- The Red Rock Loop Trail goes to the right, a little more than 1/2 mile from the Bear Creek Road trailhead.
If you haven't been in Section 16 or the the south end of Red Rocks Canyon Open Space in the last couple of weeks, you've likely missed seeing some extensive trail work done by the Colorado Springs Parks Department.
The Red Rock Loop Trail is a new, almost two-mile long route that starts at the Section 16 Trail just opposite the Parallel Trail, or just over a half-mile from the Gold Camp Road trailhead. The very scenic, multi-use (non-motorized) trail winds it's way north to just south of the old landfill, then to the west before ending at the Intemann Trail — about a quarter-mile north of where Intemann meets the Section 16 trail. The trail, built by a contractor, features wide switchbacks to accommodate bikes and rolling dip grades to help with water and erosion control. Red Rock Loop was routed around several old rogue trails, and other trails nearby were aggressively reclaimed. The Loop provides nice views, including a sweeping 180-degree view to the west, and a nice view of Garden of the Gods to the north.
- Bob Falcone
- The view to the west and north from the Red Rock Loop Trail.
The Intemann Trail has also seen a significant make over, with a reroute moving the trail out of some of the deeper sections of Red Rocks Canyon. You'll find the new route less than a mile from where the Intemann Trail meets the Section 16 trail. Intemann used to drop down to an intermittently flowing creek and followed it before rising steeply to a ridge. Now the trail crosses the creek and rises above it, crosses the original trail, and bypasses a short, steep rocky section. The trail then meets the original trail where the Section 16 connector trail to the Red Rocks Canyon intersects with it, before again splitting off. Where the old trail went deep into a canyon, the new trail stays high above the old trail, keeping it out of deep winter shade. The re-route ends at the "water tank" trail at the edge of Manitou Springs, from where the Intemann Trail follows its original route. The re-route of the Intemann Trail offers a better experience due to more sustainability and views, than the old route.
Cyclists and hikers I've spoken with like the new trail and the improvements to Intemann. They appreciate getting rid of spots that were dangerous in the winter, especially for cyclists who often had to carry their bikes on those sections. One concern with the new Red Rock Loop Trail is that it is directly accessible only from the Section 16 trail and the south end of the Intemann Trail, with no connections to other trails, or to the 31st Street trailhead for Red Rocks Canyon. However, according to Sarah Bryarly at the Colorado Springs Parks Department, there are plans to join the Red Rocks Loop to some proposed trails that will intersect with the Ridgeline Trail on the far southeast corner of Red Rocks Canyon.
Overall, it seems that the trail work done in Section 16/Red Rocks Canyon has been well done, and is an improvement to the outdoors experience.
Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for 25 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: firstname.lastname@example.org.