Mountain Biking | Red Rock Canyon Open Space | Colorado Springs, CO | 06.10. 2010
Today I hit up my first mountain bike ride since moving back home to Colorado Springs and, since I’m still suffering from Moab withdrawal, I decided to cruise over to Red Rock Canyon Open Space on the westside of Colorado Springs. Red Rocks is Colorado Springs’ newest open-space/trail system and was almost developed into a Jetsons’ style subdivision before the owner died in 2002 and the property was bought by the City of Colorado Springs for a hefty chunk of change. You can read a pretty interesting history of the area on the City website by clicking here.
View my photo album on Picasa by clicking this link!
I can’t embed the slide-show on WordPress and I didn’t want a huge mess of photos so I figured a link was the next best thing!
Usually all three parking lots are packed full and spilling on to Highway 24 on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Since I was lucky enough to not be working on a Thursday I decided to take advantage. I was greeting with sparse parking lots and just the wind and the birds to ride with. Some mid-day clouds were trying to form and that dropped the temperature to a decent but muggy (well, muggy for Colorado Springs standards, probably 55% humidity) mid 80s when I took off.
I headed around the outer loop counter-clockwise because it was longer and I wanted to see more scenery. I hadn’t ridden in Red Rock Canyon since May of 2008 but had hiked through the central trails this past winter.
The first thing I noticed were numerous new signs pointing out the various trails. When we first started riding here, right after it became an official park, there were mostly social trails, no parking lots, and certainly no signs pointing the way. It was an Old West bushwhacking affair. Another thing I noticed were all the informational signs that are starting to pop up around the trails. They were pretty interesting so, naturally, I took pictures of most of them.
The trails vary in difficulty and type. There is some really nice single-track with a bit of technical climbing, though short lived. There is a lot of open, old maintenance road style riding which is fun but not tough. (they will look great when I get my GoPro helmet cam later this year!) The altitude climbs pretty good depending on how far west you go. You can actually connect to Section 16 and the Intemann trail which runs along the Front Range from Bear Creek Canyon in southwest Colorado Springs over to Manitou Springs.
I rode the loop in less than an hour, taking time to take photos of pretty much everything. I only ended up riding 5 miles but it was a great “welcome home” ride; one of those rides that made me wonder why the heck I ever left this area. At the bottom I was still feeling an itch to keep riding so I went around the parking lot, hit the string of whoop-de-dos in front of the trick park and headed up a steep hill in the middle of the park. I discovered a new jump course that had been put in recently so, of course, I had to give it a try. Woah! Those dips and jumps got my big 29er in the air fast! (and when I wasn’t expecting it!) A couple more of those got the itch out of me in a hurry, but left me wanting to come back for more (with a video camera!)
If you haven’t been to Red Rock Canyon, be sure to go as soon as you can. It’s easily accessible off of Highway 24/Cimarron either on south 26th street or between 26th and the Manitou Springs exit, just a few miles west of downtown Colorado Springs (south side of the highway). It’s like a locals secret, except that it seems every local in a 600,000+ metro area hangs out there all the time, but it’s a great alternative to the massive crowds at Garden of the Gods. You will enjoy pretty easy trails, great views of Garden of the Gods to the north, Pikes Peak to the west, Cheyenne Mountain to the south and west-central Colorado Springs to the north and east. There are also longer loops on the east part of the park but I left those for another day!
Be sure to click the link to see all the photos from the day. Since WordPress doesn’t allow embedded HTML slide-shows (and I don’t want a big photo mess like my Moab posts) I decided just to link to them all. Enjoy!