By Audrey Andrews | September 8th, 2020
Pike National Forest, Colorado
Out & Back:
331 feet elevation gain
Rampart Reservoir is located in the Pike National Forest above Colorado Springs. Garden of the Gods connects to the twisting and steep Rampart Range Road, which crawls from about 6,000 to over 9,000 feet with amazing views of Pikes Peak. Although I’ve seen Toyota Camrys on this route, I suggest having four-wheel drive considering the unpredictable mountain weather. I will likely run Rampart Range Road in the future and write a separate piece with pictures for the route.
Off of Rampart Range Road is Rampart Reservoir. People may drive directly up to Rampart Reservoir; those towing boats, paddle boards and/ or kayaks choose this route. For those looking for a quick, beautiful hike, I suggest taking the trail.
The entire route is wide and well maintained. I saw many young children on the trail, indicating this is a family-favorite of Colorado Springs. The walk to the reservoir is almost completely at a decline, meaning the way back is a slight incline. The reservoir is less than two miles from the trailhead, and with only 300 feet of elevation gain, this makes it a relatively easy hike in the Rockies.
The latter portion of the hike straddles a stream, where anglers become common. Of course, even more sit at the lake. The hike can be extended to circumnavigate the reservoir, but you must walk along the dam for a bit. We chose to turn around two miles from the trailhead- the reservoir seemed a bit crowded on the other side near the parking lot, and we prefer to stay near the hikers.
Rampart Road and Rampart Reservoir make for a wonderful day outing from Colorado Springs. After the hike, head into Woodland Springs for lunch, but note it gets quite crowded on weekends. This route sits at above 9,000 feet, so be sure to pay attention to the weather and bring sunscreen.