hidden gem hikesSummer is here and these family-friendly hidden gem hikes near Colorado Springs can help your family enjoy it just a little bit more.

Rainbow Gulch

Located near Woodland Park, this out and back hike is good for all skill levels.  It’s approximately 2.6 miles round trip and is a great spot to view wildflowers when they are in season. This trail leads to Rampart Reservoir and is a popular spot for anglers, so if you like to fish, don’t forget your fishing pole!

Manitou Lake Recreation Area

Located 7 miles past Woodland Park, Manitou Lake Recreation Area boasts a beautiful view of Pike’s Peak, fishing, a picnic area and a short, easy hike around the lake.  There is a $6 entry fee, but annual passes are also available.

Green Mountain Falls 

The waterfalls hidden in this beautiful mountain town are a unique experience you don’t want to miss.  Park near the lake and gazebo as there is no parking near the trailheads.  There is quite a bit of uphill but the waterfalls make it totally worth it and the trailheads are well marked.  If you want a shorter trip, there is a mile hike to Crystal Falls which has a fun footbridge as well as places to sit and enjoy the waterfall. To extend your hike take Thomas trail to Catamount Falls. Be prepared for a bit of a creek crossing if you’re taking the Thomas Trail across Catamount Creek. For a longer adventure, take the trail here to Catamount Reservoir.  Trail maps are available at the park in town.

Stratton Hills Open Space  

We only recently discovered this open space, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t ventured here before. Located on the southwest side at the foot of Cheyenne Canyon, Stratton Open Space has miles of trails great for hiking or biking. Once you get away from the parking lot it’s easy to forget you are so close to the city.  Trails offer beautiful views of the city, a walk through grassy fields and ponderosa pines and two reservoirs. Trails are well maintained and marked, and there are plenty to choose from.

Horsethief Falls and Pancake Rock 

Be ready to start uphill as the first part of this hike is steep before it levels off a bit. Located on the backside of Pikes Peak about halfway between Divide and Cripple Creek, Horsethief Falls is about 2.6 miles round trip and Pancake Rock is just over 6 miles round trip.  Expect a beautiful forested walk, stunning views, beaver ponds and a waterfall on this worthwhile hike.

Take advantage of these hidden gems to squeeze the most out of summer.

Have you hiked any of these?  Tell me your family’s favorite hidden gem hike.