Where to Find It: Cheyenne Mountain State Park
Distance: 3.3 mile loop
Best by: Foot, mountain bike
Why You Should Go: The Sundance loop winds through the sweeping meadows below Cheyenne Mountain. This is a great winter trail that stays sunny and warm when other trails in the park remain shadowy, snowy and cold. This trail only climbs 573 vertical feet, making it highly run-able and a great loop for beginning mountain bikers to get their first taste of trail riding. In a town where most trails head straight up or down a mountain, Sundance is a real gem.
How to Get There: After entering the park, take the first left to the lower Limekiln Trailhead Parking Lot. Catch the lower Zook Loop as a short connector for a counterclockwise loop on Sundance. Trails are well marked —and color coded!—in the park.
Where to Find It: Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Distance: 1.5 miles
Difficulty: Upper section is technical. Lower section is moderate.
Best by: Mountain Bike
Why You Should Go: If you’re looking for some technical mountain biking on the west side, the Upper Codell trail rivals anything in Palmer Park. The trail stays firm in the winter when other trails in the northern section of Red Rock Canyon turn into thick, red sludge. Once you make it up and over the gauntlet of boulders on the upper section, hold on tight. You are in for a downhill you won’t forget. The lower section is flowy and rhythmic, and your friends will have to wipe the smile off your face. You’ll probably cruise right past them in your blissful trance, but there are some cool fossils to see along this trail if you can force yourself to stop. Or better yet, ride down to the eastern trailhead, cross 31st Street and hit the Fossil Brewing Company for a pint with your riding buddies.
How to Get There: Park at the 31st Street trailhead behind Rudy’s Bar-B-Q and take the Hogback Valley Trail south until it hits the gravel road on the south side of the park. Turn right, ride up as the road switches back, and look for the Upper Codell Trail on your right. It’s just before the road cuts through the buff-colored Dakota Sandstone hogback spine.
Lovell Gulch (Trail #706)
Where to Find It: Woodland Park
Distance: 5 mile loop
Best by: Foot, mountain bike, snowshoe
Why You Should Go: Sometimes living in Colorado Springs, you want more winter. Lucky for us, we can head 20 minutes up Ute Pass into a winter wonderland at 8,500 feet. Lovell Gulch is a lollipop loop winding through ponderosa pine and aspen forests, offering some amazing views of Pike’s Peak’s snowy north face. Most people hike, run or ride the loop counterclockwise, as the climb seems more gradual going in that direction. While this trail remains snow covered for much of the winter, it might be just what you are looking for.
How to Get There: In Woodland Park, bang a right at the McDonald’s light (Baldwin Street/Rampart Range Road) and head up 2.1 miles. Keep your eyes open for the trailhead parking lot on your left, where the power lines cross the road at the filtration plant.