Ruth and I began one of our days in Colorado Springs at the Red Rock Canyon Open Space. This turned out to be one of our best experiences. Welcoming locals were everywhere in this lovely city park like no other.
The Red Rock Open Space is along Highway 24 near Manitou Springs in a former industrial zone. Its formal address is 3550 West High Street. It’s a highly respected, environmentally active region bordering a large neighborhood. Many of its residents claim to walk its trails every day, especially if they have a dog. This expansive park has 2 off-leash dog trails that users really respect.
Visitors are warned not to feed the wildlife. Red Rock Canyon Open Space is a very typical name, so make sure you are in the right space. With 14 acres of land, this particular Red Rock Canyon is so large that no one there feels cramped. We hiked for long stretches without seeing anyone, but when we did happen upon groups, they were invariably friendly and welcoming, especially the young mother with 2 young sons who told us she was living in Colorado Springs only temporarily due to her husband’s job.
Red Rock Canyon has lots of rules that users tend to like. For example, rock climbing is allowed only with a permit. This park abounds with many eroded canyons and jutting red rocks that tempt users to want to see up close. Portable toilets were near the parking lot we chose to use, and nearby we found scads of dirt trails to hike. There is an excellent and printable map of this open space on a couple of websites, and I highly recommend getting one before setting out because this area is far larger than it seems and well-used. Because its a former industrial site containing a quarry and lots of ponds and lakes, Red Rock Canyon is close to an intensely-desirable-to-live-in area with many easy-to-access trails that range from easy to advanced.
From its many high vantage points, the famous Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak can be seen for no amount of money. We loved being in the Red Rock Canyon Open Space that no local including the woman at a visitor center told us about. We lingered and lingered.