The 12 Best Colorado Springs Hikes Ranked

Colorado Springs » Best Hikes

My favorite thing about living in Colorado Springs is its proximity to SO many incredible hikes! Ever since moving here, I’ve made it a priority to hit the trails and explore. There’s a large variety of options here. Whether you want an easy nature walk, a lovely day hike, or to multi-day mountain adventure, you’ll find it. You can see forests, meadows, rock formations, mountain peaks, and sooo much more in Colorado Springs.

I must admit, ranking the best trails in Colorado Springs was HARD. Each trail or hiking area on this list is incredible and worth checking out. The ranking system is based on my opinions and which hikes I enjoyed most. The only hike I haven’t got to yet is the last one. However, it’s by far the most epic hike here, so I had to include it! I still keep going back and forth on the rankings list. So, if you disagree with the rankings, that’s okay!!

Best Colorado Springs hikes: Palmer Park

Colorado Springs hikes: The best trails on the east side of Colorado Springs.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Distance: 0.6 — 7.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 82 — 850 ft
Est. time to complete: 15 minutes — 3 hours

Palmer Park in north Colorado Springs is another local favorite. It’s a common go-to spot for a quick dip into nature for an afternoon walk. Palmer Park isn’t located in the mountains or the foothills. Instead, it’s a lovely and large park in northwest Colorado Springs. There are tons of intersecting trails throughout the park. You can spend a few minutes or several hours walking around here! I recommend using AllTrails to navigate to different landmarks around Palmer Park. Cell service is good here, so navigation is easy. Find a good place to park, and explore from there!

Quick tip: I recommend parking at this lot. It’s in the center of Palmer Park and provides INCREDIBLE views of Pikes Peak. If that lot is full, parking at the Yucca Flats trailhead is another great option!

Here’s a list of the best trails in Palmer Park, according to AllTrails.

Red Rock Canyon Hike in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs hikes: The best for seeing Red Rock formations without heavy crowds.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Distance: 0.6 — 5.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 60 — 882 ft
Est. time to complete: 15 minutes — 2.5 hours

If you want to see lovely red rock formations without the heavy crowd, check out Red Rock Canyon Open Space! Located across US 24 from the Old Colorado City area, it’s easy to add on to a Colorado Springs day trip. The open space consists of many intersecting trails. You can stop by for a quick and easy walk or spend a few hours exploring the entire park. Red Rock Open Space is a popular spot for rock climbing. Either try it yourself or watch one of the many climbers scaling the canyon’s facade. 

Thinking about visiting? Check out this list of the best trails in Red Rock Canyon Open Space on AllTrails.

Colorado Springs hikes: The best for a picnic in the forest.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 912 ft
Est. time to complete: 2 hours

Seven Bridges is one of the most popular trails in North Cheyenne Cañon Park. As the name suggests, the trail takes you along seven stunning bridges. Each bridge is higher in elevation and follows the lovely North Cheyenne Cañon Creek. It’s a fun trail to do with kids since there are many opportunities to play in the water. Additionally, there are several open areas along the trail to set up a small picnic or to stop and relax for a while. It’s also a GREAT spot for photography. Pose your subject along one of the cute bridges. The beautiful canyon, rocks, and pine trees make the perfect backdrop.

Interested in extending the hike? If so, check out Loud’s Cabin up next.

Loud's Cabin hike in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs hikes: The best for seeing historic ruins.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 6.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,778 ft
Est. time to complete: 4 hours

Hike through the backcountry to the ruins of Loud’s Cabin. Although most of the structure has fallen, an impressive 8ft stone chimney remains. It’s surrounded by the cabin’s original wooden logs.

Did the Seven Bridges Trail also catch your attention? If so, here’s some good news. Loud’s Cabin is further along on the same trail. So, instead of turning around at the seventh bridge, continue hiking north. You’ll see beautiful forests, streams, meadows, canyons, and mountains along the way. Be prepared for possible wildlife encounters, which are common in the area.

St. Mary's Falls hike in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs hikes: The best to see a stunning waterfall.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,394 ft
Est. time to complete: 3 hours

If you want to hike to a stunning waterfall, this is the trail for you. Sure, Helen Hunt Falls and The Broadmoor 7 Falls require much less effort. However, the adventure is part of the fun! And unlike the Broadmoor 7 Falls, St. Mary’s is entirely free and way less touristy. That’s a win in my book!

St. Mary’s Falls is in North Cheyenne Cañon Park off of Upper Gold Camp Road. The first part of the trail takes you along an old dirt road only accessible to hikers and bikers. At around two miles in, the trail splits between a forest path and the old dirt road. Take the trail into the forest. Here, you’ll hike along a lovely stream until you ascend to the falls.

During winter, the falls are completely frozen. It’s super cool to see it like this. So far, I’ve only hiked to St. Mary’s Falls in winter, but I plan on going again this fall. There are LOTS of Aspens along the way. So, this trail should be vibrant with fall color in late September and early October!

Red Mountain in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs hikes: The best for epic views of Pikes Peak and Manitou Springs.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 2.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 944 ft
Est. time to complete: 2 hours

Red Mountain in Manitou Springs provides incredible views at the summit! You’ll get 360° views of the front range, including:

• Pikes Peak
• Manitou Springs
• The Manitou Incline
• Garden of the Gods
• North Cheyenne Cañon, and 
• Colorado Springs. 

Plus, the short scramble at the end is a lot of fun! 

If you want to add to the adventure, you can easily add on the neighboring Iron Mountain. It’ll add 3.2 miles to your trail and even more views. You can check out the route here on AllTrails.

