The Ultimate Guide To Colorado Springs Hiking Trails

Adventure Location Guides Outdoor Activities Travel By Kühl Editor

Nothing refreshes the mind more than spending a few hours or days with your phone put down, watching sunlight filter through the trees as you breathe in the crisp mountain air. Birds chirping above you while you’re enjoying every crunch of your hiking boots below.

If that sounds like heaven to you, chances are you’re always looking for great new places to explore. Colorado Spring is the perfect place to explore the wilderness in a beautiful outdoor setting.

With something for everyone, from the experienced trailblazer to the enthusiastic beginner, Colorado Springs offers some of the finest hiking trails in the country.

Learn how to get there, where to stay, which trails to hike and which hiking clothing and gear you should bring to Colorado Springs.

Best Hiking Trails in Colorado Springs

There’s no shortage of incredible hiking in and around Colorado Springs. Whether you’re looking for a casual outdoor stroll or a challenging hike, here are the best easy, moderate, and hard trails for you to try during your time in Colorado Springs.

Easy Trails

Garden of the Gods

The world-famous National Natural Landmark Garden of The Gods features a series of easy trails that show off the stunning scenery for which it’s famous.

Admire 300-foot-tall sandstone rock formations rising up against the background of Pikes Peak on the Siamese Twins Trail, a one-mile loop with a 150-foot rise in elevation. If you want to get up close and personal with the rock formations, you can. Try the Perkins Central Garden Trail (1.5-mile loop, 30-foot rise) or the Ridge Trail (0.5-mile loop, 100-foot rise). Looking for an easy hike but don’t want to sacrifice breathtaking views? Garden of the Gods may be the perfect spot for you and is great for families. Plan ahead and visit the park on Motorless Monday to experience Garden of the Gods without any motorized traffic.

concrete road in the middle of two rock formations during daytime
The stunning view of red rock formations of the Garden of the Gods. Photo by Andrew Seaman.

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon, long a favorite spot for rock climbers, also features several easy trails. These trails offer gorgeous views of the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak as well as of the stunning canyon itself. Here, the red rocks are juxtaposed against clear blue skies and a dramatic quarry. The Mesa/Greenlee loop features wide, sunny paths. At just under three miles long, it features an uphill first half and a downhill second half, though the grade is gentle.

If you’re looking for something different, try the Hogback trail. This trail varies in length depending on which route you take (2.5 or 3.3 miles). It carries you through a flat plateau filled with meadows that are full of wildflowers in the spring and summer. So when it comes to finding a place in which to observe natural beauty and appreciate the drama of Garden of the Gods from afar, Red Rock Canyon is a great choice. 

Moderate Trails

Palmer Trail Loop

The Palmer Trail Loop is an excellent choice for a hiker seeking a moderate hike. It’s also open to bicyclists and horses. This 5.4-mile loop, with a fairly steep 2-mile initial incline, features an elevation gain of 1,678 feet and boasts views of the Garden of the Gods once you reach the top. While hikers enthusiastically recommend it for its beautiful trails and stunning views, many also recommend bringing a trail map, as some signage may be unclear.

Others suggest bringing Colorado Springs hiking gear such as microspikes or crampons in the winter when ice can develop on the trail. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a classic hiking trail with diverse features and beautiful views, the Palmer Trail Loop is worth a look.

Helen Hunt Falls

Helen Hunt Falls, which is located within North Cheyenne Cañon Park, features a moderate hiking trail that offers visitors a glimpse of Colorado Springs’ ecosystems. Don’t forget the gorgeous waterfall as well!

Hikers should be prepared for an 8-mile round trip hike with approximately 1,000 feet of elevation gain. Additionally, the trail follows a large creek, which means that terrain can get slippery. In order to safely admire the beauty of the falls, wear a pair of high-quality hiking boots, and consider bringing trekking poles.

bridge on top of water falling on gray rocks
The breathtaking Helen Hunt Falls. Photo by Nan Palmero.

Hard Trails

Blodgett Peak

Blodgett Peak is an excellent option for an experienced hiker looking for a challenging Colorado Springs hiking trail. The 6.4-mile-long, round-trip hike brings hikers through steep, narrow paths with loose rocks and deadfall. This trail ends in a spectacular summit view that includes Pikes Peak and other local landmarks.

Because it was partially damaged in a 2012 fire, hikers should stay alert for debris on the trail. However, if you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding hike, Blodgett Peak is perfect for regular hikers.

Manitou Incline

If you’re looking for a challenge, the Manitou Incline might be the most difficult hike in Colorado Springs. At just under one mile in length, hikers gain nearly 2,000 feet in elevation while walking up a former cable car track. However, once at the top, they’re rewarded with a beautiful, expansive view.

This is a very popular trail so free reservations are required to hike the Manitou Incline. Finally, remember that the steepness of the trail is not for the faint of heart, especially for visitors who are not acclimated to Colorado’s high elevation! Give your body a few days to adjust before taking on the incline.

The Ultimate Guide To Colorado Springs Hiking Trails 3
A portion of the 2,768 steps of the popular Manitou Incline. Photo by U.S. Army SMDC.

