North Cheyenne Cañon Park is a great place to hike in Colorado Springs! Every trail I’ve done has stunning views and provides a nice little adventure without straying too far from the convenience of the city.
Before getting into my favorite trails in the park, there are a few considerations hikers, and especially dog owners, should take into account:
There is not nearly enough parking, especially at the joint trailhead for Mount Cutler and Mount Muscoco. If you hike on the weekend, definitely be sure to arrive early in the morning to get a spot and avoid crowded trails. Weekday hiking will be even better.
This is a very dog friendly park! However, be aware that while it is technically an on-leash area, there is a strong off-leash culture in this park. If that presents a challenge for your dog or a member of your hiking party, I suggest finding a different place to hike. You will run into multiple off leash dogs, some with better recall than others.
1. Mount Cutler
Mount Cutler will always be a go-to hiking trail. At only 2 miles roundtrip and less than 500 feet of elevation gain, it is a great hike for beginners or to show out-of-state visitors the best of Colorado Springs. It is also a great trail for knocking out a quick afternoon hike after work while still getting a decent workout in.
Mount Cutler provides a great taste of Colorado hiking. There are beautiful views throughout the trail, and the summit is pretty spacious so it’s a good place to spend time hammocking or enjoying a picnic. There are interesting rock formations along the hike, and the trail is technical enough to provide some challenge, but not so much that a beginner will have safety concerns.
2. Mount Muscoco
Mount Muscoco is another stunning trail in North Cheyenne Cañon Park. I think of Muscoco as the big brother to Mount Cutler. The two trails share a trailhead and the first half mile or so before Muscoco branches off to the right. However, Muscoco is much more challenging than Cutler at about 4 miles roundtrip and almost 1300 feet of elevation gain.
The trail itself is more technical than Cutler, especially at the top, and the summit is much smaller, but the payoff is well worth it. Muscoco will leave you feeling tired but accomplished, and treat you to some absolutely stunning views.
3. Mays Peak
Honestly, the first part of this trail isn’t anything exciting. Mays Peak starts with a mile walk up High Drive, just as many of the trails in North Cheyenne Cañon Park do. It’s when this trail branches off that the hike really gets started. In just a half mile, Mays Peak gains more than 700 feet of elevation gain. While the hike is only a little over 3 miles roundtrip, it will definitely give you a workout.
The summit has 360° views of Colorado Springs and the surrounding area. What I find more special though is the quiet forest hike up to that summit. This is definitely a trail to hike on a weekday so that you can enjoy some peace and solitude.
4. St. Mary’s Falls
St. Mary’s Falls is one of the longest hikes I have done in North Cheyenne Cañon Park, and also one of the most beautiful. Unfortunately, my hiking group was unable to finish the hike when we went, so I can’t comment on the falls themselves. Fortunately, the trail to the falls itself is lovely, and absolutely worth hiking whether or not you make it the whole way.
The St. Mary’s Falls trail is about 6 miles roundtrip, and about 1400 feet of elevation gain, making it a somewhat challenging, but still beginner appropriate trail. The trail narrows in some areas, with moderate drop-offs, so please be aware of that if you have a fear of heights!
Overall, this trail is lovely, covers varied and interesting terrain, and is well worth the effort!
5. Seven Bridges
The trail is appropriately named, as you will cross a series of numbered bridges while hiking. Like Mays Peak, this is a wonderful hike for quiet solitude in the woods, so I recommend visiting in the early morning or during the week. Seven Bridges is about 3.5 miles roundtrip and approximately 900 feet of elevation gain, so it is not an “easy” trail, but it is also not particularly technical, making it a suitable trail for beginners. If you hike with your dog, Seven Bridges is a great summer hike because it follows a creek, so you don’t have to worry about bringing extra water for your pup!