The Red Mountain Trailhead is near the Barr and Manitou Incline trailheads. Parking fills up fast, so you’ll likely need to take the shuttle from Hiawatha Gardens. If you’re lucky, you could get a spot at the Iron Springs Chateau next to the trail. Keep in mind all non-local parking in Manitou Springs requires a fee.

Mount Cutler Hike in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs hikes: The best for a quick and easy mountain summit.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 472 ft
Est. time to complete: 1 hour

Mount Cutler is the best quick and easy mountain hike in Colorado Springs. The first part of the trail takes you up the side of North Cheyenne Cañon. You’ll see interesting rock formations and great views of the canyon. The mountain views are incredible once you reach the split between the Mount Cutler and Muscoco trails. From here, you can see several front-range mountains and the surrounding forest. Keep left here to make your way up to the top of Mount Cutler!

If you feel like adding to the adventure, consider summiting Mount Muscoco! It’s a moderately challenging hike with some scrambling. It shares a trailhead with Mount Cutler and is sooo much fun!

Colorado Springs hikes: The best for a long and relatively secluded forest loop.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 5.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,292 ft
Est. time to complete: 3 hours

The Palmer Trail in Bear Creek Canyon is a local favorite. It’s a beautiful loop that winds through forests and a meadow. During summer, it’s a wonderful spot to see wildflowers. At the beginning of the trail, you’ll get great views of Red Rock Canyon Open Space and the Garden of the Gods. The biggest treat is only a mile and a half in. A stunning overlook provides incredible views of the mountains to the south. It’s crazy that although it’s technically city land, it feels incredibly remote!

Colorado Springs hikes: The best for incredible rock formations.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Distance: Depends on the trail
Elevation Gain: Depends on the trail
Est. time to complete: Depends on the trail

The Garden of the Gods should be on everyone’s Colorado Springs bucket list. It’s iconic and for a great reason! It is absolutely STUNNING. The red rock formations across the park are incredible. The icing on the cake is Pikes Peak as the backdrop. 

Walking through Garden of the Gods is like a choose-your-own-adventure situation. There are lots of intertwining trails throughout the park. I recommend using AllTrails or Google to navigate to whatever you’d like to see within the time you have. Check out this post for more info on visiting the Garden of the Gods.

The only reason why the Garden of the Gods is lower on the list is because of how busy it gets. It’s 100% a tourist hot spot. Still, if you haven’t been, you should go! Even now that I live in Colorado Springs, I still enjoy going and walking around. However, it’s not the trail to go on if you want solitude.

Colorado Springs hikes: The best for a fun single-day mountain summit.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,292 ft
Est. time to complete: 3 hours

Mount Muscoco is the perfect place to go for a mini mountain adventure. It’s a moderate hike in North Cheyenne Cañon, close to downtown Colorado Springs. The trail begins at the base of the canyon. It then winds through beautiful forests until you reach the summit. The views are incredible the entire way and peak dramatically at the summit. There’s plenty of space to sit and take in the views from all directions. From here, you’ll be able to see:

• North Cheyenne Cañon
• Several front-range mountains
• The Broadmoor, and
• Downtown Colorado Springs.

Expect some light scrambling toward the top. The terrain becomes quite steep, with loose gravel at times. Poles are incredibly helpful for maintaining your balance on the descent. Keep your eye out for wildlife too! The last time I hiked it, someone I met saw a mountain lion on the trail.

The Manitou Incline Hike in Colorado Springs
The Manitou Incline from the Intemann Trail.

Colorado Springs hikes: The best for an intense workout.

Difficulty: Hard
Distance: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,978 ft
Est. time to complete: 3 hours

If you’re looking for a hike that will kick your butt, this is it. The Manitou Incline is a 2,000 ft flight of stairs straight up a mountain. Local athletes love this trail for cardio training. Finishing it will give you bragging rights. When you get to the top (or when you’re ready to call it quits — no judgment here!), take the Barr trail down, not the incline. This is much healthier for your knees and gives a better flow for people coming up.

The Manitou Incline requires reservations. This is a very popular trail with limited width. Reservations allow the trail to not get too packed. Parking at the trailhead is limited, but there is a free shuttle from downtown. Nearly all public parking in Manitou Springs is paid. 

Afterward, treat yourself to a delicious meal and drink in downtown Manitou Springs! It’s super cute and one of my favorite places to walk around nearby. It’s only about 15 minutes from downtown Colorado Springs making it super easy to access.

Visit the Manitou Springs website for all the details about the Manitou Incline.

The view from Pikes Peak summit

Colorado Springs hikes: The best for an epic mountaineering adventure.

Difficulty: Hard
Distance: 24 miles
Elevation Gain: 7,600 ft
Est. time to complete: 2 days

The Barr Trail to Pikes Peak is the most epic hike in Colorado Springs. This hike is for the ultra-adventurous. It’s for those who don’t mind a multi-day trip up one of Colorado’s tallest mountains. Hikers can stay overnight at the Barr Camp. Luckily, the Barr Camp offers both cabin and tent sites. Backpacking is optional. Keep in mind reservations fill up fast, so plan ahead.

Pike’s Peak is one of Colorado’s fifty-eight 14ers. They’re the tallest in the state. Although there isn’t such thing as an ‘easy’ 14er, Pike’s Peak is not as difficult as others. It’s a Class 1, meaning there isn’t any scrambling or technical climbing to worry about. However, what makes Pikes Peak so challenging is how LONG it is! 


What are you’re favorite trails in Colorado Springs? Are there any that weren’t included that should be added to the list? I’d love to hear about your experiences and opinions on the matter! Share ’em in the comments section below.

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