Picture the “wall” of the side of a chocolate layer cake. Imagine making one knife cut down through that wall. Pull out your imaginary ... more »knife (so you won’t get hurt) and gaze into the slit you’ve created. Now transfer this image to the front range of the Rocky Mountains, behind the Air Force Academy, near Colorado Springs. This is Stanley Canyon.
Trail #707 leaves the trailhead parking lot on the west side of the Academy grounds and leads you UP the right (north) side of the canyon to the Stanley Canyon Reservoir about two miles away. In the first mile of the trail, you’ll climb about 1200 ft. This is steep. The pathway is decomposed granite, except where it’s solid granite. The solid sections are not long, but they can be tricky, especially if they’re wet. As you climb, you’ll reach platforms where you can rest and look back to the east toward the Academy and Colorado Springs. About half way along, you link up with the stream and parallel its course the rest of the way. The outstanding feature of this hike are the rock formations in the canyon walls; take plenty of time to observe them. After the first mile, you’ll reach the top of the canyon. The path levels out, mostly, for the final trek up to the reservoir. This last section takes you through pine forests and aspen meadows. The reservoir is not large, but it is lovely. If you fish, it’s worth taking your equipment; word is there are medium size rainbow trout in the lake.
Dogs and kids seem to love the lake. I’ve seen dogs on and off leash. Because of the rocky path, I put boots on the dog – forgot one time, resulting is several sliced pads. less «