Mueller State Park lies between Colorado Springs and the historic mining town of Cripple Creek. It’s one of the most popular parks in the statewide system of xx parks; beloved for its wealth of wildlife, scenic mixed-pine and aspen forests, and past history as a hiding place for murderous rangers, horse thieves and gold miners. Anyone who has explored its trails knows Mueller for all those things - its scenery offers frequent views of nearby Pikes Peak, its history is easily imaged because it still holds the remnants of glory holes, dynamite cabins, and even an old mine shaft, and its wide, flat trails that all start on an aspen-frosted ridge and head downhill.
What Makes It Great
Mueller was once ranchland, and before that, home to homesteaders and miners. It opened as a park in 1991. Rides through here will take you through thick stands of aspen that make this one of the most scenic places in the region in the fall, and a collection of ponds built by ranchers that still hold tiny brook trout. There are 55 miles of trails here; 18 of these miles are open to bikes. All have a well-packed surface of decomposed granite. The trails aren’t technical – most had a previous life as ranching and mining roads - but they offer a great workout with their elevation gain/loss. Mueller sits at about 9,000 feet, and its forest is a mix of ponderosa pine, blue spruce, Douglas fir, bristlecone pine and aspen and willows.
Mueller is easy to reach, but once you are there, you can immerse yourself in the forest by linking miles of trails. And this park isn’t just popular among humans – it’s also inhabited by a diverse wildlife population. Golden eagles nest here and wild turkeys sometimes stop traffic on the park’s main road. Elk, bear, bighorn sheep, badgers, mule deer and mountain lions pass through as well.
Who is Going to Love It
Beginner-moderate bikers looking for a great workout with some decent elevation changes.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Colorado Springs, take U.S. Highway 24 west to Divide. Turn left (south) on Colorado Highway 67 and drive about four miles to the park’s entrance. There’s a $7 day fee here. If you want to stay longer, the park has walk-in campsites, RV and drive-in campsites, and a collection of luxury cabins that can be rented for the night or longer.
Dogs are allowed in the campgrounds and picnic areas, and on the road, but not on the trails.
Some trails are for hiking only – pick up a trail map and trail recommendations at the visitor center in the center of the park (about half-way in, next to the Rock Pond trailhead.)