William's Canyon Trail [CLOSED]

MODERATE 72 reviews
#142 of 170 trails in

William's Canyon Trail [CLOSED] is a 5.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Manitou Springs, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from February until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.6 miles
1,400 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly



nature trips






over grown



private property

UPDATE: This trail is CLOSED to the public until further notice. It was closed by the National Forest Service after the Waldo Canyon Fire because the area is now prone to extreme flash flooding. Williams Canyon is situated, fittingly enough, at the end of Canon Ave. in the northwest section of Manitou Springs. It extends approximately 3 miles due north. The trail parallels the stream to its source. What is now a bare trickle in early October was once powerful enough to carve this canyon deep through ancient layers of limestone, dolomite and sandstone, producing cliffs that rise 300 feet above the trail. In the spring, when the waters flow more abundantly, you'll attain a better sense of what this place might have been like long ago. What makes this canyon unique in the area now are the limestone walls exposed along the canyon's upper rim. A permit is required to park near the trailhead.

3 months ago

This trail is closed

Loose rock

New plant growth at risk for damage from hikers

Sharp pieces of metal. Not safe for dogs or clueless hikers

High risk for danger and low chance of rescue + heavy prosecution

Do not disturb the neighborhood attempting to go here

Allow this beautiful place to heal and respect the rules. They are there for a reason. Don’t be that guy who gets hurt and further shuts this place down even more.

4 months ago

They have ramped up giving tickets for trespassing. Don't do this hike. The Manitou police are now patrolling the entrance and will get you when you come out.

trail running
5 months ago

Beautiful trail in all respects. Well worn and well travelled trail along the creek to the first falls. No trash! Nice to run trails with no litter and no graffiti :) It is off limits because the property owner (Cave of the Winds) does not want to be responsible if you or I twist an ankle or something similar in our overly litigious world. If you hike or run trails you should take responsibility for yourself and your actions :) Great run but not to be taken lightly in flash flood season. Parked down in town at free lot and ran up. Have fun!

8 months ago

Unfortunately, the trail is closed. :-( I emailed the Cave of the Winds at info@caveofthewinds.com and they said it has been closed since 2013. They used to offer waivers for hikers wishing to hike on their property many years ago. But as of now, they do not seek to open the canyon for public access. Anyone trespassing can be ticketed. Very sad. But, I guess it is a pretty big liability for them .

so is this trail open?? lol

9 months ago

It is closed. Private property. No trespassing. Contact the owners of Cave of the Winds for more information: (719) 685-5444. People have been ticketed recently.

9 months ago

First off, it’s not closed. Second, if you went there before the floods it’s not the same place that it used to be. The trail is not intact anymore and you’re constantly scrambling over boulders. You have to keep crossing the stream. It’s still gorgeous and it kinda looks like you’re somewhere exotic in spots. If you look up about halfway through, you can see people doing the terrordactal ride at Cave of the Winds. The waterfall at the end is so worth it! You kinda have to bush whack to get to it now. But definitely take a dip. Also, you can drive down to park there anymore. You have to park a street up.

9 months ago

Only did about 2 miles but loved it.. will be back to do the whole thing!!

11 months ago

This is easy and walking distance from downtown Manitou. The waterfall at the end is gorgeous and you can climb up above it.

11 months ago

The trail was beautiful. It was like hiking through old canyon ruins. We saw about 4 other people who were hiking the trail as well on Labor Day. Once you get past the first waterfall the trail becomes even more overrun with weeds and overgrowth. Because it is a closed trail- come prepared. Wear pants and waterproof hiking boots. There are lots of sharp rocks and weeds you will have to crawl through. It was well worth it though!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

We only went to the first waterfall and it was a awesome trail.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The trail is listed as closed but still as accessible as always. My go-to hike near Colorado Springs

Sunday, May 07, 2017

I'm still waiting for this trail to open up? What's the delay? I lived in SoCal for many years and Wild Fires are second nature there. Grow back normally takes a few years and nature know how to regenerate. The trails just south of the Mt Blodgett trailhead are open and Waldo fire did a number on them 5 years ago. I just hiked it a few days ago and found it interesting how Nature heals itself. Please open it up

Monday, May 01, 2017

This has been closed by the National Forest Service. It is prone to extreme flash flooding and is very dangerous. Cave of the Winds no longer allows hiking on this trail nor do they issue any permits for hiking.

It has been closed since the Waldo Canyon fire back in 2012, and everyone who has been hiking on it since has been trespassing.

It is a beautiful trail, and they hope to re-open it someday, but it has been closed for a reason. We should respect trail closures and the decisions of the forest service.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

It was gorgeous under a blanket of snow.

Friday, April 14, 2017

So what is the deal with this trail? My hiking partner wouldn't go past the "Do not enter, no hiking allowed" sign. One site said to get a pass from Cave of the Winds. Called them and said since the fire/flood they're not giving out passes. So is everyone disregarding the sign or is the person I talked to wrong?

