There are 5,000 acres of open space in Colorado Springs. At 318 acres, Stratton Open Space is a small part of that. It is a favorite go-to spot for residents on the city’s southwest side, but also has a loyal mountain biking fan club. It’s a remarkably diverse chunk of land.
What Makes It Great
Stratton Open Space is literally in our backyard. It is surrounded by residential neighborhoods, but hooks up on one side with national forest land. Its accessibility and flexibility make it a favorite of locals. Trails wind through this small open space, and they offer views of Cheyenne Mountain and the Will Rogers Shrine high above the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. (From here, you can also hear the chimes that play at that iconic shrine.)
Located in the southwest part of the city near Cheyenne Canyon (a city park), Stratton features eight miles of trails that meander through five ecosystems – ponderosa pine forest, scrub oak brush land, high meadow, cattail marsh and riparian area. That diversity attracts wildlife as well as hikers, runners, and dog-walkers. Visitors report seeing black bears and mule deer; bobcats also reside here. And bird-watchers are often rewarded with sightings of raptors and songbirds.
Stratton has been an important pocket of land for decades; efforts to protect it date back to at least 1980. It was finally purchased and designated open space in 1998. Trails range from easy to difficult, and one of the region’s most popular mountain bike challenges – the Chutes – can be reached here.
This was a popular hiking spot before it was an open space, and the city has worked hard to establish trails and close social trails. For that reason, it’s important to refrain from side trips off-trail. And some trails are open to hikers only, so be sure and check your route before you head out on your bike.
Who is Going to Love It
Stratton is beloved by hikers, runners, dog-walkers and mountain bikers who often use this area to access the Chutes, a popular trail.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From U.S. Highway 24 in Colorado Springs, take 21st Street south (it turns into Cresta Road. Three miles south, Cheyenne Mountain High School is on the right; Stratton is west and south of the high school on LaVeta. From 21st Street, turn right on LaVeta. There are two other trailheads – off Ridgeway and Cheyenne Boulevard, and just past the Starsmore Discovery Center (at the entrance to North Cheyenne Canyon). To reach the Ridgeway trailhead, continue past LaVeta and turn right at Cheyenne Boulevard, then right again on Ridgeway.
Stratton is open May 1 to Oct. 31, 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Nov. 1 to April 30, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. All trails are open to biking (and horses) except Wildflower Path, Stratton Springs Path and Gold Camp Path.