5 Great Places to Walk Through Colorado’s Fall Foliage
An opportunity to get outdoors and take in the glories of fall should simply not be passed up. Not only is walking in general good for your health, but taking in the wonders of an autumn atmosphere can be quite soothing to the mind as well. The rhythmic crunch of leaves beneath your feet. The crisp bite in the air. Swirls of color passing by on a firm breeze. So good!
There is no lack of great walking trails around Colorado Springs to take in some leaf-peeping. While the climate can have an effect on when leaves change from year to year, late September and early October tend to be the best times around here more often than not. Keep an eye on the weather forecasts for peak colors and plan accordingly!
Don’t fret if you don’t already have a favorite spot. Here are some suggestions of locations around Colorado Springs that can make for a great autumn outing!
There actually are seven bridges on this trail, which tend to receive a lot of traffic. It is an out-and-back path that is about 3.7 miles round trip, and dogs are welcome if properly leashed.
The trail is located in North Cheyenne Canon Park, about 25 minutes southwest of Colorado Springs. There is plenty of shady forest to walk through and, once passing the seventh bridge, you can continue on less than half a mile to reach Jones Park, if you wish.
Located about 25 minutes northwest from downtown Colorado Springs, the trail leads from the town of Green Mountain Falls to the South Catamount Reservoir.
This hiking trail is listed as a moderate trek in most sources, and the round trip is almost 5 miles long with an elevation gain of a little more than 1,500 feet. This might not be a trail that people who are just starting out as walkers will wish to take for a first outing.
However, those who do want to take on the Catamount Trail will find a pet-friendly excursion with a rocky path and switchbacks to begin. The trail eventually passes through “the Garden of Eden,” a beautiful field of aspens, and eventually reaches the South Catamount Reservoir. Picnic tables and restrooms are available at the reservoir if you want to take a rest and have some food before heading back.
Cheyenne Mountain State Park
About 15 minutes south of Colorado Springs, Cheyenne Mountain State Park boasts a bevy of easy and moderate trails. Unfortunately, no pets are allowed on these paths.
Park rangers recommend the Soaring Kestral Trail for fall viewing. It’s a 1.8-mile moderate trail that offers great views of the valley. You can continue the walk on connecting trails such as Bobcat Way and Acorn Alley, if you’re feeling up to it. View a map of all 17 trails.
Mueller State Park
If you want to go farther west, a 45-minute drive will take you to the trails of Mueller State Park. You should note that there is a daily $7 entrance fee per vehicle there.
However, once in you will have access to 55 miles of trails that web out through the park. Like Cheyenne Mountain State Park, you can plan a route through connecting trails. One recommended path runs 4 miles starting at the Outlook Ridge Trailhead and walking along the Outlook Trail. This will provide access to three separate overlooks: Raven Ridge, Red Tail, and Lone Eagle. (Trails always have such majestic names, don’t they?)
Shootin’ Star and Twin Rocks Trails
Head out even farther west (50 minutes) and you can reach a pair of trails within Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. These two scenic paths pass by groves of aspens and other trees, as well as a seasonal pool and rock formations. (The rocks don’t change much with the seasons, but they’re still amazing to look at).
You will have to stop at the visitor’s center for a day pass ($5), but it’s well worth spending the day here! The round trip is about 6 miles, but traffic tends to be light.
Keep Your Feet Safe in Any Season!
Whenever you’re out walking one of the many trails around our area, it pays to keep some foot care tips in mind.
First, and easily enough, stay aware of where you’re walking. While many trails are well paved, some can be more uneven than others. Don’t get too distracted by the foliage that you step into a prairie dog hole or roll your ankle on a sudden decline.
In general, walking with a shorter stride at a slightly faster clip than average can help you remain more prepared to recover from any potential stumbles. It’s also helpful for avoiding blisters.
Speaking of blister prevention, make sure you’re wearing comfortable shoes made for long walks or hiking. You should have space for your toes to avoid rubbing against each other or colliding against the front of the shoe, and the heel should not slip much.
If you do run into foot or ankle problems while leaf-peeping, don’t let it ruin your season. McVay Foot & Ankle is here to help! We not only have the treatments that can get you back in action as quickly and safely as possible, but also the advice and tools to help avoid those problems from coming back in the future.
Our office in Colorado Springs is always accepting new patients. Give us a call at (719) 266-5000 or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment.
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