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Waldo Canyon Loop

Hiking Across the Edges of the Sands of Time
Rating: 1 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 7 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  The Waldo Canyon Loop hike is one of the most popular hikes in the Colorado Springs area. Accordingly, you’ll find a large parking... more »

Tips:  This is a dry hike during much of the year. If you’re hiking with a dog, take water for both of you.

The trail surface is either... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trailhead

You’ll know you’re in the right place by looking at the trailhead sign on the north side of the parking lot. Head for the stairs on the east end. From the parking lot you’ll climb about 17 stories to the second point of interest. As you switch back and forth across the face of the hill, look east and west along the Hwy 24 corridor, appreciating... More

2. Quartz Lookout

The base layer of the Front Range mountains is Colorado Granite. This granite contains a high level of quartz (veins of quartz are often accompanied by veins of gold). Occasionally, large outcroppings of quartz appear in the rock strata. This is one of those locations. It is right on the edge of the cliff above the highway; so be careful. From... More

3. Waldo Canyon Lookout

Turn off the main trail here, to the right, and walk along the paths, around the boulders, to the point where you can see Manitou Springs below to the south and Waldo Canyon to the east. This is your entrance to the canyon. It runs north from here. You’ll stay high along the western wall as you head up to the beginning of the loop. Just before you... More

4. Loop Start

The beginning of the loop trail is clearly marked. If you’re tired, you can rest here on the newly constructed log bench, courtesy this year of one of the local Eagle Scouts and his troop. You’ll cross Waldo Creek here and begin your climb up: either up the creek to the north, or up the eastern wall to the east. I like scaling the wall first and... More

5. Peak View

As you climb the hill, you’ll begin to see Pike’s Peak off to the southwest. From the beginning of the loop, you’ll hike across sandstone, dolomite and limestone. Watch for the changes under your feet as you ascend.

6. William Canyon Trl

At this point, if you step off the trail to the east, you can see down into Williams Canyon. There is a trail from the floor of the canyon up to here. If you so desired, you could enter Williams Canyon from Manitou Springs, hike a couple of miles to the trail split, turn left, climb a half mile to the Waldo loop, hike the loop, and return via... More

7. Waldo Creek

You are now at the northern most portion of the loop. From here back to the trail split (about a mile), you’ll hike along the tortured banks of Waldo Creek. In the spring, it’s everything you’d want a rushing mountain stream to be. In the late fall, the waters flow mostly underground, the only evidence of their existence being occasional pools... More

8. Rock!

I’m not sure if this giant mushroom formation was created from a fallen boulder or from the erosion of the surrounding rock structures. I am sure it puts the forces at work here in a better perspective, enhancing the sense of awe you feel as you wind your way to the end of the loop