Stanley Canyon Trail

HARD 262 reviews
#8 of 168 trails in

Stanley Canyon Trail is a 5.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Colorado Springs, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1702 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

This trail is only accessible if you or someone with you has a military ID or upon approval of military police at the guard post. Picture the "wall" of the side of a chocolate layer cake. Imagine making one knife cut down through that wall. Pull out your imaginary knife (so you won't get hurt) and gaze into the slit you've created. Now transfer this image to the front range of the Rocky Mountains, behind the Air Force Academy, near Colorado Springs. This is Stanley Canyon. Trail #707 leaves the trailhead parking lot on the west side of the Academy grounds and leads you UP the right (north) side of the canyon to the Stanley Canyon Reservoir about two miles away. In the first mile of the trail, you'll climb about 1200 ft. This is steep. The pathway is decomposed granite, except where it's solid granite. The solid sections are not long, but they can be tricky, especially if they're wet. As you climb, you'll reach platforms where you can rest and look back to the east toward the Academy and Colorado Springs. About half way along, you link up with the stream and parallel its course the rest of the way. The outstanding feature of this hike are the rock formations in the canyon walls; take plenty of time to observe them. After the first mile, you'll reach the top of the canyon. The path levels out, mostly, for the final trek up to the reservoir. This last section takes you through pine forests and aspen meadows. The reservoir is not large, but it is lovely.

5 days ago

Do this weekly. Great replacement for the incline as the crowds have ruined that one. Enjoy the canyon, it’s quite beautiful.

1 month ago

Great trail. One of the more difficult trails I’ve been on simply because of the loose rock that covers a lot of the ascent. The views were absolutely stunning though and worth every bit of the hike.

hiking
2 months ago

A very strenuous hike for most of the way but beautiful scenery along the way. The reservoir was dried when we went but it was still worth the views. Lots of scrambling on the rocks and some really slick areas so be careful.

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail, very steep!

3 months ago

One of my favorite trails. There's a good climb, then a nice stroll through aspen trees. It's definitely a repeater trail.

hiking
4 months ago

loved this hike - did it last weekend and it was pretty tough towards the top. the river is frozen but we managed to make it up carefully and did some butt sliding on the way down. still beautiful and challenging.

are they ever going to refill the reservoir?

5 months ago

I love Stanley Canyon, never disappoints. This time however, the reservoir was dried up and I was so sad, but it was so worth the hike. Beautiful, tough, great workout!

trail running
5 months ago

Great hike, but if you are planning to hike it between now (December) and around April the waterfall is frozen over, and impassable. You can still make it about 1.8 miles in and 1000 ft elevation gain. Beautiful views, even if you can’t reach the reservoir.

7 months ago

S suchixiyu

7 months ago

Gorgeous! You have to go on base to access this trail. Some parts get a little confusing and they should mark them better. The views from the top are so worth it! It’s a butt kicker.

hiking
8 months ago

For those with a military ID you can drive up to the trailhead to begin this hike but civilians will have to park in the parking lot just to the East of the guard shack. This trail starts off steep but levels off about half way through the trail. Throughout the hike you will see Spruce, Fir, and Pine. Towards the top of the incline there are Aspens that are beginning to change to their fall colors. The reservoir unfortunately has been drained due to concerns that the dam is not completely sound. Trail 360 on YouTube

9 months ago

Beautiful and challenging hike but the resovoir is drained.

9 months ago

One of my favorites!

hiking
9 months ago

Great mix of challenging trail, great views, scrambling, and a bit of danger. So surprised I didn't see a bear on this trail. I see many families on this trail but I wouldn't say it's a trail for beginners.

Bring food for a picnic at the top by the reservoir.

hiking
9 months ago

9 months ago

Challenging, loved hiking this and would definitely recommend.

10 months ago

If you'd like to voice your opinion about Stanley Canyon call either Kim Mutchler 719-668-8793 or Keith Rylie (or Andy Fuches) 719-448-4800 option 4 then hold. CS utilities said because the dam is compromised and they don't utilize the water benefits they will not refill. With 1.3 billion in marijuana sales in 2016 I don't think this should even be a question.

hiking
11 months ago

The hike was fun - great views as people have mentioned. The reservoir was completely drained so the path ended at a very large mudhole with a bunch of dead fish, which was a bummer. If they allow the reservoir to fill back up, then it would definitely be a 5 star.

11 months ago

Great canyon views!

hiking
11 months ago

Cool, easygoing hike with some difficult spots.

hiking
11 months ago

Amazing hike, difficult if you have children with you (age 3-7), but can be done with great team work and determination this hike is hella fun worth every step and drip of sweat.

(p.s. A Friend or Yourself will need a Military ID needed to park at trail head. if not your journey will be an extra mile or so from a guest parking lot to trail head.)

hiking
11 months ago

One of my favorite hikes so far!

hiking
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Really beautiful views on this hike! There's definitely some challenging areas where you have to cross a small river and work around loose gravel, but overall it's a nice, fairly easy to follow trail.

hiking
Friday, June 16, 2017

Difficult hike, well worth it. If your dog listens well this is a fun hike with your furry companion. Could be dangerous if they don't listen well, due to steep drop-offs.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

This was an amazing hike!! Beautiful views and we enjoyed the vigorous workout. Some of the reviews had made me nervous before doing this hike - and honestly, this hike was difficult but I did not find it "dangerous" at all, as some have described it. Would definitely recommend this hike to anyone who is up for a bit of a challenge, and a lot of fun!

hiking
Sunday, June 04, 2017

Fun hike, beautiful views. A notice posted on Friday, 06/02 said something about draining the reservoir. I can't find any info on line about it.

Friday, June 02, 2017

A fun and challenging hike

Sunday, May 21, 2017

This is not a review as I've not actually been able to hike the trail. A word to the wise. This trail is not open to civilians. My husband and I called the visitors' center today, and we were told this before we made the trip. If anyone knows of a different way to access the trail, let me know!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

hiking
Thursday, May 04, 2017

It seems like you will always be climbing up but it flattens out after climbing slippery rocks. Some parts are confusing but follow the stream (on your left) and you'll be fine. The views on the way up are cool and the meadow to the reservoir is quite peaceful.

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