Section 16 Loop

By Audrey Andrews | November 8th, 2020

Colorado Springs, Colorado

5.7 miles
1,224 feet elevation gain

The Section 16 loop is a popular hike on the outskirts of Colorado Springs. It’s notoriety has earned it a Fastest Known Time route and it is quite popular with locals during afternoons and on weekends.

If completed counter-clockwise, the first two miles are steadily uphill and relatively steep. Almost the entire 1,200 feet of climb are completed upfront, which I much prefer to rolling hills. The first part of the hike is in Red Rock Canyon Open Space and quickly renders superb views of Garden of the Gods.

The trail gives way to pine trees and continues to push upwards. About two miles into the hike, sweeping views of the mountains and southern Colorado Springs stun. From this point, the trail veers right and rolls for about half mile.

The final three miles of the trail are immensely fun. Depending on where your car or bike was left, the trail may be completely downhill from here. At most, there will be a slight uphill at the finish to complete the route.

The latter portion of the Section 16 loop is perfect for single-track trail running. Winding downhill slowly, the path offers the scent of fresh pine as it wanders towards High Drive.

The final 3/4 of a mile are on High Drive. During popular hours, this area is heavily trafficked, but the dirt road is plenty wide to accommodate all recreationists, even when required to remain at least six feet apart.

The Section 16 loop is a wonderful example of why I, and many others, appreciate Colorado Springs. Somehow, such a wonderful hike can be completed without leaving the city to reach the trailhead. If you have time to complete one hike while in the area, I’d suggest the Section 16 loop- counter-clockwise.

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