Big Johnson Reservoir

EASY 11 reviews

Big Johnson Reservoir is a 4.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Colorado Springs, CO that features a lake. The trail is good for all skill levels and primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and birding.

4.7 miles 143 feet Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

hiking

trail running

walking

lake

wild flowers

wildlife

walking
3 months ago

The trail is a lonely prairie wilderness with great views of Pike's Peak and the Big Johnson Reservoir, an impressive body of water that's frustratingly far away from the actual trail for my taste. Traffic on Powers roars across a high ridge to the east, which disturbs the wilderness feeling and causes an awkward self-consciousness, as there are very few hikers. The park is near the airport and planes fly loudly overhead.

The trail is an out-and-back, not a loop. It's just shy of 4 miles. There's a slight incline, but otherwise easy. Despite being flanked by a major roadway, Blue Stem feels isolated and deserted, with neither shade nor shelter of any kind. There's generally only one or maybe two other cars at the trailhead, and often no one else. Because of rattlesnakes I am nervous to walk there alone.

In spring and early summer a profusion of wildflowers and cactus blossoms grow amongst the grasses. There's a super view of clouds and ever-changing sky. If others come to the park they are often photographers there for the birds and views.

The reservoir attracts Pelicans and the grassland has prairie dogs and antelope. I've often seen small groups of antelope fairly nearby, especially at the north and northwest where the trail doubles back.

Though it's technically inside the city of Colorado Springs and has some unpleasant urban features like the traffic and airport noise, Blue Stem is a true wilderness. I recommend bringing binoculars or a camera, water, a snake bite kit, a charged phone - just in case - and a friend.

3 months ago

Nice walk as long as you stay on trail.

walking
4 months ago

Easy walk, saw a rattle snake and some owls.

trail running
6 months ago

This place is great for looking at birds, prairie dogs, and the occasional plane flying over. I was disappointed that the trail does not go all the way around the lake. It is 1.8 miles to the fence where you will turn around, my gps said 3.6 miles total.

6 months ago

Was a pretty easy hike. Saw two great horned owls which was an amazing sight. Other than that nothing too spectacular about this trail.

9 months ago

1 year ago

walking
1 year ago

It is a good starter trail, did not like that the trail did not go all the way around the lake.

walking
2 years ago

meh.....its OK. not sure why its fenced like property in California. lots of prairie dogs that will insult you as you walk.

trail running
2 years ago

If you love prairie dogs, this place is like heaven on earth. If you're not, it's pretty boring. It's great for running if you don't have any place better to go to.

hiking
3 years ago

Commonly known as the Big Johnson Reservoir. I've never completed the a circular trail-not actually sure the trail can be done as a loop. I've done it in and out. Be sure to bring enough water to make it back to the car! No shade anywhere. The reservoir is known as a destination for birders-a lot of shorebirds, gulls, bald eagles in part of the winter. My favorites are burrowing owls, which in turn means lots of prairie dogs. The lake level is quite low and completely fenced, which means those water birds are frustratingly far away. Rattlesnakes are common.