Staff Picks

Watch Colorado Springs Turn Colors

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landscape with a fall trees in the mountains during sunset

Topping our list is the famous and fabulous outdoor enthusiast destination, Red Rock Canyon. The primary attraction of Red Rock Canyon Open Space is the uncounted miles of bicycle, hiking, and equestrian trails that run all through the nearly 1,500-acre park. There’s an off-leash dog park, too, and some of the best rock climbing for those with permits. Just follow Highway 24 out to the world-famous rock formations and accept the challenge not to take a photo everywhere you look. There’s just something about those red rocks against the backdrop of a luminous blue sky and changing leaves that we can’t get enough of.

The Manitou Incline gets staff approval for a favorite “unique” hike. It’s a steep set of stairs, but by the end, you’ll get to witness all the splendor of Colorado’s quintessential autumn. No jokes about it; it’s strenuous to climb 2,000 feet in only a mile, but it’s worth it. The Incline, as it is known to locals, is the site of an old cable car track that was used to carry supplies to the top of Pikes Peak. Once construction was finished on Pikes Peak, the Incline was turned into a tourist attraction. You’ll need to make a reservation for your visit; slots are open only until December 31st.

Rounding out our top three is the unsung trail circuit in Cheyenne Mountain State Park. The park’s 1680 acres include more than 20 miles of walking and bike paths with views that are as rewarding as the hikes can be taxing. But you can take the easy trails to snag easy spoils! We like Talon’s three spurs, Sundance, and the Zook Loop. It’s worth noting, the park has an abundance of wildlife, ranging from coyotes and prairie dogs to black bears and cougars. This is due to the park’s unique location at the edge of the Plains and the Rocky Mountains.

Perhaps a more humble, but no less inspiring destination we’d like to suggest is Palmer Park off Maizeland Road. An enormous wilderness preserve, the regional parkland sprawls more than a square mile and includes 25 miles of trails. These include both single and double-track trails for mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding, whether on your own horse or one rented from the in-park stables. The park’s most indelible claim to fame for locals and tourists alike is its spectacular views of the city, prairie, and mountains surrounding Colorado Springs.

Closer to home, Academy Boulevard has a few stroll-worthy, bike-friendly paths, too, that is covered with beautiful trees and open fields. There’s a dog park for Fido and a picnic area for the family as well. Finally, if you don’t want to leave the car, drive west on Section 16 (Gold Camp Road) for an eye-popping weave through some of our most accessible, yet stunning scenic landscapes. Fall is one of our favorite seasons in the Pikes Peak region and we want to share the love. So come visit, lace up your boots, and see for yourself why Colorado Springs’ fall foliage simply can’t be beaten.