Another year of Happy Trails, our ongoing series spotlighting mostly regional, mostly family-friendly hikes, has come to a close. Here we reflect on some of our favorites from 2019:

Dixon Trail

So here’s one maybe not for the whole family. It’s a steep, 17-mile journey up Cheyenne Mountain. This past summer was the first time many traveled the new summiting path, and it did not disappoint.

Full description:

Dome Rock

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Dome Rock is the centerpiece of a state wildlife area west of Colorado Springs. A trail loops through the area for almost 12 miles. Seth Boster, The Gazette 

If you haven’t tried the 11-mile loop in Teller County, make 2020 the year. Plan accordingly: The preserve is closed Dec. 1 through July 15 for bighorn sheep lambing. The brief window keeps the rock- festooned wonderland all the more special.

Fremont Peak

The views from this Cañon City mountaintop above 7,200 feet are better than they should be from that altitude. From the Royal Gorge Bridge, to the nearby Wet Mountains, to the distant Sangre de Cristos, it’s a brilliant showcase of this region’s ever-expending trail system. Be prepared for scrambling on the final approach.

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A hiker covers rocks on the Intemann Trail, this portion above Crystal Park. The trail runs between Manitou Springs and Section 16. Seth Boster, The Gazette

Inner Canyon Trail

Castlewood Canyon, hiding in the prairie northeast of Colorado Springs, is not to be missed. The state park’s premier trail is as wild as the name suggests.

Intemann Trail

We’d done portions of Intemann, but we’d never done the full length spanning 5½ miles between Manitou Springs and the popular Section 16 area. It’s a marvelous tour of the foothills.

East Inlet Trail

On the “other side” of Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll see fewer people and more moose. This is the side from Grand Lake, not Estes Park. And a great start is from the East Inlet trailhead, where one can roam for many miles to alpine lakes.

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The San Juan Mountains loom in view from the Perimeter Trail in Ouray. Seth Boster, The Gazette

Ouray Perimeter Trail

Short on time in Ouray, we were grateful for the trail starting right from town, skirting the high sides of the box canyon, looping through the scenery known as the Switzerland of the Rockies. You get a little bit of everything on the 6-mile trek: soaring peaks, captivating rocks, lush woods, wildflowers and mighty waterfalls.

Seth Boster, The Gazette

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