Hiking Woodland and Park Southern Colorado and Colorado Springs Area
Sometimes a vacation can be as simple as a break away from the routine. Whether that’s staying at home and binge-watching your favorite shows or movies, or going all out on a trip overseas to some exotic place. For others, an excursion into nature is the perfect getaway. Fresh, clean air; towering, lush trees; peace and quiet brought only by the soothing sounds of nature. Colorado, and specifically Woodland Park, Southern Colorado, and the Colorado Springs area have everything a nature-lover craves and more. It’s a pristine diamond in a mine of industrialized citiscapes and the weekday rush hour. What’s more, these areas in Colorado offer superb hiking trails and hiking destinations for both experienced and casual hikers. Either way, there’s no shortage of scenic views in Colorado.
Rampart Reservoir is located North of Colorado Springs and West of Woodland Park. The clear and quiet water is popular amongst fishers, but the trail that wraps around the reservoir itself offers a wonderful view of Pikes Peak, the reservoir, and the dense green forest of aspen, spruce, and fir trees. The trail is not too difficult and is great for families.
Helen Hunt Falls
Colorado has a tendency to flaunt every type of weather condition to the extreme. But it is the balance of heavy rains, snowfall, and sunshine that make Colorado so breathtakingly beautiful. Helen Hunt Falls is a wonderful destination all year round. In the fall or winter, see the sparkling white snow on the ground, the waterfall frozen as if time were standing still, and the snow-dusted trees. Or, if you’re wanting the woodsy spring or summer view without the hazards of ice, Helen Hunt Falls has many trails of varying difficulty perfect for people and canine companions of all ages.
Silver Cascade Falls
If you continue to walk past Helen Hunt Falls, beyond the bridge, you are heading to Silver Cascade Falls. This trail gets a bit steeper here and is perfect for experienced hikers or those who are used to higher levels of elevation. Climbing up to the top, you’ll get a spectacular view of the falls that makes the difficult hike worth every breath.
Pulpit Rock Park
Pulpit Rock Park is located close to I-25 and is near enough to town for anyone who has somewhere to be but wants a morning outdoor excursion. The outcrop of rocks along the unmarked trails are striking, and the view of Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak in the background make Pulpit Rock Park worth a stop. It’s also a short hike--you can make the round trip in about an hour--which makes it popular with locals and tourists who have a jam-packed itinerary.
Though there are no edible pancakes at the summit of this trail, the difficult hike up will probably make you pretty hungry. Pancake Rocks Trail has a steep incline at varying points throughout the trail and is a 6 mile hike to the rocks and back. It is part of the “Ring the Peak” trail system and stops once you get to the rock formations, so you’ll have to retrace your steps back down the trail to get back to your car. Though the trail is on the challenging side, the view from the top where the pancake rocks reside is incomparable, especially at sunset.
You can’t really speak of great hiking and stunning views in Colorado without mentioning the famous Pikes Peak. There are many ways to get to the peaks, the most popular being by car or cog railway. However, the hikers out there will want to try Barr Trail to get to the summit. The hike is an all-day one, a 26 mile round trip, so come prepared with food, water, and plenty of determination. The views are spectacular, and many are just not captured with the same appreciation when driving past them. The trail is difficult but the payoff is a stunning view, great memories, and a sense of overwhelming accomplishment.
Ghost Mines - Victor/Cripple Creek
If you are looking for a nearby historical trail that will interest both kids and adults, check out the Vindicator Valley trail. This historical trail in the town of Independence Colorado, highlights the gold rush of the late 1890's with a number of signs that describe the many abandoned mine buildings and shafts. This is an easy 2 mile hike from the trail head just off Co-81.
There are plenty more hiking trails in the Woodland Park, Southern Colorado, and Colorado Springs area to explore. There are so many, in fact, that it would likely take a a couple of months (or more) to explore every beautiful trail comfortably. If you’re in the area for awhile head to Bristlecone Lodge where adventure and leisure meet.