Wonderfully Beautiful Colorado Springs Hikes

From sky-high peaks to red rock gardens there are plenty of Colorado Springs hikes to add to your to-do list. As one of the premier hiking destinations in the Front Range, the hiking trails in Colorado Springs offer a variety of scenery for every type of hiker.

Located just two hours from Denver, you’ll find plenty of unique Colorado Springs trails like the spires of Garden of the Gods, wild colors of Painted Mines, and the deep canyons of the Royal Gorge near the Springs.

As a Colorado local for the past 12 years, I know a thing or two about hiking in Colorado. In fact, it’s my day job to write about the outdoors, so you can say I’m a literal pro at hiking. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the best hikes near Colorado Springs and you thrive on getting outside, then you’re in the right place. 

It’s my mission to give you exclusive, local Colorado hiking trails and tips you won’t find anywhere else. So get ready to enjoy Colorado Springs hikes like a local, not a tourist.

About this Guide to the Best Colorado Springs Hikes

There are so many fantastic hiking trails in Colorado Springs, it’s actually difficult to narrow down the list! What I love about hiking in the Springs is the variety of terrain available to you – which is why I keep coming back to this awesome hiking locale. 

Inside this local guide to Colorado Springs hikes you’ll find:

  • Incredible, but easy hikes near Colorado Springs
  • Moderate hiking trails in Colorado Springs you’ve got to check out
  • And the best challenging hikes near Colorado Springs
  • Practical info about each hike
  • The best time to hit the trails in Colorado Springs
  • Quick tips for hiking in Colorado
  • Additional Colorado hiking adventures

Map of the best Colorado Springs Hikes

Use this interactive map to quickly and easily find all of the best Colorado Springs hikes. You can also use this link here

.

The Best Easy Hikes Near Colorado Springs

You’ll find plenty of hiking trails in Colorado Springs for visitors new to the altitude or families of all ages to enjoy.

1. Palmer Trail at Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is not only one of the most scenic places in Colorado, but the trails that trace through this landscape also make up some of the most beautiful hikes in Colorado too. This loop combines The Palmer Trail to Buckskin-Charlie, Niobrara, and the Bretang Trail to make a tour-de-garden. You’ll pass by all of the main rock formations at Garden of the Gods and gawk at the towering red rock formations. 

Be sure to pick up a map or snag a photo at the info kiosk near the trailhead because many of these trails bleed and blend.

It does get crowded here, so if you’re seeking solitude, show up before 7 am (also the best time for photography).

Local Tip: For a completely accessible, paved loop, hike the Perkins Central Garden Trail.

Distance: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 449 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Time: 1-2 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes, on-leash
Highlights: Stunning red rock spires, mountain views, and mellow hiking terrain.
Drive Time from Colorado Springs: 15 min

colorado springs hikes

2. Mount Cutler Trail

Mount Cutler is a short Colorado Springs hike that still offers nice summit views. Located in Cheyenne Canyon, this trail is quite popular since it is good for families as well as leashed dogs. When you reach the top, enjoy the panorama of the city of Colorado Springs right in front of you.

Distance: 1.7 miles out & back
Elevation Gain: 472 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Time:  1-1.5 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes, on-leash
Highlights: Kid-friendly, mountain views, quick
Drive Time from Colorado Springs: 15 min

3. Mesa/Greenlee Loop

Take a lovely tour of Red Rock Canyon Open Space on the Mesa/Greenlee Loop. Located in the Off-Leash Dog Area, this is an excellent hike for Fido if you want to enjoy a Colorado Springs hiking trail sans leash. The wide trail runs parallel to the canyon walls, offering a good perspective of the sandstone rock formations in Red Rock, with views of Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak as well.

Distance: 2.8-mile loop
Elevation Gain: 262 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Time:  1-1.5 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes, leash not required
Highlights: Funky red rock formations, mountain views, off-leash for doggos
Drive Time from Colorado Springs: 10 min

4. Paint Mines Trail

Explore the unique attraction of Paint Mines Interpretive Park on this easy trail through the grasslands and strange geologic formations. 

Along the Paint Mines Trail, you will see vibrant hoodoos, clay formations, and sandstone spires, along with views of the local prairie land and the imposing Pikes Peak. The incredibly cool and colorful rock features make this a must-do Colorado Springs hike.

Distance: 3.4-mile loop
Elevation Gain: 334 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Time: 1-1.5 hours
Dog Friendly: No
Highlights: colorful hoodoos reminiscent of Death Valley, unique rock formations, great photo opportunities.
Drive Time from Colorado Springs: 45 min

best hikes in colorado springs

5. Ute Valley Park Loop

For a quick jaunt just outside of the heart of Colorado Springs, head to Ute Valley Park. This park is a popular escape into nature, with lots of trails to choose from. The Ute Valley Park Loop gives you a good overview of the area, featuring a ridge overlook and the Laramie Formation arch. 

Local Tip: Just be aware that because there are so many trails in the park, it’s easy to accidentally – or intentionally! – branch off of the main loop.

