Baby and I went hiking this morning with our friends Tammy and Aysha (and Aysha's 4 month old baby) at Fox Run Regional Park near the Monument/Black Forest area. This park is a short drive from Colorado Springs; just head North on I-25, turn East on Baptist Rd., then South on Roller Coaster Road after 4 miles. The trailhead is easy to find on the right side of the street after about 0.2 miles.
A beautiful sunny Colorado day
One of my goals with this blog was to provide pictures and descriptions of family-friendly hikes within 45 minutes of Colorado Springs. I have had a difficult time finding that kind of information anywhere other than the Gazette's website (which doesn't have any pictures), so if you know of any other local hiking blogs, please send me a link! In fact, when I googled (actually swagbuck-ed) "Colorado Springs hiking blog", it said "did you mean: Colorado Springs hiking blong?". Wow. I just really like to see pictures of a trail before making the drive so I figure that other people would too. That being said, I usually forget that I brought a camera until that last quarter mile or so, which explains my lack of hiking posts so far!
Baby is getting heavier every day, so we chose a pretty easy trail. The Red Fox Loop at Fox Run Regional Park is only 3-5 miles long with very little elevation gain (about 200 feet) and plenty of shade. That's why they call it Black Forest, I suppose! Tammy pointed out that the dried sap from these ponderosa pine trees can be chewed like gum, but I wasn't brave enough to try it. If you follow the Gazette's directions, you will be taking the full 5 mile loop around the perimeter of the Fallen Timbers Wilderness Area. Unfortunately, we missed the right turn at 0.75 miles and ended up taking a short cut through the center of the park, making the walk about 3 miles.
The gazebo on Aspen lake.
The highlight of the hike? The Gazette doesn't even mention the beautiful, well-maintained lakes right smack-dab in the middle of the park! Children were wading in the upper one, Spruce Lake, and dogs catching frisbees in the lower one, Aspen Lake (Baby used her only word, "doggy", very cute). The ponds were full of fat goldfish and white ducks, and Aysha noticed a turtle. A beautiful gazebo extends into Aspen Lake, and there is even an amphitheatre with 4 or 5 rows of seating cut into the hill nearby that could probably hold about 100 people. There is a parking lot here, so you could easily drive in for a picnic if you didn't feel like hiking.
The amphitheatre between the two lakes.
Scattered throughout the park are signs describing local flora and fauna, including a variety of mushrooms. The Gazette describes this trail as a favorite of cross-country skiers in wintertime, but I would definitely recommend it as an escape on the hottest summer days. The entire hike is in the shade of the ponderosa pine, and then you are rewarded with a quick dip in the pond; although the signs said "no swimming", I'm sure you wouldn't get arrested for cooling your feet in the water.
Babymodeling her birthday sunglasses for probably the last time. She refused to wear them hiking today.