Dome Rock Trail

HARD 63 reviews
#28 of 170 trails in

Dome Rock Trail is a 11.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Divide, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, birding, and horses and is best used from March until October. Horses are also able to use this trail.

11.2 miles
1,778 feet



horseback riding

nature trips




wild flowers


washed out

no dogs

Rising 800 ft above the 4 Mile Creek valley floor, Dome Rock is the quintessential Colorado destination. Adjacent to Meuller State Park, just south of Divide and north of Cripple Creek, you can hike here from mid-July to the end of November. This area is restricted because it is one of the few areas where Big Horn Sheep drop and nurture their lambs. You can travel this area on foot (with or without snowshoes, depending on the weather) or on horseback. No mountain bikes and no DOGS. If you like variety, you'll find it on this hike: wild flowers (in late July/early August), Aspen forests, beaver ponds, massive granite rock formations, views of the central Rocky Mountains, quiet streams and rushing creeks. Because it takes 5-6 hours to complete the 11 mile loop (depending on how often you stop for pictures, or how much exploring you do along the way), you may have the opportunity to experience the delight of Colorado blue skies and the drama of roiling clouds in one glorious day. Begin your loop from the south parking lot trailhead. Most of the UP is on the way out to the dome, especially if you take the side trail up to the lookout via the Twisted Pine Nature Trail. If you don't want to do the loop, you can begin from the north parking lot, hiking out and back. This would shorten the hike by about a mile and reduce the amount of climbing involved (but it will also reduce your ability to see the panorama of the central Rockies). For this out and back hike, cross the bridge and then stay on the north side of 4 Mile Creek (unless you're on horse back; horses must use the stream crossings and the trail engineered for them). Note: There are no bridges. So if you don't want to get your feet wet, watch for the small trails leading off into the brush along the creek. These will keep you on the north and west side of the creek all the way out to the dome, or all the way back from the dome. If do the loop, you must cross the creek just west of the dome. Again, no bridge here; take off your shoes and wade across - the bottom is sandy.

25 days ago

Arrived at the parking area on a Saturday at 0630 and only one other car was there. Hiked the trail clockwise and it took right at 5 hrs and clocked in right at 11 miles. Plenty of creek crossings but water was low so no need to take boots off. I do wish I had brought long pants, you will be hiking through a lot of shrubs. Some of the trails were poorly marked and wasn’t sure what direction. Just pulled out my AllTrails app and made sure I was headed in the right direction. Unfortunately only animals I saw were turkey, woodpeckers and chipmunks. Beautiful hike though!!

9 months ago

Fantastic hike. I always pack a filter whenever I'm out, so glad to have had it on this hike!

9 months ago

Nicely marked trail this time of the year. If you're going in July when it first opens pay close attention as the trail gets overgrown and it's easy to miss a turn. Bring plenty of water and some snacks. The elevation gain is steep at parts but levels off for awhile.

10 months ago

Did the loop counter-clockwise and echo the sentiment below about wishing I'd brought a little more water (or a water filter). What a beautiful and varied loop hike though! There are five or six creek crossings that require a removal of your boots, unless you want them to be soaked! Dome Rock wouldn't be out of place in Yosemite. Very striking feature. The aspens were changing color in a lot of places on September 18, not quite turning in others. Overall, a very peaceful and beautiful outing with not too many people on the trail.

10 months ago

Holy crap. Bring enough water to do the entire loop. I've done it previously on horseback...consider myself a pretty experienced hiker.. moderate hike. I went through the canyon first and went counter-clockwise for a bigger challenge. I got it!! Beautiful aspen/rock photos.

11 months ago

Hiked 9/8/2017
First time hiking this from the south trail as a loop. There is a lot of uphill at the start through a beautiful aspen grove eventually flattening out on a ridge before turning into a steep descent into the dome rock canyon area. I spotted an adolescent black bear on the trail close to the dome rock, scared off easy. Starting at the dome there will be at least 5 water crossing, i slipped into flip flops each time but plan on getting wet. My gps had the trail around 9 miles as a loop. Spotted no big horns. Plan on going back in a couple weeks for the aspens.

