Dawson Butte and flowers

A view of Dawson Butte

A little while ago I wrote a few columns about short — approximately 1 mile — hikes in the Pikes Peak region. Now, a 1-mile hike is pretty short, and not much of a challenge for most people, so for this week's column, we'll stretch our legs a bit further and look at hikes that are 5 miles — give or take a little bit — in length.

Some might be easy, some might be difficult, some in between. At 5 miles, most can be done in around 2 hours; enough time for a nice hike, not so long as to take up your entire day. I've done all of the trails listed here, and used my hiking database to put together this list. That said, it is obviously by no means comprehensive or all encompassing, but it should provide enough variety.

Click on the highlighted link for a detailed map for each hike. They are listed here in no particular order.

  • Spruce Mountain Open Space, also in Douglas County, just a bit north of Palmer Lake, is a popular destination for hikers and equestrians. If you do this loop clockwise, the hike is fairly easy, with the only uphill section at the beginning of the hike, to the top of the broad, flat mesa, which has great views.
Windy poont

Spruce Mountain Windy Point view

  • Mueller State Park is one of my favorite places to hike, and this loop is one of the best there. This loop starts and ends at the visitors center parking lot, beginning with a steep, long downhill, and then after going past a couple of ponds, features a steep uphill before closing the loop. From the east end of the visitors center lot, take Trail 5 to Trail 15 to Trail 25 to Trail 11 to Trail 1. COTREX says 4.75 miles, but my GPS track is right at 5 miles. I've rarely seen other people on this loop, making it great for "getting away". Entry fees do apply. Dogs are not permitted on any trails.
Rock pond

Rock Pond in Mueller State Park

  • Cheyenne Mountain State Park has plenty of trails to spread out on, and this is my preferred 5 mile-ish loop there. Starting at the Limekiln Trailhead. take the Zook Loop Trail counterclockwise, then take the connector trail to the Blackmer Trail and follow it counterclockwise. When you reach it, split off onto the Cougars Shadow trail and take it until it again meets Blackmer and bear right on Blackmer, closing it's loop, where you'll bear right and rejoin the Zook loop. Bear right and finish the other half of Zook. Cougars Shadow is one of the quieter trails in the park. Entry fees do apply, dogs and horses are not permitted on these trails.

Cheyenne Mountain is a nice backdrop on the Blackmer Trail

I'll have more trails in future columns. In the mean time, let me know about your favorite 5 mile hike.

Be Good. Do Good Things. Leave No Trace.

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