This trail begins by the side of highway 24 just west of Manitou Springs. Because of its proximity to the city and highway, this is a pretty popular trail. The trail starts off pretty steep going up the first hill for about a half mile.There are stairs by the trailhead that turn into switchbacks after a short while. Once you get over that hill you are away from the highway and you wouldn't know civilization is that close by. On the way up be sure to take the small side trail that takes you to the spot overlooking the highway. There is some amazing quartz and Pike Peak Granite there, with a sign that explains some of the geology of the region. Pike Peak Granite is usually a light pink and sometimes red formed by underground magma cooling very slowly over a period of thousands of years.
After going over the first hill you go along the side of a steep peak for a while and it offers a nice view of the area below, including some beautiful large rock formations to the south and some great views of Pike's Peak. The trail descends briefly and at about the 1.5 mile mark, you reach the beginning of the loop. There is a sign saying the loop is 3.5 miles. It doesn't make a lot of difference going clockwise or counterclockwise on the loop. There are some young aspens and plenty of pines near this section of the trail.In the spring/early summer you should be able to see plenty of wildflowers here. On the loop section you will cross a small creek several times and go past some incredibly large boulders that have long since fallen from the top of the mountain. They are as big as a house! The trail is pretty easy to follow the whole way and not to strenuous.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.