No matter the season, Teller County offers up some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Colorado. There are well over a thousand trails to choose from - mostly ranging from easy to moderate - and suitable for families to enjoy a pleasant day in our amazing mountain habitat. Trails zigzag across the entire county including the communities of Woodland Park, Divide, Cripple Creek and Florissant and branching out into the Pike National Forest, Mueller State Park and Eleven Mile State Park and more.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular “Great Hikes Above the Clouds” day hikes according to the Greater Woodland Park Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau.
Distance: 4.2 miles round trip (out and back)
Located only minutes from Divide heading south on Hwy 67, this family and dog-friendly trail features streams, meadows, forests, amazing rock formations and great views. Although a branch of this trail is available for more experienced hikers to climb to the summit of Pikes Peak, the easy to follow main branch will lead you to a fantastic lunch spot where you can oversee the North and South Catamount and Crystal Reservoirs. Don’t miss the incredible, natural cave about halfway to the top.
Horsethief Falls, Horsethief Park and Pancake Rocks
Distances from 2.6 to 4 miles to 8 miles round trip (out and backs)
The trailhead for this group is located along Hwy 67 travelling toward Cripple Creek just past the
noticeably closed railroad tunnel. The trails all start up a steep hill, on an old roadway, and you will pass through quiet meadows and forests. Then you have the choice of turning left at the fork or going straight on for a short trip to the Falls and a perfect lunch spot. Or for a more strenuous, longer hike turn right just pass the fork and make your way up the steep, rocky trail past an awesome viewing spot of the Continental Divide and on to the Pancakes – unique, mushroom shaped rocks about 4 miles out.
Lovell Gulch Trail
Distance: 5.5 miles round trip (balloon loop)
This beautifully scenic trail is tucked in right outside of Woodland Park off of Rampart Range Road. The spot is popular with hikers and those folks riding bikes or horses. This is also a dog-friendly trail. Once you get through the initial section of backyard hiking the trail opens up to meadows, a nice stream and gorgeous views, including the Tarryall Mountains to the West. Be warned that toward the mid-section of the trail you will be not far from the Rampart Range shooting area, so take a short cut if you don’t want to get too close. On the way back the trail don’t miss taking a picture with the goal post tree! Please note that to make the most of the elevation gain it is advised to travel this trail in a counter-clockwise direction from the start point.
Distance: 6 miles round trip (including a loop called the Elder-Fehn trail)
This family and dog-friendly trail is located just outside of Woodland Park a few miles back Edlowe Road and is part of the Catamount Ranch Resource Protection Area. There are two, clearly marked trails and from May through September the trail is the portal to the Ring the Peak Trail and the North Slope Recreation Area. This tranquil hike provides excellent views of Pike Peak and scenic lunch spots along the shores of the North and South Catamount and Crystal Reservoirs. More information can be found at www.palmerlandtrust.org/protected-lands/public-properties/catamount-ranch.
Common rules of thumb when hiking in the mountains, no matter what time of year, are of course to start out early to avoid the afternoon heat or storms, always carry plenty of water and snacks and bring extra layers of clothing for the fluctuating temperatures. Sunscreen and a hat are also very important essentials.
More information on Teller hiking spots can be found at www.localhikes.com (click on Colorado and scroll down to Hikes Outside the Metro Area) and www.trails.com (Enter 80863 or Woodland Park, Colorado in the search engine for trail maps and extended information). Or you are always welcome to stop in at the Chamber office, located inside the Ute Pass Cultural Center, and speak to the pleasant, knowledgeable staff and volunteers there. See you on the trails!