The Ute Valley Park Loop Trail is a fun 3.5-mile hike that makes an open loop around the 538-acre park from the main trailhead on Vindicator Drive. The hike is pieced together by several different trails so it can be sometimes confusing as to which way to go, but you won’t get lost since the park is surrounded by Colorado Springs suburbs. The wide trail threads through a foothills ecosystem, with ponderosa pine woodlands, scrub oak thickets, and open meadows. Ute Valley Park is defined by Popes Bluffs, a long sandstone hogback on the west side of the park. The park is popular with hikers and mountain bikers, so share the trail responsibly.
- Ute Valley Park is easily reached from Interstate 25 in northern Colorado Springs. Take the Woodmen Road exit (#149) and drive west on Woodmen for 1.6 miles to Vindicator Drive. Turn right or west on Vindicator and continue another 0.7 miles. Turn left into a small parking area on the north side of the park. The trailhead is on the east side of the parking area. A pit toilet and park map is at the trailhead.
- Begin the hike at the trailhead by the toilet. Go southeast on Yucca Trail past a wetland on a boardwalk, then on a good trail for 0.75 miles across open meadows above Eagleview Middle School. At a junction, continue straight along bluffs until the trail bends south and descends into a valley. Hike up the valley a short distance to a large T-junction. Go left and follow the good trail east through pine woods before it makes a big U-bend west.
- Follow the good trail west on a bluff above houses and above a big meadow. Eventually the trail reaches a ponderosa pine woodland. Go left or west on either Scrub Oak Path or Hummingbird Trail and hike 0.35 miles to Pine Ridge Trail. Follow this old road north for 0.75 miles to the Vindicator trailhead.
- Watch for rattlesnakes if you hike in the summer. They’re often seen on rocky terrain. Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be leashed at all times. Carry water when it’s hot.
Recommended season(s): Year-round.
–Stewart M. Green