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.
"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." Read more
"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." Read more
"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." Read more
"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" Read more
"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." Read more