You can read more information about Red Rock Canyon Open Space
There are descriptions of the facilities and recreational
maps, historical, biological,
and geological information,
volunteer opportunities, etc. I won't repeat everything I wrote
back in June here about the park. Goodness knows, I'm verbose
enough as it is!
This entry is divided into two parts.
This page has photos from
a 3+ mile loop Jim, Cody, and I did on the Mesa, Roundup,
Greenlee, Quarry Pass, and Red Rock Canyon Path trails. We also
hiked one of the dog loops. The
second entry (which has two pages) is a 6-mile hike I did on the
Contemplative, Roundup, Mesa, Intemann Connection, Greenlee, Red
Rock Rim, and Red Rock Canyon trails. I enjoyed it so much I
showed most of it to Jim on another day.
View of red rocks from the open-air
pavilion and former home of the Bock family
All three days I took pictures were partly cloudy. The photos would
have been even more dramatic with the deep red color of the rocks
contrasted against brilliant blue sky. It's a
beautiful place to walk, run, and ride, even on cloudy days.
And it's free! (OK, unless you live in Colorado Springs and pay
taxes there. Thank you!)
MESA-ROUNDUP-GREENLEE-QUARRY-CANYON PATH TRAILS
Here's the route Jim and I took on our first hike in the park;
I highlighted our track in yellow. Go
here for a larger image of the
There is a nice variety of trails in the canyon. All of them are
fairly hilly but none I've been on are very steep. Most of them are rather smooth;
there are some are
rocky places, too. The trails range in width from single-track
to about six feet wide in some places.
Jim and Cody (at the end of the red leash)
start up from the Mesa trailhead.
Scene from one of the two leash-free dog
After passing the two dog loops we could see
houses in Manitou Springs to the west of us.
As we climbed higher we could also see the
Incline and Pike's Peak in the distance.
All of the trails in the park go uphill from the two parking
areas. Elevations range from about 6,200 to 7,000 feet.
reward for the climb to the ridges in the southern part of Red
Rock Canyon and Section 16? Great views of Colorado Springs to
the north and east, the huge plain to the east, and mountains to
the south and west.
You can even get a bird's-eye view of the rock
formations in nearby Garden of the Gods.
In about a mile we came to the intersection with the Roundup
Trail (next four pictures), a winding, undulating, single-track
connects with several trails in the southwestern part of the
park. On this hike we followed it for a
quarter mile to the Greenlee Trail.
From here we could begin to see the rock
formations in the Garden of the Gods.
Jim gets a better view of a canyon.
At the wide, somewhat eroded Greenlee Trail we turned left to go
back down into Red Rock Canyon and we had some great views
to the north (Garden of the Gods) and east (Colorado
Springs and the valley):
Garden of the Gods is on the upper left
horizon above. There is a close-up of the largest
In 4/10ths of a mile we turned right on the Quarry Pass Trail. It led up
and over a big red sandstone ridge where huge blocks of Lyons
sandstone were cut out and shipped to builders from the late
1880s to about 1910. The history is interesting, the photo ops
Trail approaching the quarry from the west
Entering the "portal" that leads to the
more photogenic east side;
there were several little pools of water in
depressions in the rocks.
Wall to the right
Same wall, farther down; note the steps.
The blocks that were cut from these walls
were about 6x7x10 feet and weighed 25 tons!
A lot of blocks were cut from this wall. It
has an interesting pattern.
"Ground" level, looking back
Hey, what's this??
Coming over the top of the sandstone ridge from the west, we didn't see these
steps on the east side. We probably would have taken them up to
the "portal" if we'd approached from this direction.
Cool. Reminds me of old Native American villages like Bandelier
National Monument in New Mexico.
Part of the large group we just missed in
the quarry; they are on
Red Rock Canyon Path, which closely
parallels Red Rock Canyon Trail.
This rocky ridge was behind me as I took the picture above:
There are several large interpretive signs (like the one below) in the meadow on the
east side of the quarry that describe the mining history and the diversity of plants and wildlife in Red
Two trails connect with the Quarry Trail in the meadow:
the Red Rock Canyon Path and the Red Rock Canyon Trail. The Path
is one of two hiker-only trails in the park (the other is
We walked about half a mile north about on the Path until we
came to two scenic ponds and a handsome open-air pavilion.
I was almost as fascinated with the views here as at the quarry:
The RRC Path continues up a grassy slope where it converges with
the RRC Trail in front of the pavilion:
Note that big rock formation behind the
pavilion; I'll talk about it below.
There are even more interpretive signs in this area re:
the history, geology, and biology of this property.
We can thank John G. Bock and his family for piecing together
the Red Rock Canyon property over several decades in the 1930s-1960s,
removing remnants of mining and other industry in the canyons,
channeling water, and improving the land. In 1967 the family built a
home on the site above.
View from the former home site; the canyon
land is now protected by the Palmer Land Trust
Their house is gone now but the bomb shelter remains.
Yep. One of the signs describes the thick-walled and
-roofed bomb shelter the family built into the rock wall behind
their house and garage during
the Cold War crisis in the '60s.
contained several rooms, including a kitchen, bathroom, and even
When the City of Colorado Springs purchased the property in 2003
for the park, the shelter was used for storage. It's still there,
behind the pavilion; I don't know if it's open to the
public but it'd be interesting to see.
Another day I climbed up on the rock ledge on the other side of
and I got this view of the second pond and the landscape from a different
Beyond the pavilion and ponds we found some unique holes in
the rock walls:
We assume the soft sandstone has been carved out by birds:
Soon we were back at the main parking area, happy to have had
such an interesting hike in only 3+ miles:
Pike's Peak looms in the distance.
We didn't see very many flowers blooming on our trek. This
is one of the colorful Gaillardia AKA blanket flowers near the parking lot:
Next entry: lots more photos from other trails in Red
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
and Cody the Ultra Lab
© 2010 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil