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!

Reasons to Hike with a Guide in the Winter

If you are looking for a fun way to experience the outdoors this winter, Colorado Springs is the perfect place to be. There are so many exciting activities available all year round in our beautiful state, and winter hiking is one particularly wonderful way to experience the beauty of Mother Nature up close and personal.

The Wonders of Winter Hiking 

If you have never gone hiking in the snow before, there are a myriad of reasons, both aesthetic and healthful, to lace up your boots. Hiking in the snow is quite a workout, burning extra calories as your body works to stay warm. It also provides a needed boost of sunlight in those darker months, as the snow reflects those happy rays back up to you. Finally, with mosquitos or other pesky insects hiding from the cold, you can enjoy the hike free from bites and other annoyances. 

Aesthetically speaking, winter is a gorgeous time to enjoy the beauty of Colorado Springs. The is snow hanging from our pine and spruce trees. There’s soft powder crunching under your feet, and the feeling of crisp winter air in your chest. Winter hiking is a wonderful way to get outdoors and enjoy the snow and scenery. 

Photo by Raja Sen on Unsplash

Benefits of Hiking with a Guide in the Winter

Before you hit the trails, one thing you should consider is starting with a guided hike. Whether you are an adventurous type who does not let the snow stop them or a tentative reader desperate to get out of the house, all hikers should start with guided hiking in Colorado Springs. There are a lot of benefits of hiking with a professional guide. Both for your safety and your overall enjoyment of the trip.

Winter Weather Conditions Can Be Unpredictably Dangerous

Especially in a mountainous region like Colorado Springs, weather conditions can change quickly and without warning. Not only can you get stuck in an unanticipated flurry or white-out, but you could be contending with temperature drops. Hiking with a guide is a great way to ensure that you time your trip for the best weather possible and that you are well prepared for the unexpected.

Hiking in the Winter Happens on a Different Schedule

Another aspect of a winter hike that beginners are not used to is the proper pace and timeline to keep. Unlike a trail adventure in warmer conditions, winter hikers should snack while walking or take only short breaks. It is very easy to rest for too long while eating and bring your body temperature down a dangerous amount. With all the calories it takes to heat up again, you could actually end up burning more calories than you took in with your snack! A guide can provide the proper timekeeping to help make sure that you stay warm and safe on the trail. These and other helpful winter hiking safety tips will ensure that you and your family have a safe guided hike.

Proper Clothing Will Keep You Warm and Happy on a Winter Hike

On a related note, dressing for a winter hike can be sort of counterintuitive. This is because you should start a hike slightly cold, as your body will warm up faster. You also need to dress wisely to avoid sweating, as this would make you colder. If you don’t know how to dress on a winter hike, having a guide’s instruction can be the difference between a cold, dangerous trip and a pleasant one.

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

A Guided Hike is a Great Family Activity

If you have children, a guided hike is just one winter activity for the whole family to consider. While you may let your kids run around and explore in other seasons, it is especially important to have a guide in the winter. Your guided hike will be tailored to your family member’s ages and skill levels. You can rest assured that your kids are in safe hands while you enjoy some quality bonding in nature.

Guided Hiking Can Be a Great Opportunity for Experiential Education 

Maybe you are just looking to get out of the house and enjoy some quiet time with your own thoughts. Then again, maybe you just have yet to experience the amazing breadth of knowledge that naturalists and other outdoors people have. A winter hike in beautiful Colorado Springs can be a great time to see elk, deer, and other non-hibernating animals. Professional guides can also teach about local ecosystems, identify trees, and the history of Colorado Springs’ awe-inspiring geological formations. If you have yet to go on a guided hike of the area, this winter is the perfect time to get a Wikipedia-level lesson on all the interesting things our natural environment has to offer. 

Winter hiking in Colorado Springs provides so many breathtaking vistas to behold. As if Garden of the Gods is not already stunning enough, don’t miss it with that layer of pure-white snow. North Cheyenne Cañon Park similarly turns into a winter wonderland with unlimited picture-perfect views. Hello, family portrait for next year’s holiday cards!


A winter hike has so many benefits for your mind and body, your relationship with our planet, and your social media feed. When you are ready to head up the trail, be sure to reserve your spot on a guided hike. Having a professional with you will keep everyone safe and leave you with a rejuvenated appreciation for the world around you. There really is no better way to experience wintertime in Colorado Springs!