Ring the Peak Trail

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About

Summary

The culmination of decades of work by trail advocates, Ring the Peak is really a collection of trails, four-wheel-drive roads and small sections of paved roads that circumnavigate Pikes Peak, the 14,115-foot mountain that rises from the foothills near Colorado Springs.

Written by

Deb Acord

Distance

9.4 miles

Ring the Peak covers 63 miles with nine portals, or entry points. Entering the trail at Putney Gulch is 9.4 miles roundtrip.

Destination Distance From Downtown

19.4 miles

Difficulty

5 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 hours

One hour to several days

Seasonality

All Seasons

Dog Friendly

Yes

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

The culmination of decades of work by trail advocates, Ring the Peak is really a collection of trails, four-wheel-drive roads and small sections of paved roads that circumnavigate Pikes Peak, the 14,115-foot mountain that rises from the foothills near Colorado Springs. Ring the Peak covers 63 miles with nine portals, or entry points. It is the creation of Friends of the Peak, a non-profit group of volunteers that sponsors trail building and environmental projects on the mountain.

What Makes It Great

The variety of terrain that makes up the Ring the Peak Trail is what makes it interesting. When we want to re-explore Ring the Peak, we often choose to enter at Putney Gulch, which is just beyond the Raspberry Mountain portal near the Crags. This is a 4.7-mile trek (one way) that starts on an old four-wheel-drive road alongside a stream, and then heads up into the mixed-growth forest that glows with the gold of aspen stands in the fall. At 1.5 and 3 miles, the trail tops 10,000 feet. At the ridge, you’ll reach a downhill portion that winds slowly through a mixed-growth forest carpeted with moss.  Continue downhill; cross the creek and follow the trail back into the forest. Eventually, you’ll find yourself at Horsethief Park, another popular hiking area and another portal to this circle trail.

A stitched-together network of federal, state, county, city and private land, the Ring the Peak Trail offers world-class backcountry camping, long-haul hiking and bike rides or memorable day hikes. Altitude ranges widely from 6,400 to 11,300 feet and the scenery is just as varied. This trail offers walks deep into primordial-looking forests, sweeping vistas, and physical challenges.



Who is Going to Love It

Barr Trail is the main footpath up the flank of Pikes Peak, and it is a challenge for the thousands of hikers, bike riders and runners who take it on each year. But Pikes Peak is a giant massif, and the Ring the Peak Trail offers a look at parts of it that are often forgotten.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Portals are located in Manitou Springs, Chipita Park, Catamount Reservoir on the North Slope Recreation Area, Catamount Ranch Open Space, Raspberry Mountain near the Crags, Horsethief Park, the town of Gillette, Forest Service Road 376, Frosty Park and Bear Creek.  Ring the Peak segments are well-marked, but some of the markers are spaced.

To enter via Putney Gulch, take U.S. Highway 24 west out of Colorado Springs.  At Divide, turn left on Colorado Highway 67. Just past the sign for Mueller State Park, watch for Crags Campground sign on your left. Take this dirt road to the Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp, and turn right to go towards the Crags Campground. Pass the parking lot for the Crags and drive to where the road ends. Park there and begin hiking.

Dogs, bikes and horses are allowed.

Location

Ring the Peak Trail

Divide, CO,
38.859217, -105.12174

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