Climbing & Hiking Trails - 16 min read

25 Best Colorado Springs Hiking Trails (Scenic Views & Dog-Friendly!)

Kimberly Anne

Kimberly Anne, Updated September 27, 2022

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The location of present-day Colorado Springs, Colorado, was a part of the American frontier before it was settled. General William Jackson Palmer founded Colorado Springs as a vacation destination.

Families and solitary travelers can find some wonderful attractions in Colorado Springs. Home to dozens of hiking paths and nature trails that stretch from grasslands up into the mountains, you will experience natural beauty and biodiversity. 

Colorado is known for its wildlife and wonderful ecological settings. Hence the fact that locals rarely have to go far, especially when there is a playground like this to find what they’re looking for. If you’re not sure where to start, we can help. Town & Tourist’s Top 25 Colorado Springs hiking routes and paths are here!

1. Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Credit: Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Red Rock Canyon Open Space is home to the giant city park in Colorado Springs with hundreds of acres to explore. This amazing hiking spot in Colorado Springs has paths with an elevation increase of 59 ft. to 2,168 ft.

There are lovely pathways for biking and hiking in the Red Rock Canyon. Plus, it’s extremely close to The Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center. There are a number of trails in the Red Rock Canyon Open Space area.

The trails wind and snake around stunning red granite ridges and canyons. There are numerous other hiking routes nearby that link to these paths. During your hike, take advantage of the free-ride bike parks and the off-leash dog areas that are nearby.

Difficulty: Easy to Challenging
Distance: Varies
Elevation: 2,168 ft.

2. Mt. Cutler and Muscoco Trailhead

Credit: Phillip Stewart / Flickr

Families, hikers and nature lovers of all ability levels, and leashed dogs are all welcome on this short trail. The Mt. Cutler and Muscoco Trail are both rated easy.

Nonetheless, this hike is an excellent choice if you want to see wildflowers in the spring or occasionally enjoy breathtaking views from the peak.

This hike provides a lot of rewards with little effort. Less than 2 miles roundtrip and gains only a little more than 500 feet in elevation – you won’t want to skip this one.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.88-miles
Elevation: 588 ft.

3. The Broadmoor Seven Falls

Credit: The Broadmoor

The Broadmoor Seven Falls is a group of seven cascading waterfalls that are part of South Cheyenne Creek in Colorado Springs’ South Cheyenne Canyon. Since it first opened in the early 1880s, the tourist destination has been owned by a private company.

Climb the arduous 224 steps to the hiking trails and the banks of shimmering streams. The streams feed the falls with their 181-foot plunge of flowing water.

Because of this, you’ll take in gorgeous valley views, spectacular rock formations, and golden formations on this hike.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3.0-miles
Elevation: 770 ft.

4. Ute Valley Parking and Hiking Trailhead 2


The park provides views, geological features, and destination-level trails that are all easily accessible to outdoor lovers in the city and the nearby communities.

Rich archeological elements, a variety of fauna, and lush vegetation can all be found in Ute Valley Park. You may even find bears, snakes, or coyotes on this trail!

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3.8-miles
Elevation: 433 ft.

5. Captain Jacks Trail Head & Peak (Trail)

Credit: Amy Turner / AllTrails

Captain Jacks Trail Head and Peak has trails that twist and turn in every direction, giving you plenty of options for a new hiking path. Near Colorado Springs, there is a breathtaking half-day hike called the Captain Jack’s Peak Trail.

As you make your way up following the terrain to the pinnacle of the 8540-foot mountain, you will certainly immerse yourself in beautiful forests. The sights, which reward with expansive mountain vistas, are well worth the effort.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 4.9-miles
Elevation: 1,102 ft.

6. Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center


The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, with its 300 million years of geological history, offers one of the most comprehensive portraits of earth history found in any place in the country.

This hiking spot is one of the best in Colorado Springs and in the country. Red rock formations and mountainous terrain make up the trails of Garden of the Gods. Sitting at the base of Pikes Peak on the west side of Colorado Springs, you’ll have plenty of hiking options here.

Tourists travel from all over the planet to this area. They come to walk the trails, observe the fauna, and take in the formations. Rufus Cable, a surveyor, passionately exclaimed that the towering fins of rock sticking over 300 feet into the air above Pikes Peak were “a perfect site for the gods to congregate” when he first saw them in 1859.

