Short, steep trail west of Colorado Springs sure to take your breath away

Hikers enjoy sweeping views of Woodland Park while hiking nearby Bald Mountain in the Rampart Range. Photo Credit: Nathan Van Dyne, The Gazette.

For avid hikers, it’s easy to turn a nose up at a trek that measures less than 3 miles.

Honestly, who wants to go to the trouble of lacing up boots and loading a pack when the drive to the trailhead could take longer than the hike itself?

Coloradans want more. They expect more. They deserve more.

Well, on this jaunt through Pike National Forest, they get more — much more — than the distance would suggest.

The hike to Bald Mountain is short, sweet and pretty darn steep, with stunning views that stretch for miles in all directions.

While there are several ways to reach the summit — including by car and a 200-yard walk from Rampart Range Road — the trip on this bluebird morning started from the Paradise Open Space trailhead in Woodland Park.

The trail starts on the left side of the ample parking area. After a few hundred yards, veer right into a gulley and follow the path through the majestic forest as it skirts the neighborhood below. One-third of a mile into the hike, go right at a junction marked by a cairn. In less than a quarter-mile, the path zigzags down to meet another trail.

It’s all uphill from here.

Stay cognizant of your surroundings as the trail branches out at times on the ascent. The best way to stay on track is to keep ascending and to go left when the option is presented.

The final half-mile is sure to take your breath away as the trail’s grade steepens. But hikers won’t mind stopping to take in the views, with Pikes Peak towering above and Woodland Park nestled down below.

Upon reaching the summit, some hikers might still want more. And they’re in luck as a 13-mile loop around Rampart Reservoir is only a short distance away.

Return the way you came.

Bald Mountain, Woodland Park

Trip log: 2.75 miles round trip (out and back), 1,261 feet elevation gain, 9,463 feet max

Difficulty: Moderate-difficult

Getting there: Take U.S. 24 west to Woodland Park. Turn right at the first stoplight (across from the Walmart Supercenter) onto Morning Sun Drive and then turn left on Sun Valley Drive. Follow for a mile to Kings Crown Road. Turn left and the trailhead is on the right.

FYI: Hiking, biking. Dogs on leash. Stay off muddy trails. Icy in winter; use traction.


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