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Hiking Bob: A trio of short, easy trails 

In last week's column, I featured a hike that is rather difficult and definitely not for everyone.  This week, I'll turn that around 180 degrees and feature a few fairly easy hikes that almost any hiker can do. As a bonus, these are all pretty close to Colorado Springs, not very well known, and one even serves as an alternative way to access the trail around Rampart Reservoir.

Trail 755, also known as the Hyster Trail, is an obscure little trail at the end of an obscure four-wheel drive road, and the trail ends at another obscure four-wheel drive road. It's a short hike of about 3 miles round-trip, with an interesting artifact found along the way. And maybe a bear, too — I heard, but did not see, a bear nearby during my visit to this trail, and also saw some bear scat on the trail. This hike has a little bit of everything: Hills, views, water, dense forest.

See Slideshow for Details

To Get There:
From U.S. Hwy. 24 and Baldwin Avenue in Woodland Park (the traffic light at the McDonald's), turn north onto Baldwin Avenue, which eventually becomes Rampart Range Road. At about 4.25 miles, turn right onto Forest Service Road 312. About .3 miles later, turn left onto Forest Service Road 314. Then, 1.7 miles later, turn right on Forest Service Road 314A, and .4 miles later, park at a turn-around point at the top of a small rise in the road (see slideshow). You will need an SUV on FSR 314 and 314A. Do not attempt in a passenger car.

Trail 700 around Rampart Reservoir is a popular (albeit long at 12 miles) favorite of mountain bikers and the most hardy of hikers. The Rainbow Gulch Trail, also called Trail 714, is the most popular trail to access Rampart Reservoir since it's open all year 'round, and it's also a free access path to the reservoir. Add in the the many anglers who use the trail, and it becomes a crowded trail and parking lot. Instead of using Rainbow Gulch, use Trail 700A, a lesser used, easy/moderate trail, with direct access to the reservoir, about 3.25 miles north and west of where Rainbow Gulch meets Trail 700. It's also a shorter hike than Rainbow Gulch. 

To Get There: From U.S. Hwy. 24 and Baldwin Avenue in Woodland Park, turn north on Baldwin Avenue. At about 2.9 miles, turn right onto Loy Creek Road. About a 1.5 miles later, at the three-way stop intersection, continue straight onto Shubarth Road/Forest Service Road 307. Follow FSR 307 for another 2.9 miles to the Trail 700A trailhead on the right. From here, it is a 1-mile hike down to Trail 700. Shubarth Road traverses private property, so please obey all signs asking that you stay on the road. An SUV is recommended for this road.

click to enlarge Trail 700A parking. Note: The arrow that says "FSR 304" should read "FSR 307."  - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • Trail 700A parking. Note: The arrow that says "FSR 304" should read "FSR 307."
Trail 700A to the intersection with Trail 700. - While this trail is marked at the trailhead, it's not marked at the intersection with 700, - so keep an eye out for it on your return.
  • Trail 700A to the intersection with Trail 700. While this trail is marked at the trailhead, it's not marked at the intersection with 700, so keep an eye out for it on your return.

About .4 miles past the Trail 700A trailhead is Trail 721. Another short, easy trail, this one has great views of Pikes Peak, before it ends less than a mile later at the boundary for the Air Force Academy's Farish Recreation Area. 

click to enlarge Trail 721 parking is about .4 miles past Trail 700A parking. The trailhead is to the right of the parking area. - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • Trail 721 parking is about .4 miles past Trail 700A parking. The trailhead is to the right of the parking area.

click to enlarge Pikes Peak view from trail 721 - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • Pikes Peak view from trail 721
Trail 721, from the trailhead (lower right) to the border of the Farish Recreation Area. Although the gate into Farish will probably be open, signs warn against trespassing onto military property. - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • Trail 721, from the trailhead (lower right) to the border of the Farish Recreation Area. Although the gate into Farish will probably be open, signs warn against trespassing onto military property.

These three trails should open up some new options for you if you haven't explored these areas.

Be Good. Do Good Things.  Explore New Trails.

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for almost 28 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (@hikingguide), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc. to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.

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