Getting outside more wouldn’t be a bad New Year’s resolution. Start strong Wednesday at Colorado’s state parks, participating once again in the tradition of “First Day” hikes.
Here we fill you in on what’s planned at some of the Pikes Peak region’s preserves. You might also opt to travel north to some other Front Range gems we recommend. If you haven’t been, let the guided trips give you proper introductions.
Wherever you go, dress for the cold and bring water and snacks. Note that day passes per vehicle range between $8-$10.
1. Cheyenne Mountain
Meet at the Limekiln trailhead for three hikes starting at 10 a.m., visiting the meadows and woodlands at the foot of this region’s second-most iconic peak. Distances between 1 and 5 miles.
Where: 410 JL Ranch Heights Road, Colorado Springs
Spots are limited, but see if you can join professional forest bathing (in which you don’t take a bath, but do soak up your natural surroundings) along the Outlook Ridge Trail by pre-registering at the visitors center or by calling 719-687-2366. Get there by 10:45 a.m. for the session scheduled through 1:30 p.m. If you’re not able to join, you can still enjoy Outlook Ridge on your own — a premier showcase of the park.
Naturalists also leading hikes on the 2 ½-mile Elk Meadow Trail and shorter Wapiti Trail.
Where: 21045 Colorado 67, Divide
3. Castlewood Canyon
Stop by the visitor center, opening at 8 a.m., to learn about a variety of guided hikes taking place through the surprising geologic wonderland on the prairie northeast of Colorado Springs. One is expected to travel the scenic Inner Canyon Trail. Volunteers are planning to feed visitors with soup.
Check the park’s Facebook page for up-to-date information.
Where: 2989 S. Colorado 83, Franktown
Wide variety of guided trips through the park’s varied 3,900 acres, with most of them starting at 9:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. Several are between 4 and 9 miles, while the 11.4-mile adventure in the park’s highest reaches is scheduled for 8:30 a.m.
For a full rundown, go to: https://bit.ly/34W9aTT
Where: 12102 S. Elk Creek Road, Pine
The whole family will enjoy the Garden of the Gods-like sandstone formations seen from the South Rim and Fountain Valley trails, with a naturalist leading at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on those, respectively. A more arduous trip to the 7,175-foot summit of Carpenters Peak starts at 9 a.m.
Get there early, as the hikes might fill to capacity.
Where: 4751 E. Roxborough Drive, Littleton
6. Golden Gate Canyon
Meet at the visitor center at 10 a.m. and choose between two hikes, one 3 miles, the other 5, touring the classic beauty of Colorado’s third largest state park.
Where: 92 Crawford Gulch Road, Golden
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