COLORADO SPRINGS — In our exclusive series Adventures with Alan, we'll travel across Southern Colorado week-by-week to show you thrills and chills, hidden gems and well-known spots.
Mud season is back, but thanks to our recent stretch of dry and warm weather, we were able to make the most of it by checking out a popular hiking destination.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space Park
Easily one of the more picturesque spots in the Pikes Peak Region, it's centrally located off of Highway 24 between Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs.
The 1,474 acre park was purchased by the city of Colorado Springs in 2003, and it's been a big hit with locals and visitors alike since that time.
On top of wide open spaces (and places), there are countless miles of trails to explore.
Hiking for all types and ability levels
Our adventure begins on the Red Rock Canyon Trail. It's a nice and mellow pathway that serves as a great warm-up for what's to come.
It's here that we make friends with some fellow hikers and an adorable pup named Pearl.
Her owner tells me that she loves the camera!
Not long after saying goodbye to Pearl, we come across one of the first photogenic spots on this hike.
It's a small body of water just past the Red Rock Canyon Open Space Pavilion.
One of several man-made ponds here, they all add a sense of beauty against the surrounding landscape.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space reclamation project
Hikers beware...in the Roundup and Red Rock Canyon Trail sections, construction crews are busy.
They're hard at work trying to restore this area by re-establishing natural terrain features and native plant life.
All of this extra work may send you on an unfamiliar path. I know it did for us, but city officials say that it's important to stay on the trail in order to protect the sensitive landscape.
Our hike continues on the Roundup Trail
After leaving behind the construction zone, we climb above the valley floor for the first time.
Weaving around different canyons and ridges, the sights here are spectacular.
Naturally, there's some climbing, with a modest elevation gain of around 500 feet on our 3.25 mile hike.
Only just scratching the surface of what there is to see here, we also spot some wildlife on our way back down to the valley floor.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space adventure rating
When it comes to difficulty, I'm going to give this adventure a 3 out of 5 based on the trails that we got to explore. The trail system here has something for everyone, so there's plenty to do and see for all skill levels.
For scenery...I loved the sweeping views of the Pikes Peak Region. This one gets a 5 out of 5.
For fun level...we're going to give this a 4 out of 5.
Now for my final score...4 stars out of 5.
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