You’ll find something for everyone among these local trails, from icons to less-crowded alternatives, where you can satisfy the ambitious visitors or torture the ones driving you crazy.
For the Flatlanders
Walk the paved paths through the Gateway Rocks at Garden of the Gods and take in the spectacular views. You won’t be alone; there’s good reason millions visit the world-famous park. It’s a must-see for every out -of-town visitor, and it’s friendly to those from sea level.
You can get a full-quality nature experience and pick your level of effort on the well-marked, 27 miles of looping trails in Cheyenne Mountain State Park. The open lower meadows are perfect for catching warming winter sun. Plus you can warm up in the nature center.
For Littles with Big Energy
Fox Run Regional Park in Black Forest has options for everyone, including the kids. Head to the trail in Timber Ridge near Aspen and Spruce Lakes where you can hike around small ponds and through an enchanted-feeling forest of pines. End at the playground to burn off any remaining energy.
Take a frosty bird-watching walk around the wetlands and ponds at the Fountain Creek Nature Center. Then warm up inside with fun exhibits for the kids to explore. Hike on your own, or check out their events calendar for kid-friendly hikes and guided outdoor adventures.
For Outdoor Enthusiasts
The Manitou Incline is the quintessential bucket-list trail for your super-fit—and possibly overzealous—guests. If you think they’re up for it, or you just want to watch them suffer, head for the mile of pain, all 2,744 steps and 2,000 feet of elevation gain.
Looking for a challenging alternative? The nearby Red Mountain Trail in Manitou offers about 1,000 feet of elevation gain in just over a mile. And on the north side, the Stanley Canyon Trail on the U.S. Air Force Academy will send you up a rugged, difficult 1,400 feet in 2.1 miles.
For the Dogs
If the furry ones came to visit too, Bear Creek Dog Park is puppy paradise with 25 fenced acres that include trails, trees and a creek. Plus this off-leash park has an agility training facility, a 2-acre area just for small and senior dogs, and a dog wash too.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space offers excellent hiking trails all around, but the Upper and Lower Dog Loops give Fido unfenced, off-leash room to roam. The easiest access is from the Mesa Trail on the east end of the lower parking lot.
For Easy View Seekers
A short hike up Pulpit Rock provides surprising solitude and amazing views with easy access. There are numerous trails heading up, but generally count on 2 miles round trip. Reaching the top of the rock does require some scrambling, so beware of ice. If you want to lengthen your hike, head south into the Austin Bluffs Open Space.
Palmer Park contains an interwoven network of trails so you can choose your length and difficulty—or even drive the Grandview Overlook. You’ll be surprised how “out there” you can feel in the canyons of this urban park, but that’s what 700 acres of open space and 25 miles of trails will do. Views of Pikes Peak and the city abound along with rock spires and cliffs.
Want more Colorado Springs trails?
Check out our winter gear list for items that’ll help you on a snowy hike.