Monday, April 10, 2017

How to find the trail: park in the neighborhood before the road that says residents only. Walk up that road until it turns to dirt. Follow the creek bed past the Cave of the Winds Exit sign. Follow the creek bed on the left until you see the waterfall. Then go right up the hill to the top of the waterfall. Or continue in the creek bed until you reach the waterfall.

The trail itself is beautiful, and the waterfall very nice. We found it shocking how few people we saw. Though that was appreciated.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

One of my favorite

Friday, March 17, 2017

If you are looking for an extremely peaceful hike this is for you. Has extremely beautiful waterfalls and creeks. It is a canyon so you will be surrounded by rock on both sides the entire way. It is somewhat confusing at the start as it come to beginning the hike. You enter through The Cave of the Winds exit. Just use the map on the app and you will find it. Did not encounter a single person in 4 hours.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Probably got about 2 miles in before I had to return to start point, due to approaching sunset. Lovely hike in any event. Was a windy January winter day but sunny with lingering snow and icy patches on trail. The canyon trail is remarkable for the cliffs that flank either side of the creek, rising upwards of 150 ft or more. Hiking the trail is to engage an open geological text with its variegated uplifts of sedimentary rock oven many millennia. While water flow was not extensive, a couple of small waterfalls were still making their presence known. While the canyon begins very narrow (15 ft in places), the deeper you go in, the wider it gets, up to 500 meters or so near the second waypoint (waterfall).
Like other reviewers, I encountered difficulties at times finding the trail's trace on the ground. A hint: about 100 meters before reaching the first waterfall, the trail leaves the creek bed on the right and moves up the side of the gorge. The reason for this becomes obvious if you otherwise come to the waterfall via the stream bed. The trail on the right is the way to go as it gets you up and over the rocks which pinch in your passage thru the falls, especially when it's covered in ice. Notably as the canyon widens, you start to encounter mature coniferous trees: fir, cedar, bristlecone pine all happy to make their home on the canyon'a floor. Very pretty.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Yesterday I hiked this trail for the first time since before the flood. It's really beaten up, but still really beautiful. Technically, you have to have a permit to park near the trail head. I did though and I didn't get a ticket. If you go up about a mile there's a sharp turn in the trail and a trespassing sign. The trail actually continues behind that sign, and that's where you can find the waterfall. I highly recommend it, especially if you're a local. Lots of history up there. I only encountered two people up there, and dogs can be left off the leash. Be prepared though, because of the damage you have to climb in a few spots. Also, I found mountain lion tracks, so be aware of that. I will definitely hike this again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Views are very secluded and stunning, pikes peak and surrounding canyon walls can be seen. Trail is hard to follow though in some parts

Monday, November 14, 2016

The descriptions of the trail from AllTrails is pretty much spot on. With navigation cues based on terrain change. The waterfalls were flowing but the water level was extremely low due to the time of year. We made it to Rampart Road but instead of turning around we followed Rampart NE to another trail that cut the trail in half. The decent was pretty steep but there was a trail that looked heavily trafficked by goats and people. All around great views! Be sure to bring lunch and take in the scenery atop on Rampart Rd.

Friday, September 23, 2016

To access the trail, park on Canon Street legally and walk up the road. There is no parking at the "trailhead" or under the overpass. If you pass a unique looking stone house on the right, you have driven too far to park. The entrance to the trail is the Cave of the Winds exit. You have to hike up the canyon a little while before you reach the dirt path, which is in the left. Eventually the path crosses the stream and continues on the right. Follow the trail all the way up. It dead ends at the top of a waterfall and offers a nice view of the canyon. The only downsides of this hike are the pieces of metal trash along the way and the building that is going on above the canyon. This is a quiet place to hike and you will be far away from the mob of people in the popular trails.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Great hike, but three weeks later my legs are still itching from something... Look out for poison ivy, oak, sumac, who knows. It's been bad. Anyway, the canyon is the best part. The hike up the hill at the end doesn't give much of a view but it's still worth doing for a change of terrain and to escape the canyon for a minute.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Awesome hike. DO NOT go if there is rain in the forecast. It is the poster child for flash flood and search and rescue

Monday, September 12, 2016

Awesome hike. Maybe a little more than moderate just because of the technical parts. It is not off limits, sign a waiver at the Cave of the Winds. DO NOT park at the trailhead. $100 parking ticket today. My own fault though. And 100% DO NOT hike this canyon if there is rain in the forecast. This canyon is a perfect picture of flash flooding danger

Friday, February 26, 2016

The best trail

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The track is closed. According to the signs hiking is not alloved. At a restaurant they said it's because of a fire last year. We turned around and went back.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

This trailhead is easy to find, just head north on canyon avenue, find signs for flash flood warnings and walk down the one way street. Once you come to the end of it there will be old signs for cave of the winds. Follow those signs and you'll be on your way. We followed a dry creek bed for most of the way because the trail isn't well marked or easy to follow. It's probably closer to 6 miles total and takes longer than most 6 mile hikes because of the poor trail.

Overall, beautiful scenes and a couple of waterfalls along the way.

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