It's A Beautiful Hike!
Looking for a beautiful mountain hike within 20 minutes of Colorado Springs? Then you’ll love The Catamount Trail in the picturesque town of Green Mountain Falls, CO. There are multiple trails throughout the mountain, which will eventually lead out to the Catamount Reservoir. The footage below was taken from the “blue” trail on August 9th, 2015. This hike was 6 miles round trip, with an elevation gain of about 1700'.
Visitors should note the starting elevation of 7800' and be sure they are acclimated before attempting. I hiked 70% of it with my 40# 4 year old on my back. It’s a moderate hike that will give a great workout by the time you’ve reached the top. You should bring plenty of water, snacks, and budget around 2-4 hours for this hike, depending on your climbing pace. If you plan to relax at the lake for a bit, you could easily spend the entire day!
From Colorado Springs, take Exit #141 and head West on Hwy 24. You will pass the town of Cascade, and shortly after you will see the Green Mountain Falls/ Chipita Park Exit on the left. Take Ute Pass Ave South (left) a short ways and you will see parking by the stream on the left. You will be walking up Hondo Ave. so you may want to park as close to it as possible.
A good GPS location is 11195 Hondo Avenue, Green Mountain Falls, CO. There is no trail parking up Hondo Rd. so be prepared to treck the 1 mile up this dirt road to the trail head.
As mentioned above, you starts with a hike straight up a dirt road for about one mile, which leads you to the trail head, and greets you with a tranquil waterfall. The hike up the dirt road is nothing to write about, but the waterfall at the end is worth it. Once you get to the waterfall the real trail up the mountain starts, with a pile of boulders. This is where the fun begins.
The Climb Up
The climb up the mountain is well established, with markers on the trees throughout. There are two paths to take up; the blue trail and the yellow trail. This trip, we took the blue trail. There is a small lookout spot near the bottom on which you can sit at the small waterfall and cool off. As you get closer to the middle of the mountain, there is an overlook trail which shouldn't be missed, just a few hundred feet off the mail trail and the views are amazing!
Closer to the top, the trail becomes more intense with large rock steps that help you elevate quickly. Once you reach the top you can follow the sign to another great lookout point, or continue straight to take the blue trail to the part called “the garden of eden”. During the summer months this trail has an abundance of beautiful wild flowers, lush aspen trees, large rock formations, green valleys, and running streams throughout. During the fall you will get to see the amazing color change of the trees. At the end of this trail is a dirt road. You can go back the way you came, or take it to the right and you will find a great picnic spot and restrooms, but no potable water, so bring plenty of your own!
The hike up Catamount Trail is a beautiful, well established trail that provides a great workout and amazing views of Pikes Peak, as well as the picturesque Green Mountain Falls Area. If you are in the Colorado Springs, Woodland Park, or Divide area and are looking for a close challenging but rewarding hike, I recommend checking it out!
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