10 Best Hikes in Colorado Springs

Looking for the best hikes in Colorado Springs? You have landed on the right page. COS is a dream destination for many travelers and hiking is the best way to explore this beautiful American city. From the scenic Austin Buff Open Space to the picturesque Garden of The Gods or the difficult Manitou Incline, Colorado Springs is full of some of the best hiking in Colorado. 

Colorado Springs is one of the cheapest vacation spots in Colorado and hiking is the best way to explore this beautiful city without spending a buck. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, looking for kid-friendly hikes or dog-friendly hikes, Colorado Springs has more than enough options for you.

best hikes in colorado springs

So, what are the best places to hike in Colorado Springs? If you want to enjoy the raw scenic beauty and magnificent natural landscapes of this beautiful state, check out the list of the top 10 most beautiful hikes in Colorado Springs.

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1. Austin Bluffs Open Space

It is located in the northern part of the University of Colorado. You can enjoy the spectacular trails, incredible geological rock formations, and wildlife while hiking in Austin Bluffs Open Space. While this paved greenway is great for a walk or run, you may also enjoy biking along the way.

Our recommendation is the Austin Bluff & Pulpit Ridge Trail which is a 3.6 miles moderately crowded loop trail near Colorado Springs. The trail features a small lake and goes all the way to the top of Pulpit Rock. You will get to see the panoramic views of Pikes Peak from nearly all angles.

If you are looking for dog-friendly hikes in Colorado Springs, this is the perfect hiking spot for you and your four-legged friends. But your dog must be always on leash.

  • Distance: 3.6 miles(round trip)
  • Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
best places for hike in Colorado Springs | Austin Bluffs Open Space
Austin Bluffs Open Space

2. Cheyenne Mountain State Park

Located in the south of Colorado Springs, Cheyenne Mountain State Park is a hiker’s paradise with 20 miles of hiking and biking trails. This 2700-acre of area is full of natural diversities and has 21 natural trails.

If you cannot decide where to hike in Colorado Springs, visit this local state park. If you are with your family go for the Sundance Trail. This 3.2-mile trail is mostly flat and anyone can attempt this family-friendly hike in Colorado Springs.

For more scenery, Blackmer Loop Trail is highly recommended. This is a moderate trail that goes through beautiful pines and Rock Garden.

The best thing about Cheyenne Mountain State Park is that it has campsites too. So you can experience the ultimate joy of outdoor adventures.

  • Elevation: 2500 feet(average)
  • Distance: 20 miles(total)
  • Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
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best hikes in colorado springs | Cheyenne Mountain State Park
Cheyenne Mountain State Park

3. Garden of the Gods: Best Hikes in Colorado Springs

If you’re planning 2 days in Colorado Springs itinerary, Garden of the Gods must be included in the list. With the stunning views of towering red sandstone formation and Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods is one of the best hiking trails in Colorado Springs. Collect the free colorful map from the Visitor & Nature Center and explore the scenic trails at your own pace.

Garden of the Gods Park offers both paved and natural trails that pass through gorgeous red rock formations for all skill levels. Leashed dogs are allowed in the park but you can let your pup play freely in the area between Rock Ledge Ranch & 30th St.

Most importantly, it is a free hike in Colorado Springs. It is also a reason for becoming a popular hiking spot in Colorado Springs.

Our personal favorite is the Siamese Twins Trail. This 1-mile loop trail is the most popular hiking trail in the park. The trail is easy and offers epic views of Pikes Peak and the famous Siamese Twins rock formation.

The Ridge Trail is perfect for hikers looking for slightly more challenging steps. This half-mile loop trail has a modest 100 ft elevation and offers an awe-inspiring view of the massive Sleeping Giant formation.

  • Distance: 21 miles(total)
  • Difficulty: Easy
Top hikes in Colorado Springs |  Garden of the Gods
Walking Through Garden of the Gods

4. The Manitou Incline

Located in the western part of downtown Manitou Springs, this is just a 1-mile trail. Wait, don’t take it lightly and this hike is not for everyone. With over 2000-feet of elevation gain in 1 mile, Manitou Incline is one of the most difficult hikes in Colorado Springs where you can test your fitness, skill, and endurance.

Once you reach the top, enjoy the panoramic view of the surrounding area. While descend take a stroll down Barr Trail. This 4-mile long trail is more scenic and it leads back to the trailhead in the Cog Railway parking lot.

It is a trademark popular hiking trail in Colorado Spring for the locals and visitors who love to challenge their hiking skills. Once there was a cable railway to reach the top, now the incline is a set of 2,744 steep stairs.

Please Note: It is not recommended to hike Manitou Incline if you are a beginner or not enough fit. for the beginner, this is not a good loop for people who suffer from altitude sickness or are not in moderately good physical shape. Bring your hiking boot, if you don’t have any, check out the best and most affordable hiking boots.

  • Elevation: 2020 feet
  • Distance: 1 mile
  • Difficulty: Hard
Colorado Springs hike | The Manitou Incline
The Manitou Incline – PC: Flickr

5. Paint Mines Interpretive Park

If you are looking for an easy hike near Colorado Springs, we highly recommend Paint Mines Interpretive Park. Located 1 mile south of Calhan, this 750 acres of grassland is rich in geological architecture, small wildlife, and various types of wildflowers.

