With the coronavirus pandemic closing venues for sports, concerts, food and even prayers, we’re fortunate here in the Pikes Peak region to have trails to relieve our stress and renew our spirits.

Public health officials are encouraging social distancing — staying 6 feet away from other individuals — on the trails as well as any public space. See if these can bring you and the family back toward equilibrium:

1. Seven Bridges

A hiker takes in the views from a bridge on the Seven Bridges Trail in Colorado Springs. Seth Boster, The Gazette

Frankly, it’s all too often the recommendation in various trails lists. But remember, this is a list unlike any other, coming as we grapple with unprecedented changes to our daily lives. And maybe in our day-to-day efforts to find less-traveled trails, we’ve forgotten the ones that are truly classic. Seven Bridges is one of those. It’s got North Cheyenne Cañon’s signature woods and rock outcrops, plus a bonus: the soothing melody of a flowing stream.

2. Contemplative Trail

The Quarry Pass trail skirts a scenic ridge in Red Rock Canyon Open Space. Seth Boster, The Gazette

Yes, another popular option. But it’s as beneficial as the name suggests. At Red Rock Canyon Open Space, contemplate better days ahead and find yourself grateful amid soaring sandstone walls and mountain vistas.

3. Monument Rock

Monument Rock looms beside a reflection pond in Monument. Photo by Seth Boster, The Gazette

We recently spotlighted this trip in our weekly Happy Trails series, finding the destination landmark to be even more surprising up close than from faraway on Interstate 25 approaching Monument. At the base of the hulking Mount Herman, Monument Rock must be admired. A reflection pond adds to the tranquility.

4. Lovell Gulch

A hiker gazes upon Pikes Peak from the Lovell Gulch Trail near Woodland Park.
Seth Boster/The Gazette

One should be prepared for some rugged, steep ascents along this 5-mile loop trail near Woodland Park. But mostly, it’s a gentle tour of creek-crossings, meadows and pine-scented forests with spectacular views of Pikes Peak and other 14,000-foot peaks beyond.

5. Paint Mines

Paint Mines 2 - Photo Credit Charles Roach - OutThere Colorado
Paint Mines Interpretive Park. Photo Credit: Charles Roach (OutThere Colorado).

Outdoor enthusiasts living close to Colorado Springs’ surrounding canyons and mountains hesitate to journey far east to the plains. But the Paint Mines is well worth the drive — indeed, worthy of a regular pilgrimage. The El Paso County park is a hidden wonderland of colorful geology.

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