Welcome to SP!  -
Red Mountain
Mountain/Rock

Red Mountain

 
Red Mountain

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 38.85140°N / 104.9212°W

Object Title: Red Mountain

County: El Paso

Activities: Hiking

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 7375 ft / 2248 m

 

Page By: Sarah Simon

Created/Edited: Jan 24, 2010 / Jan 1, 2011

Object ID: 591817

Hits: 5314 

Page Score: 88.19%  - 26 Votes 

Vote: Log in to vote

 

Overview

 
Summit outcrop
Summit outcrop

One of almost two dozen peaks named “Red Mountain” in the state of Colorado, Red Mountain near Manitou Springs (prounounced MAN-ih-too) is not only the second lowest of these, but also boasts the least prominence (Source: Lists of John). Strangely, the area designated as the summit of Red Mountain is not even the high point of the ridge, but rather the northern-most outcrop on the ridge. Nonetheless, the summit of Red Mountain rewards the hiker with amazing views of the town of Manitou Springs and much of the Colorado Springs metro area as well as unusual view of surrounding mountains. Williams Canyon draws the eye northward while Pikes Peak looms like an alpine beast to the west.

As a bonus for history buffs, the summit area sports the ruins of an early 20th century incline station (the Red Mountain Incline) and dancehall that was a competitor to the more well-known (at least to modern audiences) Manitou Incline. The Manitou Springs area is rich in history. Visit both the Pikes Peak Area Attractions page and the Manitou Incline page for more information about the history of Manitou Springs, including the Red Mountain Incline.

A trip to the summit of Red Mountain would be an excellent arrival-day acclimatizer hike for visitors or a short and sweet half-day trip for locals (leaving enough time to finish errands or to roam around Manitou Springs to shop, enjoy a meal or just stroll).

 
Manitou Avenue in Manitou Springs
Manitou Avenue in Manitou Springs
 
About Iron Spring
About Iron Spring


Colorado Rank: Unranked
Prominence: 21 Feet
USGS Quad: Manitou Springs
Trails Illustrated Map: #137 (Pikes Peak, Cañon City)

Rank and Prominence Source: Lists of John

Getting There & Route Information

 
Iron Spring artwork
Iron Spring artwork
 
Park east of this sign
Park east of this sign


Red Mountain rises southwest immediately outside of the town of Manitou Springs, a companion community just four miles west of Colorado Springs.

Driving Directions
Iron Springs Trailhead (Note that this peak is also accessible via the Pawnee Avenue trailhead to the east)
• Follow CO 24 (“Old Highway 24”) into Manitou Springs.
• At the roundabout, turn left on Ruxton Avenue.
• Continue on Ruxton Avenue for about ½ mile. There are a few places to pick up the Intemann Trail in this area, but the Iron Spring gazebo provides a solid landmark.
• Park along the road wherever you can, obeying No Parking signs to avoid being towed, and proceed to the Iron Spring gazebo (or simply follow signs to the Intemann Trail).



 
Sign post at junction
Sign post at junction
 
Ascending the summit outcrop
Ascending the summit outcrop
To the left (red) is the easy scrambling route; to the right (green) is the gentle walk-up option.

Route Description
• Follow the Intemann Trail eastward along the creek.
• The Intemann Trail will briefly overlap with Spring Street.
• Continue uphill to a ugly, chained gate and Intemann Trail sign. Foot traffic is welcome beyond the gate.
• The trail runs mostly straight to the south-southeast before turning sharply to the northeast.
• At a wide opening you will come to the junction with the Red Mountain spur trail. (Note: Currently the trails in the area are clearly marked. Sadly, sign vandalism is common in the area and the trails may/may not be signed during your visit. Use common sense.)
• The Red Mountain spur trail begins steeply ascending the peak on its western slopes. It begins first in a forest of fir trees, quickly ascending through pine into Mountain Mahogany and bare slopes of Pikes Peak granite dotted with yucca and some prickly pear.
• At a saddle, the summit of Red Mountain will be to your left/north. Note that this “summit” is not actually the high point of the ridge.
• Those wishing to scramble can head directly up a chute to the left of the summit outcrop. Those wanting or needing a walk-up can scoot around the summit bolder to your right.
 
