By Alexis Griggs

Colorado Springs offers several hiking options for people of all different skill sets, from paved trails to mountainous scrambles. ranks Colorado Springs’ 25 best hiking trails based on accessibility, popularity, views, entrance fees, and difficulty. Described here are some of the best hiking spots within a 30-minute drive of campus.

Garden of the Gods is ranked the No. 1 park in the U.S. by TripAdvisor and is only a 15-minute drive from campus. The park is made up of both paved and gravel trails, making it accessible to almost everyone. The area is well known for its towering red rock formations. Garden of the Gods Park is free to the public, making it one of the most popular landmarks in Colorado.

If you have never done a “14-er” and want to climb one that is close to campus, Pikes Peak Barr Trail begins in Manitou Springs and ends at the summit of Pikes Peak. The 13-mile trail is rated as more difficult than many of the other 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado because of its length and switchbacks. Many hikers will split the trek into two days and camp overnight. If you decide to do the Barr Trail, make sure to plan accordingly and pack the necessary gear.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space features a trail system with nearly 1,500 acres of red canyons and ridges. The free park provides areas for bikers, cross-country skiers, horseback riders, and climbers. There are six main trails to choose from, and because it is only a 10-minute drive from campus, it is a popular place for CC students to hike and run outside.

If you want to stay close to campus but still want to be on a trail, the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail, commonly known as the “Tiger Trail,” is a good option. You can hop onto it directly below Washburn Field and follow the trail for up to 15 miles. It is primarily paved with sections of gravel and dirt, which is great for an easy walk or run. This trail is the perfect option for those who want to exercise outside but don’t want to drive far from campus.

Cheyenne Mountain State Park offers over 20 trails that are rated in difficulty from easy to extreme. In addition to hiking, the park advertises year-round camping, an archery range, geocaching, and picnicking areas. The area is known for its nature and wildlife, including elk, foxes, coyotes, hawks, eagles, and rattlesnakes. The state park is a 20-minute drive from campus and charges an $8 daily fee for automobiles without a state park sticker.  

We are lucky to live in an area with countless hiking opportunities, many of which are free and accessible to CC students. Whether you are looking for a quick day hike, a run right off campus, or an overnight weekend adventure, Colorado Springs outdoor life has got you covered. 

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