7 Short Easy Hikes in the Springs

Because sometimes you just want to get outside and go easy. These trails are perfect for families with young kids and nature seekers of all abilities.

Not every hike has to be an epic adventure or fastest known time. Sure there’s a time to push for a new PR on the Incline or explore a steep, new summit. But sometimes you just want to get outside — need to get outside — with the kids, or the older parents or the friends visiting from sea level. Maybe you just need a chance to walk with a friend, kickstart a new fitness plan or acclimate because you’re new in town. That’s when these easy hikes come in handy. 

These trails in local parks and open spaces are short and flat, at least by local standards. They give space for young kids to explore nature without pushing to the point of a meltdown. And they’re all surrounded by much larger trail networks, so if you’re feeling good, it’s easy to add another trail, or two or three, and keep exploring the great Colorado Springs outdoors. 

Enjoy these short, easy hikes in the Springs, and let us know if you have other favorites. 

Cheyenne Canon

Columbine Trail 

2 miles

The Columbine Trail begins at the Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center at the entrance to North Cheyenne Cañon Park. You can follow the wide, gentle path alongside Cheyenne Creek for a mile into the canyon before it gets steep. And there are multiple spots where kids can splash and play in the creek.

Want More? 

Follow the Columbine Trail 3.8 miles up the canyon to Helen Hunt Falls, but note that it will get steeper and gain nearly 1,300 feet in elevation. 

Here’s the trail map. 


Cheyenne Mountain State Park

Cheyenne Mountain State Park offers some of the best trails in Colorado Springs, shown here beneath the namesake mountain.
Cheyenne Mountain State Park offers some of the best trails in Colorado Springs. Photo by Victor Farmiga.

Acorn Alley Trail

0.5 miles

This half-mile trail delivers easy hiking along a gentle slope on a universally accessible pathway. The trail circles north of the campground, and it’s one of Cheyenne Mountain State Park’s pet-friendly trails. With lots of sunny exposure among the scrub oak, Acorn Alley makes a great year-round option.

Want More? 

Add another mile with a combined loop on Bobcat Way and Soaring Kestrel trails. 

Here’s the trail map. 


Garden of the Gods

Walking through the center of the rock formations at Garden of the Gods
Just because it’s easy doesn’t make it any less beautiful in the center of Garden of the Gods. Photo by Jeremy Jones.

Perkins Central Garden Trail

0.8 miles

There are so many options for easy hikes with gorgeous views in Garden of the Gods. The easiest is a classic loop among the Gateway rocks and Sentinel Rock on this fully paved, gentle and wheelchair-accessible path from the main parking lot.

Want More?

Add a relatively flat, approximately 2-mile loop from the parking lot following the Dakota Trail, Foothills Trail, Gateway Trail and Susan G. Bretag Trail. This is a great option if the central Garden is especially busy.

Here’s the trail map.


North Monument Valley Park

tunnel of golden leaves in North Monument Valley Park, Colorado Springs
A tunnel of golden leaves in North Monument Valley Park. Photo by Jeremy Jones.

Pikes Peak Greenway Trail and park loops

0.5 miles

This is literally a walk in the park. But we’re big fans of this leafy Old North End outdoor space. The playground, curving rock walls and grassy fields make it perfect for little kids, and the stately tree canopy usually glows with color deep into fall. Park on the east side where Fontanero Street runs into the park. Then head down the wide, universally accessible path into the park. We recommend taking a hard right at the bottom of the hill to make a singletrack loop through the trees. It will feel more adventurous for the littles, and if you’re lucky, you might see nesting owls overhead. It’s only about 0.5 miles to the north edge of the park where the wide path loops back, so you can keep your distance as short as you want. 

Want More? 

You can follow the wide Pikes Peak Greenway south and make a full 4.3 mile loop of the entire Monument Valley Park.

Here’s the trail map.


Palmer Lake

Santa Fe Open Space

2 miles

Start this hike at the Palmer Lake Recreation Area, aka the lake in the center of Palmer Lake. Kids will love throwing stones and feeding ducks before or after your hike. You have to follow the wide, flat New Santa Fe Regional Trail for a half-mile south to the entrance into the Santa Fe Open Space. Then you’ll have a roughy 1-mile loop with views of Ben Lomand Mountain, Elephant Rock and Mount Herman. Follow the Ranch Road and Far View Trail for a sunny loop; then return on the New Santa Fe Trail.

Want More?

Add another half-mile to the east side of your loop on the Burlington Trail. 

Here’s the trail map.


Palmer Park

Grandview Trail

1-2 miles

Palmer Park is an outdoor oasis for an excellent hike in the center of town. Park in the Grandview Overlook parking lot and start and end your hike with a spectacular view of the city and full Front Range. Follow the easy Grandview Trail east to contour the ridge through sandstone rock, scrub oak stands and shadier pine forest. The trail remains generally flat for about 1.2 miles before dropping downhill at the big curve in the road. So go as far as you want; then return the way you came. 

Want More? 

At about 0.8 miles, you can take a left onto the more rugged but intermediate Cheyenne Trail to add a half-mile loop to your route. 

Here’s the trail map.


Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Contemplative Trail

1.5 miles

From the west side of the park’s first parking lot off of Highway 24, follow the Sand Creek Trail 0.2 miles, then take the right fork onto the Contemplative Trail. You’ll wind around red sandstone ridges for a half-mile, gaining 150 feet of elevation. Kids will love exploring the rocks. You can return the way you came or loop back on the Sand Canyon Trail.

Want More? 

Follow the Sand Canyon Trail up to another mile higher into the canyon. 

Here’s the trail map.


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Jeremy Jones
Jeremy Jones is Springs’ co-founder, editorial director and chief outdoor officer. He loves building community by telling stories about all the people, places and culture that make Colorado Springs an amazing place to live. And he’s especially stoked when exploring new places in the Springs, Colorado and beyond. Watch for him hiking, running or mountain biking the local trails with his wife and kids.

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