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Big Johnson Reservoir is a 4.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Colorado Springs, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.

Length 4.6 mi Elevation gain 88 ft Route type Out & Back

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

No shade

No dogs

Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (61)
Photos (24)
Recordings (36)
Completed (89)
Toni Marie L.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Jun 23 2020
Hiking

Nice easy walk around. We were fortunate to see two hawks, two groups of antelope and lots of prairie dogs along with geese on the water. Very peaceful. Very few people, which made it even more pleasant.

Nic T
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFri Jun 19 2020
HikingBugsNo shade

Went on a Friday morning around 930. Plenty of parking. Easy walking trail with pretty scenery. We saw two pronghorns and one prairie dog in his hole. Nice for an easy quick walk. TONS of bugs in th beginning that follo you

Danielle Selke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFri May 22 2020
HikingNo shade

Simple and fairly flat trail.

Reginald Chase
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue May 05 2020
HikingNo shade

Perfect cycling trail

View Reginald's Recording
Mary King
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Apr 23 2020
Hiking

This is a great trail that has been added on to recently. There is a little over 4 mile loop called Meadowlark that has sweeping views of the area. There is also an offshoot to the trial that goes around the reservoir.

Elliott Fortin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Mar 28 2020
RunningBlowdown
View Elliott's Recording
Julie Vizzini
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFri Mar 27 2020
HikingNo shade

It’s an easy walk.. it can easily be done by a child. Beautiful view of pikes peak.

M Hardball
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFri Jan 10 2020
Hiking

It was fine—if boring—until a rattlesnake nearly got us at the entrance/exit to the park. Should have known that any place with a ton of prairie dogs would have them, but live (hopefully) and learn. #snakes

Mr T Tij
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Jun 23 2019
Hiking

They drained this reservoir there is nothing there now!!

Jade Jackson-Waite
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSat May 11 2019
HikingNo shade

This was an easy hike, very flat with little elevation gain. Lots of prairie dogs throughout the whole trail so watch your step. Trail was dry and clearly established up until the end where it was a little overgrown. there are warnings to not bring your dogs here posted at the trailhead due to plague being found in the area.

View Jade's Recording
Chris Webb
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarThu Feb 07 2019
RunningNo shade

This out and back trail is good for getting out of the house for a short hike or run. The trail isn't too overgrown; more of a dirt road than a traditional trail. It is somewhat uneven and has potential trip hazards if you run it during hours of darkness. My only complaint is that there is a very busy highway 200-300 meters to the east, and it is under the approach end of a somewhat busy airport, so it is quite noisy.

Curtiss Potter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Jan 14 2019

A simple, flat hike through prairie grasslands with interpretive signs. Not challenging and not long, but enjoyable enough. I disagree with the folks who were dismissive of the trail. It was not overgrown, the grasshoppers were not an annoyance, and I find it hard to believe anyone with eyes could trip in a prairie dog hole. The reservoir hasn’t been drained., It’s simply dry due to drought conditions. The only thing I didn’t like was the large number of folks sitting in their cars at the trailhead smoking pot and playing with their phones. I felt a little uncomfortable leaving my car as it was obvious I would be away from it for a while.

Botany 007
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue May 08 2018
Hiking

The previous reviews, in my opinion, are way off the mark. This is a fascinating area, and the remaining public grasslands of North America are scarce, and that's even more reason to appreciate Blue Stem Prairie Open Space. The reservoir was dry (May 7), and Spring is just starting out there, but there is still plenty to see. Pronghorn, prairie dogs, prairie rattlesnakes (nice!), all sorts of birds, and the spring wildflowers are peaking through...in another few weeks this place should blow out in color. And, of course, the views...enough said! The hike itself is super easy with what amounts to a rolling landscape - the inclines are barely noticeable. You have to watch your step from time to time along the dirt/gravel/grassy path, but difficult terrain is not an issue here. I only saw one other person there (early Monday afternoon) and they didn't hike at all from what I saw. You are surrounded by traffic on Powers Blvd. to the east, but it's off in the distance from most of the hike, and I only saw one plane take off in the 2 hours I was there I'm more worried about the folks who can't read the signs that say dogs aren't allowed, and then proceed to let their dogs poop all around the first part of the trail. And then you have the other person or persons who left a giant pile of cat food out there. I'm hoping it's not that irresponsible "Nip and Release" program for cats that operates all over the country. In regards to the prairie dog plague - there is a sign that tells you it's present - it's not a concern to humans unless you get close enough to a prairie dog to kiss it (good luck with that!) or get bit by the fleas it carries (you shouldn't be near active dens). Transmission to humans is unlikely even if you are exposed - most people get it from rodents around their homes, not in wild areas. The word "plague" invokes an irrational fear in most people. Do yourself a favor and visit this place before it gets too warm, or as it cools later in the year. It's the type of habitat you don't see often these days - give it a chance!

Kate Anthony
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSat Mar 17 2018

Not dog friendly. Plague found here in prairie dogs. Didn’t walk trail, went to Stratton instead.

Justine Gibson
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 22 2017

I do not recommend this trail. It is over grown with weeds and we were attacked by bugs the entire run. There were so many crickets flying around it felt like we were getting pelted with pebbles. There are many very large animal burrows that are hidden and you can step in them and hurt yourself. The reservoir has been drained as well.

Alison Amtmann
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 02 2017

Reservoir has been drained :(

Caleb Dennison
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Jan 15 2017

No dogs allowed

Sonya Shannon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFri Aug 19 2016
Walking

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.

Melissa Rodeffer
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Aug 07 2016

Nice walk as long as you stay on trail.

Mykala Davison Bsn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 17 2016
Walking

Easy walk, saw a rattle snake and some owls.

Ashley Hopper
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarWed Jun 01 2016
Running

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.

Aly Wilson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMon May 09 2016

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

Frank Gatta
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSat May 02 2015
Walking

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

DANIEL R.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarThu Jul 10 2014
Walking

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

Ryan Froelich
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarWed Mar 26 2014
Running

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.

VS D.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarTue Sep 10 2013
Hiking

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.

starr w.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 01 2020
Mountain biking
View starr's Recording
starr w.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 23 2020
Mountain biking
View starr's Recording
Leigh Champion
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 07 2020
Hiking
View Leigh's Recording
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