TripAdvisor named it the best park in the nation. There are paved and unpaved trails that snake through gorgeous red rock formations and provide breathtaking views of Pikes Peak.

Difficulty: Easy-Challenging
Distance: Varies
Elevation: 780 ft.

7. Seven Bridges Trail

Credit: bch12 / Flickr

Seven Bridges Trail is considered an easy to moderate trail. This beautiful Colorado Springs hiking trail has seven bridges to traverse and a steady elevation climb. Many visitors consider this majestic destination one of the best hikes in all of Colorado Springs.

The trail’s name is derived from the bridges that cross North Cheyenne Creek along the course. On a hot summer day, it’s a terrific trail for kids to cool off. In the fall, when the aspens change color, it makes for a lovely trek.

Seven Bridges Trail in Colorado Springs is a 5.78-mile hike. The path spans seven bridges as it follows a mountain creek. Public access to every trail, including the Seven Bridges in North Cheyenne Canyon all has no entry fee.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3.5-miles
Elevation: 912 ft.

8. Columbine Trail

Credit: Robbie Conaway / Flickr

Columbine Trail is part of North Cheyenne Canyon. The trail is a 6.52-mile out-and-back trail. Gleaming rivers and granite paths are just some of the sights you’ll see here. Follow the path through Cheyenne Creek, steep cliffs, mountains, and ponderosa pine woods.

The Columbine Trail is a beautiful, diverse nature trek making it a favorite among locals and visitors. The Columbine Trail offers a beautiful journey without the summit struggle.

There are steep slopes, but none of them come without the reward of stunning views. This popular, customizable, year-round route is wonderful. We recommend going early on a weekday to avoid crowds.

Three trailheads are along the route, making it easy to customize your hike. The Columbine Trail features many explorers and breathtaking landscapes making it one of the best hiking spots in Colorado Springs.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 2.7-miles
Elevation: 741 ft.

9. Austin Bluffs Open Space

Credit: Don Rademacher / Flickr

This region is well-known for the distinctive rock formations that the most recent geological uplift has produced. Approximately 585 acres make up the Austin Bluffs Open Space.

Because of the remarkable rock formations in this open space, the United States Forest Service designated it as “distinctive” in the National Feature Inventory.

There are several rock formations, including the Denver formation, Arapahoe structure, and Dawson arkose, one of which dates back to the Tertiary Eocene.

Sedimentary sandstone and arkoses sandstone were formed after the most recent phase of the region’s geologic uplift which occurred 65–70 million years ago.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 2.5-5-miles
Elevation: 679 ft.

10. Pulpit Rock Park


Due to its fascinating past and breathtaking views, Pulpit Rock Park is a fantastic trek in Colorado Springs. Pulpit Rock, which rises 6,621 feet above El Paso County, may frequently be seen from Interstate 25 between Colorado Springs and Denver.

Pulpit Rock’s top rewards climbers with sweeping views of Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak, and the surrounding area. The 500-acre Pulpit Rock Park is part of the Austin Bluffs Open Space.

The park is named after the well-known natural rock formation Pulpit Rock, which is located north of the city of Colorado Springs.

It is quite simple to visit Pulpit Rock, which is located inside the city boundaries, and trek the 4.2-mile loop to the summit.  This hike is not only one of our favorites, but it is also well-liked by the locals.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 4.2-miles
Elevation: 557 ft.

11. Cheyenne Mountain State Park


At Cheyenne Mountain State Park, just south of Colorado Springs, you can discover the diversity of nature on 2,700 acres of prairie-to-peak ecosystems along 20 miles of hiking and biking trails. There is an entry fee for this state park.

Cheyenne Mountain is a prominent landmark renowned for the Broadmoor Hotel, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and, more recently, a bunker that houses the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

There are many hiking trails here for beginners and experts alike. One of the challenging trails on Cheyenne Mountain is the Dragon’s Backbone trail. The Dragon’s Backbone route of this trail follows the rocky ridgeline that makes up Cheyenne Mountain’s summit.

Only a 17+ mile roundtrip journey from Limekiln Trailhead is required to reach it. Every arduous, steep climb up one of its overlooks is worthwhile for the views. Dragon’s Backbone is for hikers only.

