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.
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. I recommend that for your first trip, you allow plenty of time. I also recommend you 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). You'll note in the Points of Interest that I have marked the stream crossing locations as X-1, X-2, etc., numbering them from the dome back toward the trailhead. 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.
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. We did a decent 8 mile hike that was lovely. we went off trail and had lunch way up in the sky. All the water and birds were so wonderful. Low traffic, only saw 1 group and 2 single hikers. The 8 miles took us 4 hours with a 25 minute lunch. I would rate as easy, no steep inclines.
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.
moderate. Amazing scenery.
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 .
Bring waterproof shoes and if doing loop, go clockwise
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!
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.
Very scenic. Little elevation gain but a beautiful area and the Dome is spectacular.
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.
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 :)
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!
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.
I did the loop. Kicked my butt, well worth it great views, lots of water crossings