Staff Picks

Off The Beaten Path: The Best Hiking Near Colorado Springs

By Brandon Ellis | June 14th, 2021

For centuries, Colorado Springs has cast its spell on all travelers who dared to walk among its grand landscapes of mountain and plain. Sitting in the shadow of Pikes Peak, the state’s second-largest city is a mecca for outdoor activities of all sorts, but to experience Colorado Springs authentically, we recommend using your own two feet as the best vehicle for adventure. From soul-stirring waterfalls to Cheyenne Mountain herself, here are the best hiking trails in and around Colorado Springs.


Red Rock Open Space

Located off of Highway 24, Red Rock Open Space is perfect for novice hikers or anyone who wants to enjoy some spectacular views without exerting too much energy. Hikers can walk up and over the same rocks that were used to construct many of Old Colorado City’s historic buildings. The hike itself is fairly easy and you can look down across the land for a unique view of Garden of the Gods. It’s a perfect year-round destination for day hikes that the whole family can enjoy.

This open space features many trails, click here for a printable trail map.


Broadmoor Seven Falls

Known as the “Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado,” Broadmoor Seven Falls is a magnificent series of waterfalls that will satisfy the most discerning of view seekers. Rising 1,250 feet between the towering Pillars of Hercules, it’s easy to understand why Seven Falls was the only waterfall in Colorado to earn a spot on National Geographic’s list of International Waterfalls. Go behind the falls to be enveloped in cliffs and cascading water or climb 224 challenging steps alongside the falls and you’ll be rewarded with stunning vistas of valleys, rock formations, and golden prairies.

The Broadmoor Seven Falls are not the only waterfalls that you can hike to in this area! After a gorgeous scenic drive through North Cheyenne Canyon, you’ll find the visitors center for Helen Hunt Falls, named after author Helen Hunt Jackson. Make sure to catch a picture on its arched bridge that looms over the falls. Rainbow Falls (commonly known as Graffiti Falls) is another local Manitou Springs favorite. While this is a short hike, it is certainly worth the views of its historic bridge and the cascading water jetting from the red rocks.


Cheyenne Mountain

On the southwest side of town, less than 12 miles from our resort, lies Cheyenne Mountain State Park. This 1,680-acre area is home to roughly 20 miles of trails and offers wonderful campsites. As you make your way up Cheyenne Mountain, the trails get harder, but the scenery gets more and more outstanding. If you are searching for a trek, try hiking Cheyenne Mountain via Talon and Dixon Trail. This 16-mile hike offers chances to see wildlife and even a plane wreckage (7.5 miles in). There are plenty of dog-friendly trails in this state park as well.

Click here for a printable trail map.


Garden of the Gods Park

#1 rated park in Colorado Springs by TripAdvisor, Garden of the Gods is a “god-sized” playground packed with paved and gravel trails through magnificent red rock formations. Take a tip from a local, this park can get busy, especially during the summer months. Get up early if you want to enjoy the park without the crowds. Besides, a sunrise viewed from Garden of the Gods Park is one of a kind. 


Manitou Incline

If you look in the dictionary, under the entry “heart-pounding”, you will find the Manitou Incline. Revered by military personnel, Olympians, and seasoned hikers as one of the most difficult trails in the country, this 2,768-step climb with 2,000 feet in elevation gain is quite the accomplishment. Yes, the incline is only a mile long, but you will see people bail out due to the strain, so make sure to bring plenty of water! That being said, people from all walks of life have successfully conquered it, so why not you? And at the top, your uphill battle will be rewarded with a spectacular view of Colorado Springs and the eastern plains.

Park in one of the parking lots outside of downtown Manitou Springs and then take their free shuttle up to the trailhead. For those who want a more mellow descent, take the 4-mile-long Barr Trail back down to the bottom - it'll drop you off in the same place that you started. The Barr Trail is not well marked at the top of the Incline, so just ask one of the locals where it starts.


Bear Creek Regional Park

This Park is 575 acres, including a garden, pavilion, playground, tennis courts, archery range, horseshoe pit, volleyball court, miles of gravel hiking trails, and one of the state’s best dog parks. The entrance to Bear Creek's 25-acre off-leash dog park is located off Cresta Road. This dog park provides great amenities such as a creek, a small-dog fenced area, agility course, and restrooms. 


Barr Trail – Pikes Peak

Conquering Pikes Peak via the 12-mile Barr Trail is reserved for athletes, hiking enthusiasts, and anyone who enjoys a good challenge. Warning, it is 7,900 feet of sweat-inducing vertical gain! Hiking 14ers is a rite of passage for us Coloradans. The view will be rewarding when you reach the summit at 14,115 feet and take in a breathtaking alpine vista complete with mountains, clouds, and an overarching view of Colorado Springs. Plus, sometimes on a clear day, you can even see Denver’s skyscrapers in the distance. This mountain is that cool.

If you work it out with a friend who doesn’t want to hike the Barr trail, have them drive up the Pikes Peak Highway and meet you at the top. For some, that is considered “cheating”, but you might welcome the drive down to the bottom after the long day getting to the top. Check out our recent article that lists other ways to summit America’s Mountain.


The Paint Mines Interpretive Park

30 miles east of Colorado Springs, the Paint Mines will land you in a landscape of chasms, spires, hoodoos, and sculpted walls carved out of brightly colored layers of snowy white, golden yellow, rose pink, and purplish mauve clay. Native Americans used the deposits for paints and pottery, and settlers later mined the clay to make bricks. Discovering this well-kept secret is a privilege, so please, don’t climb on the fragile geological formations. Also, make sure you have good directions because you cannot see the park very well from the road - the rock formations are sunk down into the hillside out on the prairie.


Cheyenne Mountain Resort

After a full day of hiking, make sure you have a solid home base for soothing sore muscles and relaxing in cool pools. The Cheyenne Mountain Resort hosts hundreds of nature-enthusiasts every year and we welcome inquiries about any of these trails and even some that we haven’t shared here!