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Sangre de Cristo road trip hike, and Ute Pass Trail reopens

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BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
Southwest of Colorado Springs, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains are a treasure trove of hiking, camping and peak bagging opportunities.

Music Pass, Venable and Commanche Lakes, the Rainbow Trail, Crestone Peak and many other popular hiking destinations are dotted along the mountains that separate the San Luis and Wet Valleys. On the east side of the mountains, the twin towns of Silvercliffe and Westcliffe serve as the supply points for trips into the nearby mountains.

Goodwin Lakes, a series of small lakes at about 11,400-feet, is an example of one of the many scenic hikes in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. This out-and-back hike is a little over 10.5 miles long, and is mostly difficult with some easy moderate sections along the way.

To get there: Take state Highway 115 from the Springs to Florence, then state Highway 67 south to Wetmore. Go west on state Highway 96 to Westcliffe, south on state Highway 69, and turn right onto County Road 140 (some maps will show CR 140 as Schofield Road, but all the street signs say CR 140). Follow CR 140 west for several miles to a "T" at CR 141, and turn left, then right again where it ends and back onto CR 140. Follow CR 140 for a few more miles and watch for a sign on the right for the Venable and Commanche Trails. Follow the dirt road to the upper parking lot. The Commanche and Venable Trails both start here, a few hundred feet apart. Start at the Venable Trail.

Ute Pass Trail reopens

The Ute Pass Trail, closed for many months due to replacement of water pipelines under the trail, was reopened last week. The trail, which runs from near the base of the Manitou Incline west to Longs Ranch, is a nice 6 mile round trip trek. El Paso County Parks staff says that the utilities work also resulted in some trail improvements, and should make for a pleasant hiking experience.

Happy trails!

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for more than 26 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: info@hikingbob.com.

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