Jim Gilliam memorial
Jim Gilliam memorial
 
Approaching Red Mountain
Approaching Red Mountain

Note: Those who care to obtain a photo of the summit outcrop can ascend the ridge to the south of the Red Mountain summit outcrop. Expect sometimes stiff hand-to-branch combat with Gamble Oak and Mountain Mahogany.

Distance: About 2 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: Less than 1,000 vertical feet


Red Tape

 
Pikes Peak to the west
Pikes Peak to the west
 
Red Mountain and Moon
Red Mountain and Moon

• Most maps suggest that Red Mountain is not accessible due to private property restrictions. Thankfully, the Paul Intemann Trail system provides legal access to the top of this peak.
• Trail signage requests that dogs be kept leashed and picked up after.
• Parking may be extremely limited in the Manitou area during tourist season (summer). Obey No Parking signs or risk being towed.

Northwest beyond summit outcrop
Northwest beyond summit outcrop

Camping & Lodging

 
Iron Mountain, with downtown beyond
Iron Mountain, with downtown beyond
 
Garden of the Gods, Black Forest beyond
Garden of the Gods, Black Forest beyond

Red Mountain is very close to the Colorado Springs Metropolitan Area, and not terribly far from Denver, particularly the southern suburbs. Most visitors to Red Mountain will come for the day then return home. However, below are some lodging details for those visiting from outside the area.

There is no camping on the trails immediately near Red Mountain. Rustic camping in “unofficial” campsites is available throughout the Pike National Forest, along the Rampart Range Road area, right off the main road and spur dirt roads off of it. These campsites are available on a first-come, first served basis and provide no services (they are entirely rustic). Be forewarned that proximity to the urban I-25 corridor means that crowding can be an issue, especially in the summer, and that unsavory characters are known to frequent this area. Be prepared for heavy ATV use, large crowds, drunkenness and casual firearms usage.

The nearest semi-developed US Forest Service campsites would be in the Rampart Reservoir area.

Meadow Ridge Campground:
  • 19 campsites

  • 9,200 feet elevation

  • Season: Generally early May through September

  • $15 per night, per site

  • Amenities include tables, fire grates, drinking water, latrines, and trash collection

Thunder Ridge Campground:
  • 21 campsites

  • 9,200 feet elevation

  • Season: Generally early May through September

  • $15 per night, per site

  • Amenities include tables, fire grates, drinking water, latrines, and trash collection


 
The Manitou Incline
The Manitou Incline

The National Forest Service operates three general-use campgrounds in its Manitou Park Recreation Area. The Manitou Park Recreation Area is located about 5 miles north of Woodland Park along Hwy 67. Below is information about these campgrounds as provided by the Forest Service.

RoadCommentary
South Meadows CampgroundSite has 64 camp sites with parking areas up to 30' long within the 8,000' elevation. Camping season is year round with a user fee of $15.00/per night/per site. The camp-ground has paved roads. Limited sites are reserved by calling 1-877-444-6777. Reservations may be made 240 days prior to arrival and there is a reservation fee. There is also a 2-night minimum stay if your reservation is for Friday or Saturday nights.
Colorado CampgroundSite has 81 campsites with parking areas up to 30' long within the 7800' elevation. Camping season usually begins late May and runs until early September. The user fee is $15.00 per night/per site. This campground has paved roads. Limited site reservations can be made 240 days prior to arrival by calling 1-877-444-6777. There is a reservation fee. There is also a 2-night minimum stay if your reservations are for Friday or Saturday night.
Painted Rocks CampgroundArea has 18 campsites with parking areas up to 30' long within the 7800' elevation. Camping season usually begins in May and runs through early September. A user fee of $13.00 per night/per site is charged. Limited sites are reserved by calling 1-877-444-6777 and can be made 240 days prior to arrival. There is a reservation fee.


HOTELS

A wide variety of hotels, cabins and bed and breakfasts are available in Manitou Springs.

For more information about area accommodations, visit The Historic Manitou Springs Visitor Information page.

Weather & Seasons

Red Mountain is a year-round mountain. In the summer, expect dense crowds in the town of Manitou and fierce competition for parking. In the snow season, the trail can be glazed with ice, steep and treacherous. Traction devices (such as Yak Trax, Stabilicers, MicroSpikes, etc.) are highly recommended.

Zone Forecast for Manitou Springs, CO


Summit outcrop from southern highpoint
Summit outcrop from southern highpoint



Images