Popes Bluffs lies in the Ute Valley Park in Colorado Springs, nestled against the foothills of the Rampart Range. This is a very popular area for hikers, mountain bikers and local residents out on walks. The summit offers views of both the city of Colorado Springs as well as the Rampart Range. The damage and burn scars created by the Waldo Canyon wildfire in 2012 are very evident from this vantage point. The parking lot fills fast so plan on an early or very late start.
Popes Bluffs looking from North to South Summit
From either North or South along Interstate-25 take the Woodmen Road exit #149. Travel west on Woodmen for 0.4 miles. Woodmen makes a sharp right here; continue straight on Rockrimmon Blvd. After 0.3 miles make a right onto Vindicator Dr. After 0.6 miles, the Ute Valley Park trailhead and parking lot will be to your right.
A maintained trail heads westward from the parking area toward the ridge but veers off bypassing the bluffs. A number of very obvious social trails will take you up to the ridge crest between the Northern and Southern high points of the Popes Bluffs ridge. A rough trail, just below the ridge crest, connects the two summits, keeping this as a class 1 or easy class 2 hike. Staying on the small sandstone rock outcrops and boulders along the crest makes this an easy class 3 scramble with some minimal exposure. Per GPS readings, the north summit was 6747' and the south summit was 6730'.
Popes Bluffs is entirely within the Ute Valley Park. Please respect private property and do not access from the residential area on the western side. The approach is only a few minutes longer from the main parking area from the east on Vindicator Road.
When to Climb
This hike can be done year round.
"At either end of the social spectrum lies a leisure class."