11 months ago

Was tough for this flatlander. I need to acclimate a few more days, try again.

11 months ago

Loved it. Wildflowers were AMAZING. Did anyone see any Big Horn? We didn't.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

This trail was all and more than expected! With a variety of terrain and level of difficulty- it has something for nearly anyone! The wild flowers were amazing and the stream crossings fun. This hike (the complete loop) is for anyone with good cardio fitness as the south half of the loop is nearly all incline- beautiful, but constant uphill. I arrived at 8am and finished at about 1:30pm with time to stop and photograph and have a quick lunch! I will do this trail again in September when the Aspens turn!

Monday, May 29, 2017

This trail is challenging, with five points along the trail where the creek runs across the path, sandal shoes are recommended for the first half of the Dome Rock trail loop. The return loop after passing Dome Rock will take you up a series of seven steep incline sections, and then offer a level northwesterly view of Pike's Peak from 10,000'. The return path to trailhead guides you along a birding valley before completing the loop.

Friday, May 19, 2017

awesome hike but wish I could take the dogs with

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Beautiful! We hiked up both the ridge and along the creek. Two totally different hikes but both equally as rewarding and picturesque.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Great trail, most of park is closed for lambing season. Beautiful views. Only did 8.77 miles of trail. I recommend deet, since we brought back 3 ticks crawling on our clothing.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

NO dogs allowed on this trail but dogs are allowed on the Briar creek trail to the 4 mile overlook to the hammerton trail located north of the bathrooms. 8 mile hike was lovely. All the water and birds were so wonderful. No steep inclines, only saw 1 group and 2 single hikers. Took us about 4 hours with a 25 minute lunch.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

We did the loop, logged in at 11.7 miles, taking a total of 5.5 hours including breaking for lunch. (We did go off trail a couple of times for a moment.) We went clockwise starting from the south lot. The majority of the elevation gain was in the first two miles. This trail has river crossings. Even late November there was a significant amount of water at the crossings. (mid-shin level) Once north of the dome, and heading back east, we were able to stay north of the river and avoid any further crossings. (Taking the hiking trail and not the bridle trail.)

This hike was nice. There were moments of beautiful scenery. The dome was impressive. The Jack Rabbit Cabin ruins were cool. On the north side, the hiking trail (not the bridle trail) can be a little technical in spots, and has more gain than the bridle trail but has more river crossings.

Monday, October 03, 2016

moderate. Amazing scenery.

Friday, September 16, 2016

I love this trail. horseback it is hard , switch backs , hairpin turns .... Deadfall your horse will have to be ok jumping or trudging through it. It is my favorite ride but again it is intense!!!!! 10-13 water crossings some deep some very shallow. You will see hiker At the start of the trail and at the end . Hikers can not make it all the way in where the horses are . So in the middle of the ride it will be pretty quiet. A valley of aspen trees is where we stop and eat lunch always same spot let the horses rest and I believe that is "dome rock" we stop at .

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bring waterproof shoes and if doing loop, go clockwise

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

This was a great training hike for a longer backpacking trip I'm doing next month. It had a variety of views, great rock formations, small waterfalls, wild flowers, pine, and aspen forest habitats, and of course plenty of stream crossings- don't forget your water shoes!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

I did the whole loop counterclockwise. It is a beautiful hike with plenty of creek crossings. Expect shin to knee high water. The trail access is from the upper parking lot or from the lower parking area depending on which way you would like to go. The elevation map is from a clockwise perspective (easier route). There is an incredible overlook if you wonder off trail before you reach dome rock (clockwise) or after you pass dome rock (counter clockwise). Saw an eagle.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Very scenic. Little elevation gain but a beautiful area and the Dome is spectacular.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