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It is a 3.5-mile loop with a very small incline and is perfect for beginners. What makes it unique is the colorful clays throughout the rocks create spectacular ravines and unique paths. The spires and hoodoos rock formations that have formed thousands of years ago glow with rich hues in the changing sunlight.

Please note that dogs, bikes, and motorized vehicles are not allowed in the park.

  • Elevation: 500 feet
  • Distance: 3.5 miles(round trip)
  • Difficulty: Easy
Paint Mines Interpretive Park in Colorado Springs
Paint Mines Interpretive Park – PC: Flickr

6. Midland Trail

This easy 5-mile trail connects Manitou Springs to downtown Colorado Springs and Old Colorado City. It is a picturesque year-round destination for people looking for day hikes in Colorado Springs. The trailhead begins at the western corner of the America the Beautiful Park along Monument Creek.

Midland Trail is a popular family-friendly trail in Colorado Springs. This paved concrete trail has just 300 feet of elevation gain which is perfect for all skill levels.

You can enjoy here the local wildflowers and wildlife and a small river with your furry friend. Bike riding is also allowed in this Colorado Springs trail. Don’t forget to bring a travel water filter while hiking here. If you run out of water, you can fill your filter bottle from the river.

  • Elevation: 300 feet
  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
Midland Trail in Colorado Springs
Midland Trail in Colorado Springs

7. Palmer Park: Best Hiking Trail in Colorado Springs

Located in the middle of the town and surrounded by neighborhoods and city sprawl, this magical wilderness is a very popular city park in Colorado Springs. This 737-acre city park offers more than 25 miles of hiking and biking trails. You will get the chance to choose the right trail as per your skill level.

The beautiful combination of mountains, forest, local wildlife, and a river makes sure you have an amazing outdoor experience. Unique rock formations can be seen throughout Palmer Park. It also features a big playground and a baseball field located near Academy and Maizeland. Your dogs can play freely in the designated off-leash area.

You must hike the Grandview Trail that leads to a fantastic overlook of the downtown with Pikes Peak. The park is even popular for people looking for winter hikes in Colorado Springs.  The traffic is very less during the winter months and you can enjoy the magical views of the beautiful snow-capped trees and rocks.

  • Elevation: 1300 feet
  • Distance: 25 miles(Total)
  • Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
winter hike in Colorado Springs | Palmer Park
Snowy Colorado Springs from Palmer Park – PC: Flickr

8. Red Rock Canyon Open Space

This hidden gem of Colorado Springs has many scenic trails for visitors of different skill levels. The trails wind through the varieties of red rock formations and provide jaw-dropping views of the Garden of the Gods.

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Located at the west of downtown COS, Red Rock Canyon Open Space has pet-friendly hiking trails where you can exercise with your four-legged friend. Even your dog can run off-leash at the Upper Dog Loop Trail. Bikers are also welcome to challenge the miles of biking trails at Red Rock.

Most of these trails are easy and perfect for families. If you are looking for something more demanding, the moderate Contemplative Trail is available towards the back of the open space. For the easier option, hike the 3 miles long Mesa Greenlee Loop. It takes you through the heart of Red Rock Canyon and offers expansive views of Pikes Peak.

  • Elevation Gain: 100-900 feet
  • Distance: 1-3.5 miles(round trip)
  • Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
dog-friendly hikes in colorado springs | Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Red Rock Canyon Open Space – PC: Flickr

9. Ute Valley Park

Located in the northern part of Colorado Springs, Ute Valley Park has over 20 different types of trails for hiking, running, mountain biking, and exploring. This popular local park features diverse wildlife, vegetation, fantastic views of the city, and the rocky forested hogback formations.

This beautiful COS park is filled with 338 acres of different rock formations, wooded mountains, open spaces, and an extensive network of trails. Ute Valley Park is meant for all. Leashed dogs are welcome here and your small kids can also enjoy the easy trails.

The main trailhead starts at the parking lot area and then winds through various routes. A portable toilet is available at the trailhead. The most popular trail of this park is the Ute Valley Park Loop Trail for its spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains.

Tip: Be careful while hiking in Ute Valley Park as it is a natural area and Rattlesnakes may be present there.

  • Elevation: 200 feet
  • Distance: 2.5-3.5 miles(round trip)
  • Difficulty: Easy
Ute Valley Park
Hike at Ute Valley Park

10. Pulpit Rock

This is an off-the-beaten-path in the Colorado Springs area. Pulpit Rock Park is located on the northeast side of COS and works as a connector of dozens of small trails.

This hidden gem is a less crowded hiking destination in Colorado Springs. Hikers who love solitude and want to enjoy the serenity of nature must hike the Pulpit Rock trail.

The trailhead starts at the main parking lot on North Nevada Avenue. There are several trails that will take you to the top of Pulpit Rock. If you follow the Pulpit Rock Trail Loop, it is just a one-mile easy hike from the parking lot to the top from where you can enjoy the expansive views of Downtown Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak, and the Rocky Mountain range.

  • Peak Elevation: 6625 feet
  • Distance: 2.2 miles(round trip)
  • Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
Pulpit Rock Trail in Colorado Springs
Pulpit Rock Trail – PC: Flickr

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