Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Fun Guide: Hiking trails

By Nathan Van Dyne nathan.vandyne@gazette.com - Updated: May 18, 2014 at 5:36 pm

- Bridal Veil Falls, Telluride, telluride.com/bridal-veil-falls: At the far end of the box canyon that overlooks this mountain town is a towering, 365-foot waterfall. The hike to the base of the falls is 1.2 miles. Continue on for another 0.6 miles to reach the top. More than 1,200 feet of elevation gain on a rocky road is required.

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- Buffalo Mountain, Silverthorne, findhiking trails.com/buffalo-mountain: So you think fourteeners are overcrowded and overrated? Well, then try taking on this mountain, which measures only 12,788 feet. It's every bit as hard as many 14,000-foot peaks and requires a decent amount of scrambling over large boulders.

- Fern Falls, Estes Park, outtherecolorado.com/article/1501974: Rocky Mountain National Park boasts hundreds of miles of beautiful trails, and this journey is no exception. The hike follows the Big Thompson River and, after about 2.5 miles, reaches the 60-foot waterfall. Hikers can continue another 1.2 miles to Fern Lake.

- Fish Creek Falls, Steamboat Springs, bit.ly/SV9oWK: Early summer is the best time to view this nearly 300-foot waterfall as the snow runoff provides a thundering splash below. The lower falls can be seen after walking only one-quarter of a mile; a trip to the upper falls tacks on more miles, elevation gain and adventure.

- Grottos, Aspen, exm.nr/1gx6jRK: This isn't much of a hike, but you must leave your vehicle to reach the series of caves and rock formations. At less than a mile roundtrip, it's a good hike for families. Visit early in the summer and you will see why these caves often are called the "ice caves." Exercise caution on the rocks.

- Hanging Lake/Spouting Rock, Glenwood Springs, hikingincolorado.org/hang: Tucked away in Glenwood Canyon, this 1-mile trail includes 1,000 feet of elevation gain. The destination - an amazingly clear and serene lake filled by a waterfall - is worth the effort. Once at the lake, be sure to take the short trek to Spouting Rock.

- Horsethief Falls and Pancake Rocks, Cripple Creek, outtherecolorado.com/article/ 1501934: The trail climbs steadily for three-quarters of a mile before it levels out. Once you reach an open area, continue straight ahead to the small but picturesque falls. On your way back to the trailhead, take the side trip to Pancake Rocks.

- Manitou Incline, Manitou Springs, visitcos.com/incline: While measuring only a mile, this hike likely will feel like the longest mile of your life. Those who conquer the ladder of railroad ties up Mount Manitou will have gained more than 2,000 feet in elevation. The trip down - via Barr Trail - is an enjoyable stroll by comparison.

- Mount Cutler, Colorado Springs, outtherecolorado.com/article/1501912: While Seven Falls is closed temporarily because of damage sustained in last year's flooding, you still can take a bird's-eye glimpse of the natural wonder on this 2-mile hike. With an elevation gain of only 415 feet, it's a great "first summit" for kids.

- Willow Lake, Crestone, everytrail.com/guide/willow-lake-trail: Nestled among fourteeners in the Sangre de Cristo Range, this lake is pristine and filled by a tranquil waterfall. But reaching it is far from easy. The roundtrip is approximately 9 miles and climbs to nearly 12,000 feet.

Nathan Van Dyne, The Gazette

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