Distance: 3.8-mile loop
Elevation Gain: 433 feet
Difficulty: Easy to moderate (navigation is tricky)
Estimated Time:  1.5-2 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes, on-leash
Highlights: Arch, great for practicing navigation, city views
Drive Time from Colorado Springs: 15 min

6. Intemann Trail

This steady, semi-steep ascent through Crystal Park will take you through vast fields, into expansive woodlands, and past some pretty cool rock formations.

Eventually, you’ll come across Crystal Park Road and a pretty little stream where you can relax for a bit before you continue with a steeper portion of the hike.

And while there aren’t a ton of epic views, it’s a nice, quiet hike through the woods that is well-suited for hikers of varying abilities.

Distance: 3.8 -mile out and back
Elevation Gain: 583 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Time: 1.75 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes, leash required
Highlights: Stream, gnarly rock formations, vast forests
Drive Time from Colorado Springs: 15 min

7. Roundup Trail/Contemplative Trail

Located right near Manitou Springs in Red Rock Canyon Open Space, this incredible trail is best used between April and September since it’s a popular place for running, running, and hiking.

It is one of the more popular Colorado Springs hikes in the list so do try to visit early in the morning for a bit of solitude.

You also may want to download an offline map of this trail since navigation using trail markers can be a bit of a challenge.

Other than that, just enjoy the nice incline and some ultra-rad views of the Garden of the Gods.

Distance: 3.5 -mile loop
Elevation Gain: 488 feet
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Estimated Time: 1.5-2 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes, leash not required
Highlights: Neat red rock formations, Garden of the Gods views.
Drive Time from Colorado Springs: 10 min

8. Helen Hunt Falls

Make your way through North Cheyenne Cañon Park and use one of the best hikes in Colorado Springs to check out this beautiful, 35-foot tall waterfall.

It cascades down the North Cheyenne Creak and is easily accessible from the parking lot..

The falls are also best enjoyed in the spring or early summer, just after the snow melts and when the water volume is at its greatest.

And if you’re looking for a slightly more challenging hike in Colorado Springs, hop on the Columbine Trail. It’s a fun, 4-mile hike that will take you all the way from Cheyenne Canyon to Helen Hunt Falls.

Distance: 0.1 miles, out and back
Elevation Gain: 19 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Time: 3 minutes
Dog Friendly: Yes, leash required
Highlights: Waterfall
Drive Time from Colorado Springs: 30 min

The Best Moderate Hikes Near Colorado Springs

These Colorado Springs trails offer a nice workout along with some great scenery. From canyons to hill walks, you’ll get your heart pumping along these moderate Colorado Springs hikes.

9. Seven Bridges Trail

This lovely hike follows North Cheyenne Creek, and you’ll cross, you guessed it, seven bridges along the trail. Since the trail is wooded, it’s a great choice for shade on a blazing summer day or a stunning fall hike when the aspens turn to gold. Seven Bridges is a good hike if you like waterfalls, as you’ll encounter several waterfalls on this hike as you walk. The creek also provides a cool respite if you start to overheat.

Local tip: Trailhead parking is in Lot 18, but during the week, you’ll need to drive up Gold Camp Road to get there. On weekends, Cheyenne Canyon Road is open, and you can take that instead.

Distance: 3.5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 912 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Estimated Time: 2-3 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes, on-leash
Highlights: Wildflowers, water features, and stairs.
Drive Time from Colorado Springs: 20 min

10. Pulpit Rock Park Loop

For awesome views of the Rampart Range and Colorado Springs itself, make your way up to Pulpit Rock. Most of this Colorado Springs hike is easy, but if you decide to go all the way to the summit of the mesa, you’ll need to do a little scrambling with steep drop-offs on some not-so-sturdy rock. 

But if you’re careful, it’s pretty fun to make your way to the top of the funky formation of Pulpit Rock. The views of the Springs and plains beyond make it worth the effort.

Distance: 4.2-mile loop
Elevation Gain: 557 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Estimated Time: 2-3 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes, on leash although some dogs might like the scramble.
Highlights: Scrambling, city views
Drive Time from Colorado Springs: 15 min

11. Royal Gorge Canyon Rim

The Royal Gorge Canyon plummets to a maximum depth of 1,250 feet down staggering rock walls until it hits the heart of the Arkansas River. Many people come to walk the bridge or even raft the river, but hiking the rim is just as awe-inspiring.

This hike hugs the rim as it winds its way through the trees, giving you peeping views of the canyon along the way. Eventually, you’ll reach a lollipop loop where you’re treated to sweeping vistas of the canyon below.

Distance: 5 miles out and back
Elevation Gain: 600 feet
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Estimated Time: 2.5 hours
Dog Friendly: yes, on leash
Highlights: canyon views, some exposure, scenic driving nearby
Drive Time from Colorado Springs: 1 hour

hikes near colorado springs

12. Mount Muscoco Trail

This short but steep trail in Cheyenne Canyon packs a punch along the way to the incredible views on the summit. 

After you ease onto the first section of the trail, you’ll head directly up Mount Muscoco on a slippery gravel trail, so hiking boots are highly recommended to maintain your footing. 

