At a BBQ the other day, my friend Kris had told me about a trail that I had apparently missed two years ago when I lived here, the Waldo Canyon Trail. So off I went to the trailhead, which is off Hwy 24W past Manitou Springs.
Waldo Canyon Trail is a 7 mile loop that gives you great views of the front range. You feel like you are deep in the Rockies, which is awesome due to its close proximity to Colorado Springs.
Here are some pics from Waldo Canyon Trail.
Front Range from Waldo Canyon trail
Pikes Peak from the North
If you are up for hiking Colorado springs, I highly recommend Waldo Canyon.
**Update 17 March 14**–Waldo Canyon has now been closed for over 2 years since the Waldo Canyon fire and will remain closed due to threat of flash flooding until further notice.
I was researching some new restaurants to check out while in Colorado Springs this go round and came upon the King Chef Diner. What? A restaurant in a purple castle in downtown COS? Was this a joke? How did I never see this last time I lived here? So, do to the restaurant being a PURPLE CASTLE and because I love breakfast, I made it a must to eat breakfast at King Chef Diner.
How could you not fall in love with a restaurant inside of a purple castle and with tacky bumper stickers? But, we all know restaurants are really about the food… well except for Hooters I suppose… so after perusing the menu, I ordered the Grump not sure what to expect…
What is The Grump you might ask… well, this plate full of fat breakfast deliciousness is not what you’d call gourmet nor is it full of complex flavors for the discriminating palate… what it is, is the epitome of Americana Greasy Spoon eating…
A mound of hash browns, your choice of bacon ham or sausage, topped with grilled yellow onions, shredded cheese, ANOTHER mound of hash browns, two eggs and then smothered in homemade sausage gravy.
Oh purple castle filled with fat food to make America even fatter… you have a special place in my heart… or was that one of my arteries clogging 😉
The crag route is the shortest free hiking route up Pikes Peak. Its only 12.5 miles roundtrip with an elevation gain of 4200 feet, which sounds like nothing compared to the Barr Trail route. Besides the length of the trail, the biggest difference is you have to drive to the backside of Pikes Peak to the Crags Campground….
The trail was pretty easy compared to the Barr, but it also helped it was a month further into summer so there was a lot less snow at elevation then when I did it last time in May…
After you get above the tree line and walk through all the meadowed area, you actually come up the road that people who pay to drive to the summit take. There are some great overlooks/views in this area.
Which you should enjoy, because after these views, you have to do an intense rock scramble at altitude to properly finish the hike. It might be easier to walk on the road… but come on, that would be cheating. Here’s some pics of the last scramble..
But after you conquer all that, you hit the summit and the angels start singing and the world rejoices….
Unlike my first time summiting Pikes Peak, I wasn’t feeling defeated… probably due to the Crags being 1/2 the distance with less elevation gain…. but this is a good thing, because I do not think any random tourist would want to drive to the back side of the mountain to bring you back to your car because some idiot hiker was feeling “tired.”
So this time, after another bread-bowl filled with soup from the café at the top, I started my jaunt back down the crags happy with my second Pikes Peak summit.
So I pretty much had to run 1/2 way down until I got below the tree-line again because I was afraid of being caught in a lightning storm at elevation out in the open and because I didn’t want to get stuck in the rain.
Luckily it only rained a few drops and in no time I was back to my car and on my way back to the Springs and another grand Colorado adventure of hiking Pikes Peak was over.