A Guide to Hiking in Colorado Springs

Garden of the Gods, Seven Falls, and Red Rock Canyon are some of the best hiking trails in Colorado Springs.
Written by Samuel Todd
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Updated on Jun 07, 2022
From the aptly-named Garden of the Gods to the breathtaking Seven Falls Trail,
Colorado Springs
is chock-full of gorgeous hikes. 
If there’s one thing that
is known for, it’s fantastic hiking—and Colorado Springs doesn’t disappoint. Whether you’re a workout enthusiast who needs an Olympic-level challenge or you just want a leisurely Sunday stroll, we’ve got you covered.
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that saves you money on
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The best hikes in Colorado Springs

There are over 200hikes in Colorado Springs, so it was nearly impossible to narrow it down to a top six—but we did our best! Check out our list of the coolest outdoor adventures in the Springs.

Best for views: Mount Muscoco Trail

Distance: 4.0 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Trail type: Out and back
Elevation gain: 1,292 feet
Parking: Yes, right by the trailhead
Dogs: Yes
Starting point: N Cheyenne Canyon Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Looking for a lesser-known trail that will give you spectacular views of the Springs? Look no further than Mount Muscoco! The hike itself will take about two hours—but we’d recommend that you pack a hammock, a cold snack, and a favorite book for the summit.
Once you’ve reached the peak, you’ll be able to see the Colorado Rockies to one side and thesprawling city to the other. If you really strain your eyes, you can even make out the windmills in the distance!
Pro tip Be sure to bring all-terrain shoes—the final half-mile of the climb gets pretty steep and gravelly.

Best for families: Mount Cutler 

Distance: 1.7 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Trail type: Out and back
Elevation gain: 472 feet
Parking: Yes, along the street
Dogs: Yes
Starting point: N Cheyenne Canyon Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
Here’s the best part about the Mount Muscoco trailhead—it doubles as a trailhead for Mount Cutler! If you're itching to get some incredible views, but your kiddos might have trouble making it to the summit of Mount Muscoco, take the low-stress Mount Cutler Trail. It’s less than two miles long, and it’ll still give you a solid workout. 
Since the trail is over 7,000 feet in elevation, be sure to bring jackets for the climb. Colorado mornings (and evenings) can get a bit chilly, especially on an exposed mountainside—and nothing ruins a beautiful family hike like a grumbling youngster!

Best for dogs: Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Distance: 0.6 miles to 5.4 miles, depending on which trail you choose
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Trail type: Hiking, biking, and running trails
Elevation gain: Varied
Parking: Yes, multiple lots along High Street
Dogs: Yes
Starting point: 3550 W High St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
There’s only one thing that can turn a great hike into a perfect day: a cheerful canine companion. And trust us on this one—there’s no better place to take your pup than the Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
Red Rock Canyon has more than 22 trails, ranging from the relaxing, 1.8-mile Mesa Loop to the 5.4-mile Sand Canyon hike. If you’d rather skip the hiking loops and head straight for the Red Rocks Dog Park, though, we wouldn’t blame you! You’ll still get a magnificent vantage point to admire the mountains, and your dog will have plenty of room to roam (and make some puppy pals!). 
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Best for Instagram: Garden of the Gods

Distance: 1.5 to 3 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Trail type: Out and back, loops
Elevation gain: 300 feet
Parking: Multiple lots, but they fill up quickly—best to arrive early!
Dogs: Yes, on a six-foot leash
Starting point: 3105 Gateway Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
Garden of the Gods is Colorado Springs’ most popular hike for a reason. In 1859, when surveyor Rufus Cable first saw the park’s towering sandstone spires, he exclaimed that it was “a fit place for the gods to assemble!”. 
Having walked in the shadows of these 300-foot tall giants, we have no choice but to agree with him. Whether you’re hoping for a low-key day with your friends or goingall-out with a photoshoot for the Gram, you’re sure to be astonished by the Garden of the Gods’ awe-inspiring scenery.
(Psst: don’t forget to check out
the Kissing Camels
while you’re there—it’s a one-of-a-kind rock formation!) 

Best for a challenge: The Incline

Distance: 0.9 miles up, 3 miles down
Difficulty: Very difficult
Trail type: Loop
Elevation gain: 2,011 feet
Parking: Yes, at Barr Trail lot and along Ruxton Road
Dogs: No
Starting point: 98 Hydro St, Manitou Springs, CO 80829
Okay, you got us: technically, this hike is five minutes outside of the Springs—but it’s so well-known by locals that it would be a crime not to include it on our list!
Though it’s only a mile of ascent, the Manitou Incline isn’t for the faint of heart. Over the course of 2,744 wooden steps, you’ll gain over 2,000 vertical feet. In fact, the Manitou Incline is so legendary that it’s often used as a training ground for Olympic athletes! The best-conditioned runners in the world can finish in under 30 minutes, but most people take well over an hour to reach the top.
Once you’ve conquered the Incline (and snapped a selfie at the summit!), you can take the winding, 3-mile Barr Trail back to the base of the mountain. Whether you tiptoe down the trail or jog your way home, be sure to do so triumphantly—you’ve just completed one of Colorado's most challenging hikes. 
Pro Tip
Reserve a spot
for the Incline and be sure to arrive early—preferably before sunrise! Nearby parking lots fill up rapidly, and the noonday heat can make the climb extremely challenging.

Best for waterfall lovers: Seven Falls Trail

Distance: 3.0 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Trail type: Out and back
Elevation gain: 770 feet
Parking: $16 entry fee for adults
Dogs: Yes
Starting point: 1045 Lower Gold Camp Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80905
Need a change of pace from towering mountain peaks? Seven Falls Trail, located near Colorado’s historic Broadmoor Hotel, is the path for you. As the name suggests, it features seven stunning waterfalls cascading down jagged cliff sides.
As much as we’d love to go into more detail, we know that a picture is worth a thousand words—so take a look at the
Seven Falls photo gallery
and see for yourself! If the sound of rushing water reinvigorates you, this is a must-visit trail in Colorado Springs.

Tips for hiking in Colorado Springs

Whether you’re a novice hiker or a seasoned veteran of the Colorado Trail, it can’t hurt to brush up on some crucial hiking tips. Keep these in mind before you hit the trailhead:
  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. If you’re new to Colorado, don’t forget: high altitude is no joke! We’d recommend that you bring at least a half-liter of water for every hour you’ll be on the trail.
  • Pack a light jacket. We mentioned it before, but it’s worth reiterating—Colorado mornings and evenings can get seriously chilly, especially in fall and winter.
  • Don’t forget the sunscreen! Believe it or not, Colorado is one of the sunniest states in the nation. 
  • Try not to cut corners. Thousands of employees and volunteers work hard to keep Colorado’s hiking trails in great shape, preserve the ecosystem, and protect wildlife. We know how tempting it can be to head off-trail for a few minutes—but please do your best to stick to the designated trail!

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