I met a lady along the trail who was, like me, enjoying this hike for the very first time. Unlike me, who has only lived here a year, ... more »she was a 30-something native who’d “just never been up here before.” She seemed to regret having waited so long; I’m glad I didn’t. Williams Canyon is situated, fittingly enough, at the end of Cañon Ave. in the northwest section of Manitou Springs. It extends approximately 3 miles due north. The trail parallels the stream to its source. What is now a bare trickle in early October was once powerful enough to carve this canyon deep through ancient layers of limestone, dolomite and sandstone, producing cliffs that rise 300 feet above the trail. In the spring, when the waters flow more abundantly, you’ll attain a better sense of what this place might have been like long ago. What makes this canyon unique in the area now are the limestone walls exposed along the canyon’s upper rim.
Directions: Exit I-25 at Cimarron Ave (exit 141) and head west toward Manitou Springs on US Hwy 24. Take the Manitou Ave. exit off 24 and drive through the “downtown” area to Cañon Ave. Turn right and drive up the hill to the Hwy 24 overpass. You’ll find some parking space under the overpass. If it’s full, you can park on the street and hike up – just be sure you park legally, not blocking someone’s driveway.