By Jo Dickison
In Colorado Springs you don’t have to go outside the city to hike some outstanding natural areas. Here are three stunning parks within the city limits.
There’s a reason they call it Garden of the Gods. One of the best known parks in Colorado, the Garden has 13 peaks, stunning red rock pinnacles, and other rock formations over 200 million years old. Visitors will find 15 miles of hiking and biking trails, some of which are paved, at this city-run park. Technical rock climbers with equipment can obtain a permit from the Visitors Center. Occasionally big horned sheep can be seen on the high bluffs above the entrance and deer are commonly spotted throughout the park. http://gardenofgods.com/
Another free city park, the 787-acre Red Rock Canyon off Highway 24 is part of the same red rock vein that runs to Garden of the Gods. There are 80 bolted climbing routes for technical climbers with permits (obtained at the Garden of the Gods Visitors Center) and numerous trails for hikers, cyclists and equestrians. Red Rock Canyon Park is conveniently located near the town of Manitou Springs, which is a good place to stop for lunch or a drink after a hike. Fun fact: the park was originally a sandstone quarry during the 1880s and 1890s. http://www.springsgov.com/
Seven Falls in south Cheyenne Canyon has views of towering granite peaks and a series of waterfalls that have been called “The Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado.” Because it is a private park, there is an admission fee ($9.25 for adults, $5.75 for children 6-15, and free for kids 5 and under). Seven Falls is open for walking by day with access to an observation deck. For those looking for some exercise, take the stairs to the top of the falls. From December to the end of February, the park’s two popular trails, the Trail to Inspiration Point and the Trail to Midnight Falls, are closed, but the frozen falls present another spectacular view. http://www.sevenfalls.com/
Plan Your Trip: Colorado Guide.
Photo: James Egbert/My Shot
- Nat Geo Expeditions