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On Walkabout At: Ute Valley Park In Colorado Springs

Basic Information

  • Name: Ute Valley Park
  • Max Elevation: 6,612 feet
  • Where: Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Time: 1 hours
  • Elevation Gain:  150 feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • More Information: City of Colorado Springs

Topographic Map of the Ute Valley Park Hike

Ute Valley Park Map

If you would like to print out this map please click this link and then save the image file to your computer and print.

Narrative

It has been a year since the Waldo Canyon Fire struck Colorado Springs in June 2012.  This was a very traumatic fire for the community considering it was deliberately started, killed two people, burned over 500 homes, and forced thousands of people to become refugees for nearly a month.  The authorities still have not caught the arsonist or arsonists who started the fire.  Anyway I decided to go and take some pictures of the Rampart Range that was burned by the fire a year ago to see how it is recovering.  The place I decided to go was Ute Valley Park near the burn scar:


View Larger Map

The park is pretty easy to get to by exiting I-25 on to the Garden of the Gods road.  Then take a right on Centennial Boulevard and then finally a right on Mule Deer Drive.  On Mule Deer Drive look for Pinon Valley Park and then park your vehicle there.  From this park there is a dirt path that leads into Ute Valley Park:

Picture from Ute Valley Park

The day I went for a walk in the park there had been some rain the hour prior and it was still cloudy out so I decided that this would be a short walk instead of trying to circle around the park.  Probably the most noticeable thing about the park is the amount of sandstone rock formations that can be seen along its various trails:

Picture from Ute Valley Park

I planned to hike to the top of the largest sandstone rock in order to take pictures of the burn scar.  Here is the view from the top of the hill that the dirt path led to:

Picture from Ute Valley Park

The view showed a good portion of the park that features many trees, meadows, and rocks that make this place very popular with mountain bike riders.  From the top of the hill I took a left and headed north on a trail that hugged the side of this canyon:

Picture from Ute Valley Park

I began to gain a bit in elevation again and had a nice view looking towards the southeast where Austin Bluffs and Palmer Park could be seen in the far distance:

Picture from Ute Valley Park

From there I then proceeded to hike up the side of a large rock formation known as a hogsback in Colorado:

Picture from Ute Valley Park

I climbed up on to the hogsback to get a better view of the area:

Picture from Ute Valley Park

From the hogsback I had a nice view looking across Ute Valley Park to the east:

Picture from Ute Valley Park

I also had a great view of the neighborhoods to the west which were all evacuated during the Waldo Canyon Fire last year:

Picture from Ute Valley Park

Here is the view I had of these neighborhoods starting from the far south where Cheyenne Mountain and even Mt. Rosa could be seen in the distance:

Picture from Ute Valley Park

Here is the view towards the west where Pikes Peak can be seen rising just above the burn scar:

Picture from Ute Valley Park

Here is the view looking directly west at the burn scar:

Picture from Ute Valley Park

Here is the view looking slightly northwest right at a quarry that has long been an eyesore in the area, but actually was instrumental in being a fire break that protected a number of homes from being burned down:

Picture from Ute Valley Park

Here is the view looking northwest where Blodgett Peak can be seen which is about as far as the fire extended to the north:

Picture from Ute Valley Park

Here is a panorama photo from the hog’s back that shows the extent of the Waldo Canyon Fire:

Picture from Ute Valley Park

After spending about 15 minutes taking in the views from the top of the hogsback, I then proceeded to walk a mile back down the way I came to the parking lot.  Along the way the rain clouds had passed over and I had a stunning view of Pikes Peak to end the day with:

Picture from Ute Valley Park

Conclusion

This was a nice hour long stroll in the park that I was thankful that I did not get rained on during the walk.  From the viewpoint it was quite evident that it is going to take a long time for the vegetation at the burn scar to regenerate itself.  However, pockets of green growing on the mountains was easy to spot.  So things are already regrowing, but usually it takes 20 years for mountains to recover from a major fire like this.  I found that Ute Valley Park is a nice place to go and visit and see this regeneration first hand.

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