Red Mountain Rundown
Length: About 2.5 miles out and back
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Highlight: Incline-like views without the crowds.
Know before you go: Parking near the trailhead is the same park and pay system as the Incline. Free shuttles are available from Memorial Park.
Insider tip: Hiking poles come in handy for the steep descent.
There’s a hidden gem accessible from the base of the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, and it’s not the Incline. It’s not even Barr Trail. Just beyond these two local and (now) tourist favorites lies the Paul Intemann Memorial Nature Trail, which leads you up 7,375-foot Red Mountain to glorious views. It offers a similar straight-up-the-side-of-the-mountain kind of appeal as the Manitou Incline, though with switchbacks instead of stairs. The benefit is a similar view—without the crowds. My hiking buddy and I didn’t see a single person on our weekday hike up and only encountered four on the way down.
For history buffs, Red Mountain once had its own cog railroad line, and some traces of the old buildings still remain at the top. This was also Emma Crawford’s favorite spot and the peak where she was initially buried. Chances are, you won’t have any encounters with her.
Here are photo highlights from the trail.
Access the Paul Intemann Memorial Nature Trail from the Cog Railway parking lot or the Iron Springs Trailhead next to the Iron Springs Chateau Dinner Theater. A sign marks the trail.
Follow Ruxton Creek briefly.
You’ll soon reach a sign that looks like this. Veer to the right to continue on the Intemann Trail.
Go up Spring Street, a dirt road to the right, and you’ll soon see this sign marked “Trail.” Go right, and follow that trail straight up.
Views begin to open above the dense evergreen forest.
A bit of scrambling is required to reach the highest point, but there are several options.
Red Mountain offers a lot of bang for your hiking buck. The outstanding sweeping views include Pikes Peak and the Manitou Incline, as well as Manitou and Colorado Springs. And crowds are nowhere to be found. Well worth the effort!