The work to get to the summit is worth it when you’re rewarded with panoramic views of the mountains and Colorado Springs in the distance. You can even catch glimpses of waterfalls, historic mining ruins, and windmills.

Distance: 4 miles out & back
Elevation Gain: 1,292 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Estimated Time: 2-3 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes, on-leash
Highlights: summit views, wildflowers, mountain vistas, mining ruins, waterfalls
Drive Time from Colorado Springs: 15 min

13. St. Mary’s Falls

Experience a beautiful Colorado waterfall hike while escaping the crowds at Helen Hunt Falls by taking the trail to St. Mary’s Falls instead. 

Starting off Gold Camp Road in Cheyenne Canyon, you’ll head away from the popular trailhead and follow the road to the forest. After a relaxing wooded walk, you’ll take a final turn and some steep switchbacks all the way up to the stunning 300-foot waterfall. 

Splash around and enjoy the soothing sounds of rushing water before you head back. You can also add on a trip to Mount Rosa if you still have some energy to burn on a steep slope to the summit for more excellent views.

Distance: 6 miles out & back
Elevation Gain: 1,394 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Estimated Time: 3-4 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes, on-leash
Highlights: waterfall, wildflowers, wonderful scenery
Drive Time from Colorado Springs: 20 min

14. Palmer Trail

Also known as Section 16, the Palmer Trail Loop is an absolute gem among the many Colorado Springs trails. You’ll get a good workout with the elevation gain, but the incline is mostly gradual, and you can enjoy the gorgeous scenery of Garden of the Gods and Red Rock Canyon Open Space along the way. After the incline increases, you’ll reach a ridge that provides amazing southern views to soak in before heading down the back of the loop.

If you want to choose your own adventure, the Palmer Trail connects with lots of other trails including the Intemann Trail leading into Red Rock Canyon Open Space and eventually Manitou Springs. From there you could connect and combine with the Ute Pass Trail, the Barr Trail, or even the Manitou Incline if you’re feeling feisty.

Distance: 5.7-mile loop
Elevation Gain: 1,325 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Estimated Time: 3-4 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes, on-leash
Highlights: Great connecting circuit for a long day out, wildflowers, mountain views
Drive Time from Colorado Springs: 10 min

The Best Difficult Hikes Near Colorado Springs

Challenge yourself with these difficult Colorado Springs hikes, which will have both your legs and lungs burning. 

15 Pikes Peak

Many people consider this the most challenging hike in Colorado Springs – and with good reason! There are three ways to reach the summit of Pike’s Peak (cog train, drive, or walk), one of the best 14ers near Denver and hiking the Barr Trail is certainly the hardest. 

The Barr Trail is a super famous, 25-mile out-and-back hike that many peak baggers consider the ultimate slog. There are over 57 brutal switchbacks on this trail! Oof!

However, if you don’t want to hoof it back down, you can opt to do the 12.5 miles one way, then hitch a ride on the train to get back down and save your knees.

Local Tip: Those that want to do the entire trek can opt to stay at Barr Camp where you can stay in a hut and get meals cooked for you during your stay.

Distance: 12.5 miles one way
Elevation Gain: 7,434 feet
Difficulty: Very Strenuous
Estimated Time: 6-10 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes, on-leash
Highlights: 14er summit, Barr camp, bragging rights
Drive Time from Colorado Springs: 20 min

best hikes near colorado springs
Pikes Peak, Colorado – the highest summit of the Rocky Mountains at 14,115 ft.

16. Manitou Incline

The infamous Incline is the iconic hike on the Front Range to test your physical stamina. Making it to the top of the Manitou Incline is a major milestone, but this hike is not for the faint of heart or for those looking for Type 1 fun – unless you consider 2,000 feet of elevation gain in under a mile a good time!

Before it became one of the most popular hiking trails in Colorado Springs and best hikes near Denver, the Manitou Incline was part of the Cog Railway, hence the steps and the steep ascent. 

The grade reaches up to 68% at times and will probably make you want to give up. But if you keep going, you’ll be rewarded with awesome views and a serious sense of accomplishment. Be sure to take the Barr Trail back down to save your body and stay out of the way of other hikers on their way up the Incline.

Local tip: Free reservations are now required for this extremely popular hike, and you can make Manitou Incline reservations here.

Distance: 0.88 miles to the top (4 miles down the Barr Trail to descend)
Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet
Difficulty: Super Strenuous
Estimated Time: 1-3 hours
Dog Friendly: No
Highlights: Tackle an iconic Colorado activity, butt workout, bragging rights.
Drive Time from Colorado Springs: 20 min

Additional Colorado Planning Resources

Ready to hike in Colorado? Check out these must-see resources:

PIN THIS POST

Known as one of the best hiking destinations in Colorado, Colorado Springs offers a huge array of wonderful hiking trails. If you're headed to Colorado Springs, here are the best hikes and things to do that you can't miss!

Hi There!

Meg aka Fox is a 30-something who's born to explore. Her mission is to get you out on your greatest adventure. She'd rather be dirty than done up.