If you are looking for some immediate mountaintop satisfaction but just do not have all day to dedicate to it, than this is the hike for you. Located in North Cheyenne Canyon, this 3.0 mile out-and-back hike will take you to the 7,231 foot summit of Mount Cutler. Though the journey may lack the bragging rights of some of the areas more challenging hikes, it more than makes up for it with some of the most breathtaking views around. About halfway up you can peer down on Seven Falls, and upon reaching the summit Colorado Springs will spread out below you. With an elevation gain of just 415ft and needing just a couple hours to complete, this is a hike for the entire family.
Hovering high above the Air Force Academy on the northern part of the city, Eagle Peak is not for the faint of heart. Distinguished by its rocky eastern façade, Eagle Peak is a 3.0 mile out-and-back that shoots up 1,900 in elevation. Though your legs may want to raise the white flag, your senses will keep asking for more. The panoramic view from its summit allows for an amazing snapshot of the Academy’s campus below only to turn around and behold one of the most naturalistic views of Pike Peak available.
Probably the busiest hike in the Pikes Peak Region happens to be on private property, but that doesn’t stop nearly a quarter of a million trespassers testing their will annually. Existing on what is the old rail bed of the Mt. Manitou Scenic Incline Railway, The Incline may only be one mile long, but with an average grade of 40% resulting in a dramatic elevation gain of 2011ft, this one hurts. Just remember as you massage you quads from the top: you are only halfway done.
No list on hikes around Colorado Springs would be complete without mentioning the one that goes straight up America’s Mountain: Pikes Peak. Starting in Manitou Springs, Barr Trail leads you up the 7,800ft elevation over the 12.6 mile trek to the top of the state’s most famous 14er. After a visit to Barr Camp halfway up to restock and rest, continue to push above timberline and into the clouds. A hot cup of cocoa and a fresh donut at the summit house is a suitable reward and an easy way to forget for a moment that you still have to head back down.
- by Kory Kilmer for CBSDenver.com