Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Stanley Canyon Trail is a 5.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Colorado Springs, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching 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: 1,702 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

Note: North gate to base is closed on weekends. Use academy Dr exit for alternate entrance. 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.

hiking
4 days ago

Good workout. Beautiful patches of Columbine in the upper sections. The lake is dry, sadly. Still a great hike!

hiking
14 days ago

Great trail, but easy to get lost.

hiking
over grown
rocky
scramble
24 days ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
30 days ago

North gate to base is closed on weekends. Use academy dr exit for alternate entrance. At the end of trail to Stanley reservoir is dry. Great hike otherwise.

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
blowdown
off trail
rocky
scramble
washed out
1 month ago

hiking
icy
muddy
snow
3 months ago

Great hike. First half is pretty steep, but fun. Some parts you need to keep your head on a swivel and follow the tracks. Can sometimes wander off trail.

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful hike...mostly snow covered with some ice. Took microspikes and didn’t use them, but definitely take them to have the option. The directions from here had me park off the main road and added some mileage, but if you want to shorten it, you can drive up the dirt road to a parking lot.

hiking
icy
snow
5 months ago

hiking
icy
scramble
5 months ago

Great lunch break hike today, but had to turn back at waypoint 5. Didn’t have the ice gear or time to tackle anything further. Be prepared for wet/slick areas

7 months ago

Beautiful trail, but icy today. I had to break out my rock climbing skills a mile from the reservoir to get past an icy slope I couldn't get up in my boots.

hiking
scramble
8 months ago

Any idea what happened to the reservoir at the top? It’s gone! Beautiful fields with wildflowers in summer. Fun stream crossings and scrambling over rocks but a little hairy, make sure you allow plenty of time AO you aren’t coming down in the dark. Very steep

hiking
bugs
rocky
scramble
10 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

The views and scenery on the way up are great. Super unfortunate the reservoir was emptied otherwise this would be one of my favorite hikes.

hiking
Sun Jun 30 2019

the resevoir is empty and theres a sign stating so at the bottom. However, the creek through the canyon was running at a great rate and was nice to cool off in! this trail is seeing increased traffic as word spreads. it's not an easy 2 miles. we brought our kids (experienced hikers) and they had fun (9, 11 and 13). It's too steep for a baby carrier, or a child that cant hike on their own without assistance. Especially going back down. the first mile is a sharp incline of around 1000 feet on loose gravel. The second mile covers the same increase, only it involves more bouldering and scrambling, as well as sections that cross the creek, or require hiking up the creek itself. the last half mile or so levels out well, and is shaded, lush and beautiful to wander in! keep an eye out for storm forecasts because it's hard to see a storm coming in when you're in the canyon. Dont expect your descent to be faster than your ascent... picking your way back down can be tricky. overall we really enjoy this trail and have hiked it several times. I love it even more when the resevoir is in!

hiking
Sun Jun 30 2019

A good hike, moderate to strenuous first mile or so. Resevoir has been drained due to engineering concerns of the dam. still a very pretty hike.

Showing results 1 - 16 of 352