Where To Stay When Hiking In in Colorado Springs?

Visitors who come to explore Colorado Springs’ famous hiking trails have plenty of options when it comes to lodging. From roughing it to living in luxury, there’s something for every hiker’s lifestyle and price point.

Camping

If you’re going to Colorado Springs to get your hike on, why not continue roughing it by sleeping under the stars? Colorado Springs features tons of campgrounds!

Cheyenne Mountain State Park includes 51 full-service campsites and an archery range. Spruce Grove Campground offers nearly 30 campsites. Try looking up campsites near the trail you’re most excited to try — chances are there’s one nearby.

Cabins

Some of these aren’t your frontiersman’s cabins! If you’re coming to Colorado Springs with multiple people, or you just want to lodge somewhere more peaceful than a crowded hotel, consider a cabin.

Pikes Peak Resort, Bristlecone Lodge, and Royal Gorge Cabins all offer cabins of varying shapes, sizes, and styles. It’s possible to find a beautiful and functional cabin near all your favorite Colorado Springs hiking trails.

Hotels

If you’re also hoping to experience some of what Colorado Springs has to offer off-trail, staying in a hotel is a great way to see what urban life in the mountains is really like.

bridge over water in front of two buildings
The famous Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. Photo by David Jones.

You’re craving some post-hike relaxation at a luxurious hotel? Try the historic Broadmoor. You’re looking for something more down-to-earth? Check out the Best Western. In Colorado Springs, there’s a suitable hotel for every type of hiker.

How To Get To Colorado Springs?

Getting to Colorado Springs is extremely easy. Visitors have two options. You can:

Once you’ve reached Colorado Springs, you’ll probably want to rent a car to access the hiking trails of your interest. Many of them are not accessible by foot or public transportation.

With more airlines beginning to offer service to Colorado Springs Airport, transportation is poised to become even faster and easier in the coming years.

What To Pack When Hiking In Colorado Springs?

If you’re preparing a trip to check out Colorado Springs hiking trails, chances are you consider yourself a somewhat experienced hiker. But don’t get cocky! Colorado Springs is located at an elevation of 6,035 feet. Its stunning blue skies and expansive views also come with legitimate health and safety concerns.

Have a look at the hiking clothing and gear that you’ll need to safely enjoy your adventuring on Colorado Springs trails.

Layers

Layers are key in Colorado Springs. Not only does the temperature change dramatically throughout the day, but you’ll also notice changes in temperature as you lose and gain thousands of feet of elevation during a single hike.

man in black jacket with gray shirt under
A top-performing technical jacket is a matchless asset for hiking the Colorado Springs trails. Products shown: M’s The One™ Hoody, Optimizr™ SS.

Consider lightweight, temperature-regulating jacket like M’s The One™ Hoody. This technical jacket is not bulky so you’ll easily pack it up and carry it around throughout the day. A Merino wool long sleeve shirt like Skar™ Crew can be the perfect base layer under your jacket.

Sunscreen

With its thin air, high elevation, and cloudless skies, Colorado Springs is a great place to get a lot of sun. However, many people don’t even realize that it’s happening! So make sure to protect yourself by regularly applying sunscreen, choosing sun-protective hiking gear, and wearing a hat.

Sturdy Gear

Many of the Colorado Springs hiking trails described above contain challenging routes full of slippery rocks and sharp debris. Be sure to bring a good pair of sturdy hiking boots as well as durable clothes that can withstand abrasion and avoid tearing.

The versatile Konfidant Air™ Pants are highly adaptable to weather conditions which makes them the perfect year-round hiking pants. Durable and lightweight, featuring the KühlAir™ Vent System, they are made to keep you comfortable on the trails of any difficulty.

men in blue shirt and gray pants sitting in grass
Versatile and lightweight hiking pants will keep you comfortable even on the most challenging Colorado Spring trails. Product shown: Konfidant Air™ Pants.

Water Bottle

The most important Colorado Springs hiking gear you’ll need is a refillable water bottle, which can help you stave off dehydration and help your body acclimate to the high elevation. Additionally, reusable water bottles are eco-friendly and can save you money, making them the ideal choice for Colorado Springs hikers.

Weather-appropriate gear

If you’re coming to Colorado Springs in the winter or under unusual weather conditions, make sure you have everything you need to hike safely and easily. Icy trails may be easier to tackle with microspikes or crampons, and hikers on rainy trails may want trekking poles to keep them steady.

Final Thoughts

If you’re entranced by the natural beauty of Colorado Springs and want to experience everything it has to offer, there are plenty of options to make your trip as special as possible. Colorado Springs hiking trails feature a wide diversity of ecosystems and degrees of difficulty. That’s why any hiking enthusiast can find the perfect trail for themselves.

If you’re excited to start planning your trip to Colorado Springs, check out our collections of outdoor gear and hiking clothes. Blending top-quality materials with cutting-edge designs, we build strong and comfortable clothing that performs best in the most difficult surroundings.

Featured Image – Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs by Ryan Millsap.

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red rock formation under blue sky with white clouds
Kühl Editor