If you take a family vacation to Colorado Springs, then you’ve probably researched the many fun things to do. Among the top things to do in Colorado Springs is checking out a fun hike in this scenic town. Enter: Red Rock Canyon in Colorado Springs.
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Red Rock Canyon is an open space where the trails surround a beautiful canyon. There are many trails in the area, so you can make your hike as long or short as you’d like. There’s even a special trail to let your dog off-leash and enjoy the hike as well!
Read on for the best hikes in Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Colorado Springs that you can enjoy with the whole family.
Not to be confused with Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater (also a cool place to visit and hike!)
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Where is Red Rock Canyon Open Space?
The beautiful Red Rock Canyon is located about 10 minutes west of downtown Colorado Springs. Take I-25 to highway 24/Cimarron Street west. Turn left on Ridge Road and you’ll be there!
As you enter, you can head to the left at the roundabout. Most of the trails I mention here begin in the far parking lot that direction.
Map of Red Rock Canyon trails
Facilities at Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Other than a couple port-a-potties at the parking lots, there are no facilities at Red Rock Canyon open space. Do what you need to do before you hike, bring plenty of water, and some snacks.
Check out the Basics Every Hiker Needs before you head out.
Is Red Rock Canyon Open Space Good for Fall Colors?
We visited in October and while we did see a few awesome fall colors, I wouldn’t say this is the prime spot to go to if seeing colors is your priority.
For more info about Red Rock Canyon, visit their webpage!
Best Trails for Families at Red Rock Canyon Open Space
The great thing about this open space is that there are so many trails to choose from! No matter which trail you choose, they all kinda make a loop back around. Some just make a larger loop than others.
Plus, there are plenty of opportunities to cut through should you choose to shorten your hike.
Here is the trail combination that we did:
Mesa to Roundup to Red Rock Canyon Trail
Distance: 3.3 miles
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
To access Mesa Trail, park or walk over to the farthest parking lot just to the east of the round-a-bout. At the far end of the parking lot, you’ll see a trailhead that looks like it goes up! Take that trail. This first segment is Mesa Trail.
On Mesa trail, you’ll be walking on red dirt/sand. The trail terrain is pretty easy, flat, and wide. The hardest part on this first segment is just the incline.
As you get farther up the trail, you’ll start to see the canyon in the middle. The red rock coats the wall of the canyon, giving you a beautiful view all the way around.
Garden of the Gods in the Distance
And if you turn around at any point on Mesa Trail, you’ll see Garden of the Gods in the distance.
When doing the Mesa Trail, you’ll pass a few other trails that you can turn on, but don’t need to turn off anywhere on the way up. It will eventually start to naturally turn at the top as you come to the end of the canyon.
Continue on the trail and it will eventually dead-end into a scenic view point! Enjoy a moment, but then turn and come back. You’ll turn onto the trail away from the canyon called Roundup Trail.
The scenery is different on Roundup Trail. What was just a little more barren turns into tree-covered surroundings as you start your descent. The trail on Roundup is narrower, but still very doable for kids.
At the bottom of Roundup Trail, you’ll take a left, which is now Red Rock Canyon Trail.
Red Rock Canyon Trail
This was our favorite part of the trail. The trail widens back up again, and we got to see one scenic thing after another. There were plenty of trees, but we also got to walk right along some of the red rock formations.
My kids favorite part, though, was taking a little detour onto Quarry Pass Trail.
As you head down Red Rock Canyon trail, you’ll eventually see a large red rock formation on the left that has stairs carved into it. We had to try these stairs, of course.
It’s easy to get over there. But use cautions as the stairs are a bit steep! I found them harder going down than going up. If you find it’s too tricky to come back down, there is a trail option just to the side to walk down.
After that little detour, we returned to the original Red Rock Canyon Trail, where there was still plenty more to see.
Along Red Rock Canyon Trail, you’ll come across plenty of beautiful formations. At one point, you may even see groups of rock climbers practicing on the wall right next to you.
As you come towards the end of the trail, you’ll also see a reservoir on the left. Of course it’s much fuller at certain times of year than others. We went in fall and it was a bit low.
Red Rock Canyon Trail finishes at the farthest east parking lot.
Hopefully your family enjoys it as much as we did!
Mesa to Greenlee To Red Rock Canyon Trail
Distance: 1.8 miles
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
This trail combination is very similar to the previously mentioned trail. The difference is that shortly upon starting the Mesa Trail, you will take a left onto Greenlee trail. Then you’ll cut over on Quarry Pass Trail to loop back around to Red Rock Canyon Trail.
This combination sees a lot of the same things, but just makes a smaller loop instead of going all the way to the top and around the canyon. It makes the perfect hike for little kids in Red Rock Canyon open space.
Roundup Trail is one of those optional trails that you can cut through on. It takes you down into the canyon farther rather than just following a loop above it the whole time.
We accidentally turned onto Roundup Trail the wrong direction at first and started descending into the canyon. It was actually really cool until we realized we turned the wrong way. It’s a narrower trail, covered in trees and great views.
While we didn’t mean to go on this segment, you can choose to cut through Roundup Trail from Mesa Trail towards the beginning. This will create a shorter loop.
If you follow the loop I suggested above (the first one), then you won’t access Roundup Trail until Mesa Trail ends. And then you will head away from the canyon.
Best Hiking Trails in Red Rock Canyon Open Space
I love that there are so many options you can choose from to make the perfect family hike in Red Rock Canyon Open Space. Try the 3+ mile loop, or aim for something under 2 miles. Whatever you and the kids are up for, you’ll find the perfect trail (and perfect views) at Red Rock Canyon Open Space in Colorado Springs.
Have you been? Are you going? Let me know below what you think!
Visit Red Rock Canyon as a day trip, or as part of your 3 days in Colorado Springs trip!
Want more hiking in Colorado Springs? Check out North Cheyenne Cañon Park