This series of pools hidden in Queens Canyon above Glen Eyrie is one of the coolest hikes in the region, and a surefire hit with kids on a hot summer day. The trail crosses private property, and reservations are required, but it's worth it.
To get there
From Interstate 25 take the Garden of the Gods exit and head west for two miles to 30th Street. Turn left and drive a halfmile to the Navigators entrance on the right. Turn in, then immediately veer left to head into Glen Eyrie. Stop to register at the gate, then drive a bit farther and park in a gravel lot at the head of the canyon.
Few people in Colorado Springs know about the punch bowls, even though they rank as one of the most refreshing summer hikes in the region. The five polished granite pools engraved in Queens Canyon by Camp Creek are perfect for a dip, or just a nice picnic spot. They've been kept under wraps because this spot in the Pike National Forest is easily accessible only from Glen Eyrie, which is owned by the Navigators, a Christian organization. Anyone casually wandering into Glen Eyrie is usually scared away by a guard houselike gate. But don't be. The Navigators welcome hikers during the week.
The trail starts just past Colorado Springs founder William Jackson Palmer's Glen Eyrie castle and winds up Camp Creek. Soon the walls of Queens Canyon close around it. After a few minutes, hikers will encounter a long wooden catwalk that hugs the gorge walls. Follow it up to a small dam. The trail continues along the creek for a half-mile and seems to end at an ambitious little spout of water called Dawson Falls. Hikers who want to continue to the punch bowls should look for a trail lunging up to the right. It stays steep for about a tenth of a mile, then levels out again and follows the stream a short distance to the pools. The first bowl is the biggest and the depth is perfect for a vigorous plunge. Up above, the other bowls get progressively smaller, but they still make a great natural playground for cooling off during a hot, summer hike. Return the way you came.
Hiking from Glen Eyrie is free and open to the public Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Glen Eyrie reserves the right to close the property to the public without notice. Although this rarely occurs, call 634-0808 before visiting.
No dogs allowed.
A scale of one to four boots. One is easiest, with little elevation gain, and it is at a reasonable altitude. Four is most difficult, with severe elevation gain, difficult terrain or extreme length or altitude.
• Two Boots
• 2 Miles
• 400 feet elevation gain