One of the prettiest hikes I've been on. Did it clockwise on a very sunny morning. After an extended, but moderate, uphill climb thru several groves of aspen, there was a mile or two of bushwhacking thru the undergrowth to get down to the valley floor. Appeared that this portion of the trail was not heavily used. Hard to keep to the trail in places but simply followed the stream down to the bottom without too much difficulty. Suggest waterproof boots and either waterproof pants or gaiters - there was lots of dew on the foliage which resulted in a good soaking as I passed. Once on the valley floor it was smooth sailing all the way around the rock and back around to the trailhead. The fordings of Four Mile Creek were really no big deal. Had waterproof boots and just waded across.
Gradients were pretty moderate except for that one stretch heading down into the valley - would prefer not to do it in the other direction.
Saw a few critters - elk, deer, rabbits, but no sheep.
Worth doing again and again. Must be spectacular in October when the aspens light up.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Dome Rock was a great trail! The first half to Dome Rock was very easy and beautiful, crossing 5 streams (took shoes off for a couple then decided to walk thru with shoes) I only saw a few pepole thus far. The 2nd half after the Dome was mostly up hill and a change of scenery thru the aspens, also very beautiful. I started at 130pm, not so smart and got caught in a storm with very heavy rain, very heavy lightning and thunder. I went off trail and hunkered down waiting for the storm to pass for 30 min sitting in pine needles with rain Jacket and tarp over legs. Was an experience not to be repeated. Go early to avoid the colorado late afternoon storms. It took me 4.5 hours with t-storm included. Enjoy! FYI - do the whole loop starting at the south entrance and make sure you bring your camelback :)

Monday, January 26, 2015

For those who want to do the entire loop. Do a clockwise loop starting at the south parking lot. There will be One real creek crossing at the west end that will require shoe/boot & socks removal, rolling up the pants and wading. :-) Once you're heading back east - when you see a creek crossing, look to your left for faint trails that will take you parallel to the creek but keep you on the north bank. Sometimes you'll be going through willows (closer to the west end), but persevere and you won't have to remove your footware again.

This is possibly the best 10 mile hike within close range of Colorado Springs. And there are wild raspberries to be had. Enjoy!

Monday, September 01, 2014

Lots of creek crossings, recommend not doing the loop and just doing an out and back from the southern parking lot. Going from the northern parking lot out to Dome Rock is harder and less visually rewarding than just going south. Be advised, if you do go south and out and back you will have to cross around 10 creeks on your way out and back.

All that being said, this is probably the prettiest hike I've done in Colorado yet. The valley where Dome Rock is located is gorgeous.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

I did the loop. Kicked my butt, well worth it great views, lots of water crossings

Sunday, August 10, 2014

great nearby hike. I did the 10.5 loop. 6 river crossing all requiring me to take off boots. vrry few people on asummer weekend.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

This is one of the prettiest moderate hikes I've done in Colorado. (I've lived here 26 years, have backpacked, rock climbed, and climbed a bunch of 14'ers.) If you have out of state company this time of year - this is the place to bring them.

As FullerMedia said - wear long pants as it can get brushy. Definitely do the loop clockwise if you're planning on doing the whole loop. We parked in the north lot - then headed south. We only needed to do one creek crossing at the west end of the loop. The trails to avoid the creek crossings as you're headed back east along the north side of the loop were easy to find - and rise on the side of the hill enough to give you good views of the beaver ponds.

We completed the loop in 5 1/2 hours. That was with numerous stops for photos and a lunch break.

Monday, August 04, 2014

This was our first real hike in the Rockies, and it was awesome, except for when we got lost. (Wait, that was awesome too.). We did the entire look in a clockwise direction, which means we started out with a 2-3 mile steep ascent and ended with a 2-3 mile "less steep" ascent. I think clockwise is the right way to do it.

As others have said here, at points, the trail is difficult to follow. There is water to cross (less than knee deep after a few days of rain). Lots of rough up and down terrain. But the views are worth it.

We'll be back to do the loop again.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Scenic, moderate hike with plenty to look at and enjoy. The trail was varied, we liked the different types of flowers and birds. Nothing technical, but some bushwhacking was in order as we followed our guide's suggestion to stay north of the creek on the way back. We started at 7:30 a.m. and were back at the car at 1:00 p.m., stopping for about 25 minutes to eat on a rock overlooking the dome (after the first creek crossing, which I didn't need to remove my boots to make).

Only a couple of trails are marked - bring a GPS or detailed map. Hiking poles help with the downhill. You might benefit from long pants - some prickly vegetation along the way. All in all, a fine way to spend the day!

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