Some Colorado Springs hiking trails lead to waterfalls, and others through fall color or along creeks. These are some that I've enjoyed, along with pictures for each hike. The first hike on this page visits two waterfalls, and those are one of my favorite hiking destinations. (Hopefully yours too.)
Round-trip distance: 3.0 miles
Difficulty level: moderate to difficult
Approximate round-trip hiking time: 2 hours and 20 minutes;
Dog friendly: yes
Entrance fee: no
Restroom facilities: yes, near the lake in town.
Directions to the small town of Green Mountain Falls, which is about 15 miles west of Colorado Springs: from I-25 in Colorado Springs, take exit 141 and go west on Hwy. 24. Shortly after the town of Cascade, you'll see the sign for Green Mountain Falls on your left. Turn left and follow the road to the center of town and the public parking lot by the lake.
Directions to the trailhead: from the lake, (you can get a free map from the box on the sign by the lake that says: Trailhead), walk up Hotel street, then Park ave., then Boulder street, which will lead you to the Thomas trail which connects Crystal Falls to Catamount Falls. Crystal Falls is a smaller falls that you can visit on your way to Catamount Falls.
The beginning of the trail at this point is quite overgrown with shrubbery and we wondered if the whole trail was this way. Luckily it wasn't. Very soon after you start walking on this trail, there is a short trail off to your left and this takes you to see Crystal Falls. After your visit there, continue back on the main trail. The trail opens up and you will come to another fork in the trail. You want to take the right fork and follow the yellow dots.
You will now be in the forest and the trail more or less crosses the side of the mountain. Along the way, there are spots where you can look down and see the town of Green Mountain Falls. Eventually, you'll reach the far side of the Thomas trail and that's when things get harder. On your right is a cliff and the trail is relatively narrow so you need to be careful through that part.
After that is a fairly steep, (though short), downhill hike to Catamount Falls. Then you have to negotiate the bridge across Catamount Creek which is a combination of rocks and logs but no handrail. The bridge is actually the best spot to view the falls though. Once you get across this bridge, you're almost finished with the Thomas trail.
Just continue down until this Colorado Springs hiking trail ends. At this point, you can either go right across the bridge, or left and down through the forest. Both will lead you to Ute Pass ave. which will take you back to the lake in the middle of town, and your car.
Waldo Canyon loop trail
Round-trip distance: 7 miles
Difficulty level: moderate to difficult;
Approximate round-trip hiking time: 3 hours and 45 minutes
Dog friendly: yes
Entrance fee: no
Restroom facilities: no
Directions to Waldo Canyon trailhead: from I-25 in Colorado Springs, take exit 141 and follow Hwy. 24 west past Manitou Springs. When you reach the Cave of the Winds stoplight, it’s about 2 more miles to the fairly large parking lot on your right. You will most likely see a lot of cars in the parking lot since it’s a popular trail, at least during the summer.
As I just mentioned, this Colorado Springs hiking trail is a pretty busy place, so try to get there as early as you can, so you can find yourself a parking spot. The trail starts up some stairs which lead to the trail and from there, the trail continues up at a good pace. Before you know it, you’ll be a good ways up the trail where you’ll be looking down on Hwy. 24.
This Colorado Springs hiking trail is also pretty open, so it’s a good idea to use your sunscreen. Anyway, there were a few flowers along the trail, (including cactus flowers), but not as many as I had expected for late June. So I’m guessing that a little later would be better as far as seeing flowers along this trail.
Before too long, you’ll reach the actual loop portion of this Colorado Springs hiking trail. You can follow it which ever direction you want to…we followed it to the right and were soon rewarded with wonderful views of Pikes Peak. Go that way if you want to see the views sooner rather than later, but we did find out that going that way is the harder, (steeper), way to do the loop. So, you decide.
From that point, it seemed to us as though the trail just kept going up and up, so it was a good thing we at least had the good views of Pikes Peak along the way! After what seemed like a long time, the trail finally started heading down. Eventually, you reach the spot where the loop started, and it’s pretty much all downhill from there. Enjoy your hike. :-)
I hope you like these Colorado Springs hiking trails...I'll be adding more as I get to them.