Finding a place to park has been the hardest part of hiking up Austin Bluffs. The trail starts on the UCCS campus and all parking requires a student/faculty permit. Most hikers have parked in the residential neighborhoods across from the main campus. This route both solves the parking issue and gets you a much more scenic and aesthetic hike at the same time.
Western Panorama from Austin Bluffs
From Interstate-25 take the Garden of the Gods exit 146. Drive east 0.7 miles to North Nevada Ave and take a left at the stop light. Continue on North Nevada for 0.4 miles and make a right at Eagle Rock Rd into the Four Diamonds parking lot; this is a remote lot for students and visitors which does not require a permit. The trail starts behind the building at the SE corner of lot #14, which is the southernmost lot on the right side of Eagle Rock Rd. You can also park at the mall across the street (opposite side of North Nevada).
From the trailhead described above hike less than half a mile through a wooded section to a jeep road that heads east. About another mile will take you to Stanton Road. Go right (south) here to reach the UCCS dormitories which will be in front of you. The marked "Sherpa Trail" which connects the dorms to the main campus starts behind the "Shavano House" dorm. This crosses the west ridge of Austin Bluffs on your left. Follow the washed out trail up the ridge another 5 minutes to the top of Austin Bluffs.
Austin Bluffs with UCCS dorms at base
Rutted trail up West Ridge
Water and anything else you would normally bring on short hikes.
"Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality the cost becomes prohibitive."
--William F. Buckley Jr.