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Out-of-towners know Philip S. Miller Park for the zip line. That tour ventures near the top the park's other well-known feature: the Challenge Hill, a miniature version of the world-famous Manitou Incline, the mountain-spanning set of railroad ties found about 50 miles down Interstate 25. Castle Rock residents, meanwhile, know Philip S. Miller Park for much more.

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On the northeast side of the city, Old Farm neighbors are spoiled with uninterrupted views of Pikes Peak and Rampart Range. Far south on a clear day, they gaze upon the Wet Mountains and the Spanish Peaks. Thanks to the city’s sales tax-funded Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) program, they’re no longer the only ones spoiled.

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Colorado Springs’ founding father could not have predicted the many motors that would one day rumble through the city’s greatest nature sanctuary. But Gen. William Jackson Palmer would surely appreciate his namesake footpath. Here, one quickly swaps concrete for dirt, fumes for fresh air.

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Another year of Happy Trails has come to a close, our ongoing series spotlighting mostly regional, mostly family-friendly hikes around Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region. Here we reflect on some of our favorites from 2019:

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Pike National Forest continues to heal from 2002’s Hayman wildfire. Nature’s wheel turns: quaking aspen grow ranks, animal tracks span the scorched earth between infrequent pine shade and rock gardens. And the scenery has opened, revealing, for one, the regal promontory called Thunder Butte.

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Near Boulder, Eldorado Canyon is a Colorado state park unlike any other. Winter is a great time to visit for solitude, though you'll want to check road conditions before you go. 

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To beat autumn’s aspen gold-seekers at Mueller State Park in Teller County, you’ll want to get to the Grouse Mountain trailhead early. The options are plenty from here, which is why we didn’t have to share the Buffalo Rock loop much.

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North Cheyenne Cañon Park’s premier loop is the one that skirts Mount Buckhorn. That’s no secret. But if you weren’t one of the hikers, mountain bikers or dirt bikers in the know, it might be hard to find that loop with the lack of signage. We’re here to help, plus point you to Buckhorn’s unofficial summit.

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Bear Lake is the starting point to higher, more glorious alpine waters. Our destination was Lake Helene, tucked between spectacular, granite marvels. And while Rocky Mountain National Park lists the level of use there as “moderate,” we were pleased to have the shore to ourselves.

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However short on time, one can lace up the running shoes or hop on a bike and snag satisfying exercise and scenery in Denver's popular Waterton Canyon. Others enter the South Platte River-carved canyon with waders and fly rods.

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What makes Ouray the Switzerland of America? You find out with a quick drive up Red Mountain Pass, to overlooks of the quaint town tucked in a box canyon and framed by the white-capped wonders of the San Juan Mountains. But a better way to take in the grandeur? That would be pulling off for the Perimeter Trail.