Difficulty: Easy-Challenging
Distance: 1.1-15.6-miles
Elevation: 3,195 ft.

12. Paul Intemann Trail

Credit: James / Flickr

The Intemann Track now includes a brand-new 3-mile (round-trip) trail that leads to a summit that was just recently made accessible to the general public. The trail is considered moderately difficult and one of the best near Colorado Springs.

Paul Intemann Trail has a 4.81-mile popular track for mountain bikers and hikers of all skill levels. It serves as a trail that links Manitou Springs to Colorado Springs as well as Section 16 and Bear Creek Regional Park.

A well-liked trail among tourists and locals, this path was named after Paul Intemann, a city planner of Manitou Springs.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 1.8-miles
Elevation: 344 ft.

13. Cottonwood Creek Trail

Credit: Trails and Open Space Coalition

With a mixture of residential views and open panoramic scenes, the Cottonwood Creek Trail traverses northern Colorado Springs for more than 6 miles. It takes 52 minutes on average to accomplish what is typically thought of as an easy route.

Even though this is a well-liked track for trail running, hiking, and birdwatching, you can still find some peace and quiet there at slower times of the day. The months of April through October are ideal for hiking this trek. Dogs are permitted, but they must be leashed.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 5.0-6.0 miles
Elevation: 223 ft.

14. Edmondson Trail Head

Credit: ninevrise / Flickr

Head of the Santa Fe Trail, Edmondson Trail Head is the start of a gentle hike making it perfect for beginners. Part of the larger Santa Fe Trail in Colorado Springs is a nearly 17-mile trail extending through various neighborhoods and areas.

The Santa Fe Trail is a flat, gravel path that can be used for strolling, running, riding horses, and bicycling. On this trail, you’ll primarily see runners and cyclists, with the occasional dog walker. On this walk, both families and dogs are welcome!

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.94 miles
Elevation: 144 ft.

15. St. Mary’s Falls

Credit: Randy Baumhover / Flickr

St. Mary’s Falls is just near Colorado Springs and is a moderate hiking trail. Discover this 5.9-mile out-and-back track in Colorado’s Manitou Springs.

To reach the Saint Mary’s Falls beautiful region, this walk follows Buffalo Canyon Creek through old-growth aspen stands and mixed pine and spruce forests. The falls simultaneously descend a 250–300 foot granite wall.

With the Broadmoor Hotel in the forefront, this picture of Colorado Springs is really pleasant. Furthermore, if you’re looking for a more off-the-beaten-path than some of the other popular hikes on this list, you should indeed visit St. Mary’s Falls.

Difficulty: Challenging
Distance: 6.2-miles
Elevation: 1,394 ft.

16. Gray Back Peak Trailhead

Credit: Joel Tonyan / Flickr

Unranked yet aesthetically striking, Gray Back Peak is located south of Cheyenne Mountain on the east side of Emerald Valley.

The trailhead is situated on private land on the grounds of the Emerald Valley Ranch, and it almost completely leads to the top. Visitors and tourists both agree that this hiking trail has gorgeous views.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3.6-miles
Elevation: 948 ft.

17. Stratton Open Space

Credit: gailstrail2 / Flickr

For Colorado Springs, Stratton Open Space provides 318 acres of open space, pathways, and wildlife habitat. North Cheyenne Canon is followed by the Stratton Open Space.

Additionally, the Stratton offers five unique ecosystems, miles of trails, a wide range of species, and access to the Pike National Forest.

Difficulty: Easy-Challenging
Distance: 1.0-12.6-miles
Elevation: 2,224 ft.

18. Bear Creek Dog Park

Credit: Chris Sukach / Flickr

Bear Creek Regional Park is home to the 25-acre off-leash dog park. Additionally, this park offers dogs and their owners a range of hiking opportunities.

Correspondingly there are fantastic amenities including shade, a creek, a small-dog area, an agility course, and restrooms. Listed among the top 10 dog parks in the US and regarded as one of the best in the area.

Bear Creek Dog Park is rated as easy with plenty of trails nearby. With more than 100,000 visits per year, Bear Creek Dog Park is the most popular park in El Paso County.

Open farmland, hills, woodlands, and a 1/3-mile section of Bear Creek make up the park. The region is covered by a number of walking paths, including the 3/4-mile core loop and a number of minor trails.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2-miles
Elevation: 269 ft.

