night during the winter.
Photo by Reymark Franke on Unsplash

Layering

Wearing and bringing extra layers with you is crucial when hiking in Colorado’s mountains. At the very least, your basic hiking outfit/packed extras should contain the following:

  • Moisture-wicking base layer.
  • Moisture-wicking undergarments.
  • Insulating layer. In summer, this may be a warm fleece, depending on the weather forecast. In winter, this needs to be a heavyweight insulated synthetic or down stuffed jacket, like a “puffy.”
  • Rain jacket
  • Wool or fleece hat
  • Extra socks. We prefer wool.
Photo by ArtHouse Studio from Pexels

The Problem with Cotton

There’s a phrase in the outdoor world that warns us, “Cotton kills.” While this sounds extreme and is not the case in every climate, it should definitely be kept in mind when hiking anywhere in Colorado. 

Cotton is hydrophilic, which means it loves water; the plant fibers attract moisture and hold onto it, so it dries out very slowly. It’s highly absorbent and can hold up to 27 times its weight in water. This means our bodies must work extra hard to heat ourselves along with the cotton fabric in an attempt to dry it out. This can be dangerous in climates such as Colorado’s that have major temperature shifts from day to night and storms that seem to come out of nowhere. 

Unsafe Cotton Scenarios

Imagine you’re hiking in any season – you’re working hard and exerting yourself physically, so naturally, you work up a sweat. Your hydrophilic cotton shirt is absorbing every drop of sweat your body generates as you’re hiking up and over mountains. 

Now, imagine you’re wearing that sweaty cotton shirt, and it’s getting late in the day, and the temperature is dropping fast. You’re going back down the mountain, and although the descent is brutal on your knees, your body temperature is dropping quickly because you aren’t using much energy hiking downhill. With strong winds that can decrease your body temperature in seconds, things can take a turn for the worse very quickly from here.

However, the good news is that this scenario is entirely avoidable with knowledge, good preparation, and mindful packing. When packing for your hiking trip in Colorado, it’s best to keep the phrase “cotton kills” in your mind.

What to Wear Hiking Instead of Cotton

Head to any outdoor gear store, and you’re bound to see the term “moisture-wicking” on dozens of tags. Moisture-wicking fabrics like synthetic and wool fabrics are the opposite of cotton: they are hydrophobic, meaning they resist water penetration. 

Polyester and nylon are top contenders among synthetic moisture-wicking fabrics, and wool is the leader (and my personal favorite) when it comes to natural fibers. Whether you get soaked in a downpour or sweat profusely on your hike, your moisture-wicking shirt, pants, and socks are going to dry super quickly and not leave you cold and clammy like cotton will. 

Additionally, wool is a superb natural insulator. This makes wool the leader in fabrics that transition from daytime to nighttime hiking in areas where temperatures shift dramatically, like Colorado. 

But isn’t wool too hot for summertime hiking?

You can purchase 100% wool hiking attire that is lightweight enough to wear while hiking in the summer in Colorado. Just look for base layers – they can be pricey but incredibly versatile and suitable for all of Colorado’s seasons.

Things to Remember

When considering what to wear while hiking in Colorado, it’s important to think past just your clothing. 

  • If you have sensitive skin, make sure you bring sunscreen to apply on all exposed skin, following the bottle’s directions. 
  • Sunglasses and hats can protect your eyes, neck, and face from the sun.
  • Bug spray will help keep the gnats at bay.
  • Colorado is home to over 27 types of ticks and 20 tick-borne diseases, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. To prevent ticks from crawling onto your skin, opt out of the shorts, and wear long pants tucked into your socks. Even if it’s hot, your moisture-wicking pants will keep you cool enough to hike. Also, remember to learn more about Colorado tick bite prevention, dangers, and bite protocols.
  • Footwear should be closed-toed and provide adequate ankle support for optimal safety. 

Conclusion

Safety is the most important thing to consider when planning what to wear hiking in Colorado. If you’re unclear on how to hike safely, consider coming on one of our Guided Hiking Tours in Colorado Springs. We’ll make sure you’ve dressed appropriately, show you around Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods, and keep you safe!