Cañon City is only about 45 minutes from Colorado Springs, and the more desert environment provides some variety of nearby hiking options.
Although wintry weather is possible in November, average temperatures are about 10 degrees warmer than at Woodland Park and Monument in late fall. Also note that the Royal Gorge Park area is at a higher elevation than other local trail areas and retains snow longer, so fall (vs spring) tends to be a better option to avoid snowfalls. muddy trails.
In Cañon City, from the intersection of Hwy 50 and 115/9th Street, travel west on Hwy 50 approximately 8.25 miles to County Road 3A and turn left, essentially at the entrance to the Royal Gorge Park area. Wind south about 3.5 miles to the Canyon Rim Trailhead parking lot on the right (trailhead is on the left).
Cross the road and turn left to join the Canyon Rim Trail. Walk through a pine and juniper forest on a relatively flat area. A few nice openings provide views of the Royal Gorge and the Arkansas River far below, in addition to the Dawson Range and other surrounding mountains. After about two miles, cross dirt road FS389B to reach the end of Canyon Rim Trail, where it intersects Canon Vista Trail near the campground. Note that this route will return via FS389B.
Turn right and head south on Canon Vista Trail, with views of Cañon City to the east. Look northeast to see the ubiquitous Pikes Peak rising above the landscape. After about half a mile you will reach a T intersection signed with FAR Out Trail and turn left to continue south. After about a quarter of a mile, come to another signposted intersection and continue south on the Summit Trail toward some radio towers.
After another 1/4 mile, reconnect with another section of FAR Out Trail and be sure to cut sharp left to continue on Summit Trail towards Fremont Peak. The trail is visible ahead as it climbs along the contour of the ridge and the difficulty becomes moderate. Fremont Peak finally comes into view and after about 0.75 miles, reaches an intersection with a trail on the right that leads to FS 389B. Take note of this location as the return route will divert along this road.
Keep left and the trail straddles the ridge, opening up fine views west of the Royal Gorge cliffs, the Dawson Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo Range beyond. Shortly after the road trail intersection, the trail swings to the left and descends a few hundred feet, then climbs more steeply over a few switchbacks. After ascending over 300 feet, reach the summit of 7,233-foot Fremont Peak. Take a well-deserved break to savor the 360 degree panorama.
Backtrack about 0.75 miles to the road trail sign and to add variety to the return trip, turn left to the radio towers and road. After about 150 yards, connect to FS389B and follow the wide road to the campground. Note that this road is only open for guided jeep tours, so traffic is very light.
After about a mile, the value of the road route is revealed, passing close to the rim where hikers enjoy the day’s best views of the Arkansas River, Royal Gorge, Dawson Range backdrop and Sangres above. of the. After about half a mile, reconnect to the Canyon Rim Trail, turn left, and hike along flat terrain for about a mile to the trailhead parking lot.
Joe LaFleur has lived at Woodland Park since 2016 and is an avid hiker who hits the trails weekly. Contact Joe with questions or comments at [email protected] Hiking is great exercise but can be dangerous. Always be sure to plan well, check the weather, bring a printed map, tell someone where and when you are going, and contact them when you are safe to return.