19. Aiken Canyon Preserve

Credit: Mile High Bug Club / Flickr

This 3.6-mile circular trail is close to Colorado Springs, Colorado; it is family-friendly but does not allow pets. It requires an average of one and a half hours to complete and is typically regarded as an easy route.

You’ll probably stumble across other people while exploring because this region is quite popular for birding, hiking, and trail running. The route is lovely to explore at any time of the year and is open all year. However, dogs must remain at home.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 3.6-miles
Elevation: 449 ft.

20. Royal Gorge Overlook Loop

Credit: Zhanna Yanushkevich / AllTrails

There are several opportunities for mountain biking, meandering paths, and vistas for adventure seekers of all skill levels. This 1.5-mile circular route is found close to Canon City, Colorado.

It generally takes 34 minutes on average to accomplish what is typically thought of as an easy route. Furthermore, you’ll probably run across other people while exploring because this area is quite popular for trail running, strolling, and hiking.

The months of March through November are generally optimum for hiking this trek. Dogs are permitted, but they must be leashed.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.5-miles
Elevation: 137 ft.

21. Barr Trail

Credit: Doug Laszacs / Flickr

Barr’s Trail is the famous 12-mile (one-way) climb to Pikes Peak. On this trail 14,115-foot peak gains are possible. There are undoubtedly 7,800 vertical feet between Manitou Springs and the summit.

Overall, this hike is one of the most challenging hikes in the Pikes Peak area. The trail offers packed soil and pebbles along with a clear path because it is well-marked and frequently used.

Although each hiker’s time to the summit of Pikes Peak is generally different, the average time is between 6 and 10 hours.

Difficulty: Challenging
Distance: 26-miles
Elevation: 7,500-14,115 ft.

22. Manitou Incline


Please be aware that the Manitou Incline has reopened with new rules and limitations. Before trekking, incline users must make a free online reservation.

The broken pieces of the Manitou Mountain Cog Railway are what make up the Incline Trail. In about a mile, the trail goes up to a height of 2000 feet.

Think about climbing a mile-long set of hard, uneven stairs. In conclusion, this trail is challenging to some, and moderate to others depending on skill level.

Eventually, getting to the top is worth it to see Colorado Springs. Likewise, most people use this trail to train because it’s a great place to do so. During your visit to Colorado Springs, you can book up to seven days ahead of time.

Difficulty: Moderate-Challenging
Distance: 2.5-miles
Elevation: 1,135 ft.

23. Midland Trail

Credit: Trails and Open Space Coalition

Learn more about this 7.9-mile out-and-back path close to Colorado Springs. The Midland Trail is easy according to local hikers. It takes approximately 2 hours and 32 minutes to accomplish.

You can enjoy bird watching, hiking, or road riding on this trail, and you probably won’t run into many other people. The months of March through October are optimum for hiking this trek. Additionally, when you bring your pup, bring a leash.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 7.9-miles
Elevation: 282 ft.

24. Paint Mines Interpretive Trail Loop

Credit: Amy Turner / AllTrails

The gentle trails of Paint Mines Interpretive Park guide visitors past overhangs, spires, carved walls, and chasms that appear in stunning hues.

Colors of gold, yellow, rose-pink, snow-white, and mauve cover the formations. Consequently, the park is rich in both animal and plant life.

This path takes 55 minutes to finish and is quite easy. Since hiking and strolling are fairly popular activities here, you can run into other people while exploring. Additionally, dogs must stay at home because this trail is off-limits to them.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.2-miles
Elevation: 272 ft.

25. Mueller State Park


A state park in Colorado, Mueller State Park is located west of Colorado Springs on 5,112 acres of land outside of Divide. 55 miles of trails are available to enjoy at this beautiful state park. You’ll find bikers, year-round campers, hikers and horseback riders alike.

As you head further down the trail you will see that the park is home to a wide range of plant species, including aspen, spruce, fir, native grasses, and wildflowers. Subsequently, the ecosystem of the park is full of small mammals, birds, and animals including elk, mule deer, and bears.

Camping, picnics, hiking, fishing, and nature studies are among the year-round recreational activities that are available to visitors. Likewise, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sledding are all wintertime activities.

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Distance: 1.0-16.0 miles
Elevation: 1,761 ft.

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