Terrific Hiking in Pueblo Mountain Park
Pueblo Mountain Park is an ideal place to get close to Nature, and hiking the park’s six miles of trails is a great way to experience these wonders of Nature. There are numerous options for short or longer hikes. Two of the park’s trials connect with San Isabel National Forest trails just to the west of the park, opening up many more miles of trails in a 17,000-acre National Forest road less area. The trails are great for hiking most of the year (note that some sections can be icy during the cold months), and when the snows arrive, they are ideal for snowshoe hikes.
Devil’s Canyon Trail
Probably the park’s most popular trail, and also its shadiest, ideal for those hot summer days. It’s about a half mile from the trail head to the canyon. Along the way through a forest dominated by white and Douglas firs (some of them are enormous), you’ll hear western tanagers in late spring and summer and you may spy a few columbines. The area is good habitat for peregrine falcons (which are occasionally seen in the area) and the rare Mexican spotted owl (none have been documented, but you never know). You can scramble up the rock along the trickle of water (lots more than a trickle during spring runoff) and hook up with either the Mace Trail or the Northridge Trail for a longer loop hike.
Starting at the same trailhead as the Devil’s Canyon Trail, this longest of the park’s trails works its way up towards the park’s western boundary. The trail wanders through several different ecosystems: ponderosa pine (whose bark smells like vanilla), Douglas and white fir (offering some nice shade), and mountain shrub lands, which is more open and sunny with lots of spring wildflowers. It hooks up with the Devil’s Canyon Trail, where you can scoot down the canyon or head up to the Mace Trail for a longer loop. Or you can take the connecting trail that leaves the park to the west and winds up at the Squirrel Creek Trail in the National Forest.
The trailhead for this popular trail is located just a few feet south of the Devil’s Canyon / Northridge trailhead. Starting out on an open ponderosa pine forest, it winds through some open shrub lands offering some diverse terrain. Three quarters of a mile up the trail is the turnoff for Lookout Point, a perfect place to rest and relax with a great view of Devil’s Canyon, the dark forests to the west and south of the park, and the town of Beulah to the north. If you continue south on the Mace Trail, you can hook up with the Devil’s Canyon Trail or continue up and meet up with the Tower Trail – both options make for some nice loop hikes, or you can turn around and head back the way you came, as it’s a delightful hike down the Mace Trail.
This trailhead is at the southern end of the park’s high road. It’s about a mile up the trail through diverse ecosystems to the park’s high point of 7400’, where the historic “Fire Tower” is located, built in the 1930s by WPA crews. The wooden tower was never officially used as a fire lookout, but it offers great views of the park, the city of Pueblo, Pikes Peak, and you can get a glimpse of the scar left by the 2005 Mason Gulch Fire a few miles north of the park. Lots of options are available to the hiker on the Tower Trail – loop with the Mace Trail for a lovely loop hike (you will need to walk the high road back to your car at the Tower trailhead, a pleasant walk itself); take the Ranger Trail down to the historic Camp Burch and the South Creek Trail in the San Isabel National Forest; or head back the way you came and see the trail from the other direction – almost like walking a new trail.