~ by Trevor Phipps ~
One of the biggest draws of the Teller County area is the region’s proximity to National Forest open space. From the city of Woodland Park, an abundance of hiking trails can be found within a short drive.
During the summer, many locals and visitors enjoy taking a stroll in the high mountain country and experiencing miles of mountain trails that are located within the county and other counties nearby. Cyclists, meanwhile, like to enjoy many of these trails on their mountain bikes as most of the local mountain paths are accessible for outdoor enthusiasts on two wheels. The following is a list of some of the best hiking and mountain biking trails the area has to offer.
Located just to the east of Woodland Park is the beautiful Rampart Reservoir that is nestled in the mountains above the city. The lake has a boat ramp along with several other camping and picnic areas.
However, for those who do not wish to drive into the park and pay the fee to get in, there is a trail located off of Rampart Range road just before the official entrance to the lake. The Rampart Reservoir Trail is rated as moderate and is a 13.2 mile loop that takes adventurers on a route around the entire reservoir.
The trailhead starts on Rampart Range Road and follows along a river that flows out of the ground from other reservoirs in the western part of the state. The trail from the road to the reservoir is about two miles and it is a nice trip alongside a quickly flowing stream. Once trekkers reach the reservoir they then have the choice of which way they want to take around the lake.
This trail is open to both hikers and mountain bikers and it offer exquisite views of the gorgeous lake and picturesque sightings of Pikes Peak.
Lovell Gulch Trail
Another popular trail in the area starts off of Rampart Range Road just north of town. The trailhead is located near the city’s maintenance yard where the city’s old dog pound used to be.
The first mile of the trail is level and it brings you to a loop that is over three miles long. Most adventurers turn right at the loop and take the steep trail that goes along a mountain stream uphill. Once people make their way to the top of the ridge, beautiful views of Pikes Peak can be enjoyed.
The trail then cuts west across the ridge before it drops back down into the valley and returns trekkers to the trailhead. This trail is open to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. According to the National Forest Service’s website, the trail is very popular with horseback riders as well as hikers and mountain bikers.
Catamount Ranch Trail
This trail is a little bit less well-known but it offers a nice trek through Teller County wilderness. The trailhead is located just west of Woodland Park off of Edlowe Road. The parking lot is located at the end of the road and it gives you an option of two different trails to take.
Hikers can use this trail to link up with other trails including the Catamount Falls Trail and the Ring the Peak trail. This trail’s most prominent feature is the fact that hikers can get to the Catamount Reservoirs that are located at the foot of Pikes Peak. The venture downhill brings trekkers through beautiful forests. Then, the trails take adventurers to the back side of the Upper Catamount Reservoir where they can see a side of the lake they have never witnessed before.
Mule Creek Trail
This trail is located off of Hwy. 67 just north of Woodland Park and has been a popular hiking and mountain biking trail for locals for several years. The trailhead is accessed by turning off of Highway 67 and heading towards the Lion’s Camp.
The trailhead sits just before the camp and takes adventurers on a trip along Mule and Trout Creek. The pathway starts off by crossing Mule Creek several times. Then further up on the trail it breaks away from Mule Creek and starts to follow Trout Creek to the west.
After a ways many turn back but those who wish to keep going can follow the 717 trail system further west into National forest areas all the way to the northern part of Divide.
This Teller County trail offer views of waterfalls as well as options to hike around the mountains. The trailhead to these high mountain falls is located off of Highway 67 in between Cripple Creek and Divide just after the old railroad tunnel that is blocked off. The start of the trail gives hikers many options of trails that traverse the foot of Pikes Peak on its western edge.
The trail starts by leading explorers up a steep climb up the side of a mountain. After about 0.8 miles, the trail levels out into a pleasant valley and the trail comes to a tee with a sign leading to either Pancake Rocks or the falls. Heading north will take hikers on the Pancake Rock trail, whereas continuing to travel straight east will bring them to the beautiful, high mountain waterfalls. The falls are only a short half mile journey from the sign in the valley.
Anne Marie Falls
The Anne Marie Falls trail is a hidden gem that is also located in between Divide and Cripple Creek. However, instead of going all the way to the tunnel, visitors turn off near the Mueller State Park entrance towards the Crags Campground east of Highway 67. To view this waterfall ,hikers must park at the parking lot at the end of the road that leads to the campground.
Then, the adventurers must take the Ring The Peak Trail for a short distance past three river crossings. Just as the trail ascends again there is an old forest service road bed labeled with a sign that says, “704” that veers off at the first right hand switchback. Once to the road bed the journey to the waterfall is not a long one. The trail ends at the creek where it falls down from higher elevations. The total trip to the Anne Marie Falls is less than three miles there and back.
Another gem is the trail that leads from the small, cozy town of Green Mountain Falls all the way up to the Catamount Reservoirs that sit at the bottom of Pikes Peak. To get to the trail the hikers must park near a community park in Green Mountain Falls and then walk up Hondo Ave. in order to get to the trailhead.
Once hikers walk up the road inside town, the bottom of the waterfalls can be seen. The trail then leads up the water falls that come down from the mountains. The trip all the way up to the reservoirs is a steep one and is several miles in length.
From the trail, exquisite views can be enjoyed from the top to the bottom. The further up on the trail someone hikes, the views of the falls and the Ute Pass get even better.