Waldo Canyon Loop Trail

Colorado Springs, Colorado 80917

Waldo Canyon Loop Trail

Waldo Canyon Loop Trail Professional Review and Guide

"A loop trail offering views of Pikes Peak, a meandering stream, boulders for climbing, flowering cactus, and a variety of forests—what more could one ask for? Waldo Canyon Loop Trail combines all of these, along with destinations that will suit the stature or time frame of any hiker.

The Waldo Canyon Trail No. 640 climbs a ridge with Pikes Peak dominating the vista along most of the trail. However, watch for the equally exquisite sights at your feet: spring-flowering barrel cactus or perhaps the tracks of a bighorn sheep. At 0.6 mile, the trail leads to a boulder-filled overlook; this shaded picnic destination or stop for young climbers to try their skills can also serve as a turnaround point for a shorter hike. Kids may want to inspect the gray-green lichen that crusts these and other boulders in the region. A magnifying glass is fun to use here."

More Waldo Canyon Loop Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"This beautiful hike up into Waldo Canyon, with spectacular views of Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak, and Ute Pass, is extremely popular on the weekends. Plan on doing your hike midweek or in the early morning."

"Views of Pike's Peak and Waldo Canyon and pedaling through an established forest with lichen-draped trees and moss-covered rocks make nice distractions. But Waldo is a popular guy and other traffic WILL be on the trail.

Some unofficial side trails exist, but this route follows the main, well-worn singletrack. Located west of Manitou Springs. Tread: 7.5 miles of hard-packed singletrack with some granite gravel sprinkled on top."

"Waldo Canyon is a surprise. Its stimulating loop trail takes the hiker far from the hectic metropolis and into a world of soaring mountain vistas, tranquil streams, and wonderful wildflowers. A luminous bluemist penstemon show, accented by scarlet bugler penstemon and upwards of 80 wildflower species, is a rite of spring in Waldo Canyon.

This fairly long day hike leads the hiker up and along, then over and down through an amazing collection of ecosystems. The views of Pikes Peak alone inspire hikers to take on the 6.8-mile loop. During peak bloom in the last half of June the scenery gets even better. Wildflower alert: An abundance of bluemist penstemon and the northern limit for scarlet bugler penstemon."

"On the trail, a sign identifies the pink-colored rock as Pikes Peak granite, about 1 billion years old. This is the predominant rock along the canyon. The pink color sets off scrub oak and mountain mahogany growing along the trail. Early in the season blue penstemon grows abundantly in the canyon. The trail continues through a pine and fir forest.

The trail drops into several ravines, then crosses a ridge to access the canyon after about 1 mile from the trailhead. The trail descends into the canyon and enters a meadow, fed by a creek which flows through the canyon and offers enticing opportunities for your dog to get refreshed at the half dozen or so shallow crossings of the at-times-sluggish stream."

"Waldo Canyon is a popular trail close to both Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs. It is an extremely well-constructed and maintained trail that follows the folds of the hills through groves of Gambel oak, spruce, and lodgepole pine. Elevation gain on the loop’s clockwise direction is so gradual it’s barely noticeable, and a couple of long stretches reveal stunning views of Pikes Peak. An excellent hike close to the city.

Elevation gain on the loop’s clockwise direction is so gradual it’s barely noticeable, and a couple of long stretches reveal stunning views of Pikes Peak. An excellent hike close to the city. The trail begins by climbing a long set of stairs, then turns hard east and follows packed gravel along the canyon wall high above the traffic whizzing by on the highway. The path curves through 6-foot-tall Gambel oak, lodgepole pine, spruce, and spiny yucca at ground level."

"With its beautiful views of Waldo Canyon, this is a very popular run, and therefore, is very busy. Be sure to come early, and be careful to go slow to avoid tripping over roots and other sharp rocks. Grade: Moderate, with many tight switchbacks.

There are a number of roots and snags, as well as sandy sections. Nonetheless, most portions of the trail are in good condition. Location: 7.0 miles west of I-25, near Colorado Springs. Distance/Type: 6.9 miles loop. Running Time: 1.5 hours. Starting Elevation: 7,050 feet. Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet. Best Season: April through October"

"The Waldo Canyon Trail, although primarily a hiker’s trail, does invite gonzo-minded mountain bikers to strut their stuff. What makes this trail particularly appealing to tough riders is its steep climbs out of creek beds and its fast and rocky descent— added to this is the variety of terrain Waldo Canyon delivers.

Views from its highest point include Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs, and NORA (North American Aerospace Defense Command). Its location right beside U.S. Highway 24 makes for a speedy assault of the trail for those in transit. For those of you whose riding mentality is one fry short of a Happy Meal, try tackling the stairs on your return. Terrain: Singletrack that covers a variety of different terrain: various kinds of rock surfaces, hard-packed dirt, wet forest earth, large roots, Pikes Peak granite."

"In the vicinity of Pikes Peak (and along its entire eastern face), the Front Range abruptly rises from the Great Plains as a wall of rugged mountains.

Exploring a portion of this beautiful area is the Waldo Canyon Trail, an easy and highly rewarding hike that begins just a few minutes from downtown Colorado Springs. Because of its accessibility and its considerable beauty, the Waldo Canyon Trail is quite popular. In fact, Pike National Forest statistics show that this is the most heavily used trail in the Pikes Peak region."

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Trail Information

Colorado Springs
Nearby City
Dog-friendly
Accessibility
7.0
Distance
Several options
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
1.5-7 hours
Duration
Year-round
Season
7,020 feet
Trailhead Elevation
8,000 feet
Top Elevation
For current conditions and more information, contact the Pikes Peak Ranger District, www.fs.fed.us/r2/psicc or (719) 553-1400
Local Contacts
Waldo Canyon Trail booklet, Pike National Forest; USGS Cascade
Local Maps