Quail Lake is one of Colorado Springs’ classic summer scenes. It can be hard to find a water escape in this state, and here one is, right out the backdoor for the surrounding neighborhood and not far for others close to the heart of the city.
Of course, Prospect Lake is even closer to downtown. But a recent blue-green algae bloom has kept that lake closed. And the experience is different here, with a viewshed dominated by Cheyenne Mountain.
For anyone who doesn’t mind the drive, there’s Lake Pueblo, considered the Front Range’s premier aquatic getaway. The crowds come with the reputation.
The crowds come to Quail Lake, too. If you don’t arrive early on weekends, good luck getting a parking spot at Cheyenne Mountain Boulevard and Quail Lake Road. If full, you might still be able to drive the parking lot loop and quickly unload your kayak at the boat ramp. Cars typically line the curb of Quail Lake Road.
Kayaking is among popular activities on the water. Standup paddleboarding’s growing ranks are also found here. Floats and foot-powered boats join the fun on the lake’s 22-acre surface, reflecting the craggy majesty of the canyons and foothills.
The view includes Almagre Moutnain and Cameron’s Cone, best enjoyed along the dirt path looping the lake. Walkers, runners and bikers find relief between tall trees at the water’s edge.
Others find a spot on the shore to cast a line and wait for some of the warm-water residents to bite: crappie, pike, bluegill and wipers. Other visitors bring the kids for a picnic. The park on the water’s west edge offers plenty of grassy space. The park also includes a playground, sand volleyball and a basketball court.
Trip log: 1-mile loop trail, 307 feet elevation gain
Getting there: Quail Lake Park at 915 Cheyenne Mountain Blvd.
FYI: Open sunrise to sunset. No swimming or wading unless in designated beach areas. Nonmotorized, wakeless boats. Dogs on leash. More information: coloradosprings.gov/parks/page/quail-lake-park
SETH BOSTER, THE GAZETTE