EL PASO COUNTY — 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.
History of the Kane Ranch Open Space
Kane Ranch Open Space opened to the public this year on March 23, and it's a perfect addition to the El Paso County Parks Department.
It can be found at 12791 Squirrel Creek Road, about 10 minutes east of Fountain.
The open space is home to 495 acres, with plenty of room to grow.
For now, the 3.75 mile out-and-back Lariat Trail is your only option, but the parks department says that they plan to add two new loops in the near future.
"With those (new) loops combined with the Lariat Loop Trail, the existing trail, we were hoping that somebody could get between 7 and 8 miles," said Ross Williams, Park Planner with El Paso County Parks.
That said, the proposed expansion could more than double the length of the current trail.
Although Kane Ranch didn't officially welcome visitors until March, it was acquired by the county two decades ago.
"El Paso County Parks was actually willed this property in 2002 by prominent area rancher Alexander Kane," said Williams.
When El Paso County Parks received the land, Kane made it clear in his will that this land must remain as open space.
In 2022...his wish was granted.
Our hike on the Lariat Loop Trail
According to Williams, the land is unique. It features rolling prairie grasslands, cottonwood trees, owls, prairie dogs and rattlesnakes.
Because of this, Williams warns that staying on trail is just as important as ever when paying a visit to Kane Ranch.
Another reason is to avoid damaging the natural habitat.
There's also a large prairie dog population here, and we hear plenty of them barking on our hike.
My videographer Ryan Mutch even manages to spot one through the lens of his camera (see video for proof).
We also spot a heard of pronghorns galloping across the Plains.
Before long, we reach a quick loop at the farther point, and from here, head back towards the trail head along the wide open and peaceful trail.
Kane Ranch Open Space Trail Rating
The trail was pretty long, but not too difficult since it was pretty flat.
We came on a cloudy day, but I've been told on clear days that you can see everything from the Sangres to the Spanish Peaks.
This was a fun hike, but since there's only one trail for now, I couldn't give it more than a 3.
A 4 out of 5 seems like a good representation for the final score. Kane Ranch Open Space is close enough to Colorado Springs that it's easy to get to, but far enough away that it felt like we were removed from the city.
One thing worth mentioning is that this open space doesn't have a lot of trees, so you'll probably want to avoid it on super sunny and hot days. Whenever going on a hike, always remember to bring plenty fluids, snacks, layers and sunscreen since the weather can change quickly in Southern Colorado.
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