Best Hikes in Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs is far from lacking in outdoor activities or people that enjoy the outdoors. Hiking is easily one of the most popular outdoor activities that Colorado Springs offers. There are many hikes to choose from, so which are the best? Choosing which hikes are the best in Colorado Springs is not an easy task and ultimately it depends on what you want to get out of the hike. We break it down for you, the best hikes from the most challenging to the more leisurely hikes with awe-inspiring views.
Paint Mines Interpretive Park
Paint Mines Interpretive Park is located approximately 30 miles east of Colorado Springs, this park will make you feel like you've been transported to another world. This hike will take around 2 to 3 hours to complete, it is 3.4 miles round trip.
The park features rare, stunning geological formations and sandstone-capped spires. While climbing the structures is not permitted, there is an overlook for the perfect vantage point. The park was appropriately named Paint Mines after the beautiful bands of white, orange, and pink clay that Native Americans used for paint. Visiting Paint Mines Interpretive Park is best done either early or late in the day according to both park rangers and photographers, this is when the light is perfect to pick up on the vibrant colors.
It is also important to note, that bikes and animals are not permitted on the trails. Even more important, there are limited facilities on-site and no shade along the way, so make sure you use plenty of sunscreen, bring a hat, and plenty of water.
Seven Falls Waterfall and Midnight Falls Hike
Broadmoor's Seven Falls is the enjoy nature's beauty, you will easily find yourself spending 2 to 4 hours here. The walk to the bottom of the canyon to the waterfalls is only a .8-mile walk. Once you reach the bottom of the waterfalls, there is a 224-step staircase to the top. If trekking up all those steps is not possible or just sounds terrible, there is an elevator to the observation deck as an alternative.
There are two hiking options once you get to the top, Midnight Falls or Inspiration Point depending on the length of the hike and what you hope to see on your hike will determine which route to take. Midnight Falls will take approximately 3o minutes round trip and offers a leisurely walk through the woods to a small waterfall. Inspiration Point is a slightly longer hike at approximately 1 hour round trip. This hike offers hikers the opportunity to reach a lookout with amazing views of Colorado Springs.
While Seven Falls Waterfall and Midnight Falls Hike are open year-round, it is occasionally closed depending on the time of year, so checking their website for availability should be a priority. There is a charge to visit Seven Falls Waterfall and Midnight Falls Hike, prices range from $10.50 to $16.50; children under 2 years old are free. Another important note, there is no parking available at the entrance of Seven Falls, visitors should park at the Norris Penrose Event Center. There is a shuttle-bus service to take you to the entrance of Seven Falls.
This is the perfect hike for the family to enjoy. It is accommodating to people of all ages and abilities.
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods offers an easy 1.5-mile round-trip hike for the entire family to enjoy. This is probably one of the better-known parks to hike, offering more than a dozen trails to explore. At Garden of the Gods, there are several options for getting around the park. The park offers Segway, e-bike, and climbing tours or visitors can take a leisurely drive around the park in their car.
Beginners will usually start with an easy stroll along Perkins Central Garden Trail, this trail offers a paved pathway that leads around and through the park's tallest red rock formations. Central Garden Trail is the best one among the dozens of trails offered to get the best lay of the land.
Garden of the Gods is open year-round and is free to anyone who wants to visit.
Helen Hunt Falls & Silver Cascade Falls Trail
Located in North Cheyenne Canon Park, Helen Hunt Falls & Silver Cascade Falls offers an easy to moderate hike, it is only a .6-mile round trip. From the moment you step outside of your car, you can enjoy the beauty of Helen Hunt Falls. The trail begins next to the visitor's center located in the upper parking lot.
Visitors will take a quick walk over a bridge that spans the first waterfall, then they will proceed up the mountain for a short nature hike up to a second waterfall.
Silver Cascade Falls is the taller of the two falls in North Cheyenne Canon Park. This trail offers handrails and graded steps on your journey up the mountain. While making the trek to the top, you will get a glimpse of water bouncing off of the rocks, as well as two viewpoints to get a better look. From the main observation deck at the top, you will get a view of North Cheyenne Canon but, a good look at Silver Cascade Falls can prove challenging.
Seven Bridges Trail
Seven Bridges Trail is appropriately named for the seven bridges that you will cross along the way. This is a 5.78-mile hike round trip and is considered a moderate hike. This hike offers the perfect amount of shady to protect visitors from the beating, hot sun. However, the best time to visit is the winter when the snowpack is low.
Hikers will challenge themselves to discover each of the seven bridges, at the beginning the first two trails' hikers come upon rather quickly but, the distance between the remaining bridges is further spaced out. The last bridge hikers will encounter is at Jones Park where hikers can complete their hike or continue with one of the other variety of trails available.
Manitou Incline is a 1-mile roundtrip hike that is best for hiking enthusiasts or athletes as this is considered an advanced hike. The hike is 2,768 steps to reach the top with steep inclines with the average grade being 45% up to 68%, Hiking Manitou incline it can take as little as 30 minutes to reach the top or more than an hour, it depends on your fitness level.
Hikers that are successful in reaching the top are rewarded with views of Colorado Springs and the eastern plains. If you find that making it to the top is not in your cards, you can bail out early on the Northern Incline Return Trail, the same trail hikers all take on the way down.
Hiking Manitou Incline is free, but they now require reservations for crowd control.