Subscribe!Get all the best of On Walkabout by subscribing.

On Walkabout On: The Dome View Trail, Colorado

Basic Information

  • Name: Dome View Trail
  • Where: Dome Rock State Wildlife Area, Colorado
  • Max Elevation: 9,732 feet
  • Distance: 10.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2,288 feet
  • Time: 4-6 hours round-trip
  • Difficulty: EasyModerateHardDifficult
  • More Information: Colorado Parks & Wildlife

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

Topographic Map of the Route

Dome Rock Elevation Map

Elevation Map of the Route

Dome Rock Elevation Map

Narrative

Last year when it came time to spend a day checking out the changing colors of the aspen leaves I decided to make a visit to Mueller State Park.  This year when it came time to check out the changing aspen leaves I decided to hike into Dome Rock State Wildlife Area instead.  This wildlife area is located adjacent to Mueller State Park and has a number of unusual rock formations to include its namesake, Dome Rock.  The wildlife area is easily accessed by driving south on Highway 67 towards Cripple Creek and then making a right onto County Road 61 which is located a short distance passed Mueller State Park:

In the early morning darkness I actually drove past the entrance to the wildlife area so I had to turn around to find it.  Once inside the wildlife area I found myself as the only vehicle in a huge parking lot. Here is a picture from later in the day of the lot:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

I parked off to the side which ended up being a good decision because by the time I got back the parking area was a madhouse especially because of all the horse trailers parked everywhere.  My plan was to first hike up the Dome View Trail and then if I had the energy to hike up Dome Rock itself.  See this link for a map of the park.  The day prior I had returned from a week long trip to Seattle which caused me to lose my acclimation to the high altitudes of Colorado by spending that much time at sea level.  When I got back I immediately went for a run and could feel the difference.  I was hoping this hike would help speed up the re-acclimation of body.  I started out down the Willow Creek Trail at 6:00 AM which is trail that leads to the Dome View Trail.  As I walked down the trail it was pitch dark out since there was no Moon in the sky.  So I used a headlamp initially, but by 6:30 AM the sun began to rise to where I no longer needed the extra light:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

As the trail began to gain elevation I could for the first time see the 12,527 foot Sentinel Point rising to the East:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

I did a snow climb up Sentinel Point earlier in the year that you can read about at the below link:

The autumn scenery only got better as the sun provided more light to admire the surrounding aspen trees:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

I eventually came to an intersection where I thought a left would keep me on the Dome View Trail:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

It ended up being the wrong turn and after a short distance I found myself at a gate that lead outside of the State Wildlife Area:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

The Park & Wildlife personnel responsible for the park really should put a sign up here to keep people on the correct trail.  Anyway I back tracked and took the correct trail.  The trail once again gained elevation to where I had another view of the sun rising behind Sentinel Point:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

I was also once again engulfed in colorful aspens:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

This deer was the first sign of life I saw all morning:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

I actually ended up spotting a lot of deer during the course of my hike, but this ended up being the only deer I could get a picture of because of how quickly they kept running away.  As I continued up the trail I soon spotted Mt. Pisgah that rises over the old gold mining town of Cripple Creek to the south:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

Even further out in the distance I could see the mighty Sangre de Cristo Range rising over the Wet Valley:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

I soon came to another trail intersection with this one being properly labeled:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

I stayed on the main Willow Creek Trail that leads to the intersection with Dome View Trail.  Taking a right here would have put me on Sand Creek Trail which leads back to the start of the hike.  As I continued up Willow Creek Trail I had another good view of Mt. Pisgah:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

I then came to a meadow where I saw this sign posted which announced the start of the section of the park that is restricted to hikers from November 30th – July 16th every year due to Dome Rock being a bighorn sheep lambing area:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

This is also where the Willow Creek Trail becomes the Spring Creek Trail:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

At the start of this trail I descended from the meadow down into a beautiful grove of aspen trees:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

The sun was even higher in the sky now which meant the leaves had even brighter colors:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

Here is a closer look at one of the aspen trees:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

Once I reached the bottom of the hill I finally reached the intersection with Dome View Trail:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

Staying on Spring Creek Trail would have taken me to Dome Rock, but I wanted to the 3-mile round-trip hike up to the overlook to get some good photos of the area.  After hiking to the overlook; if I had the energy I would hike up Dome Rock as well.  I was a bit surprised though as I headed up Dome View Trail at how little use it receives since it was mostly overgrown with grass:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

The scenery of all the golden aspen trees was outstanding though:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

As I hiked up yet another hill I had a view of this impressive rock formation:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

On top of the hill the trail actually became much more visible and easy to follow as it led to yet another rock formation:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

After I hiked past the big rock adjacent to the trail I then crossed a ridgeline that had a nice view of this rock formation:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

As it would turn out, this rock formation ended up being where the Dome View Trail ended:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

Here is a wider angle view of where the Dome View Trail ends at:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

 

From the viewpoint, to the northwest I could see Dome Rock on the far left as well as some other nearby rock formations:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

 

Here is a closer look at Dome Rock:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

 

Here is a closer look at a smaller dome shaped rock near Dome Rock:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

 

Here is a wider angle view of the view looking towards Dome Rock:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

 

To the south I could see this prominent rock formation as well:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

 

To the east I could see Sentinel Point which was backdropped by Pikes Peak:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

 

To the northeast I could see this rock formation as well:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

I ended up spending about 30-minutes at the viewpoint eating my lunch of granola bars and water and determined I wasn’t up to hiking up Dome Rock on this day due to how tired I was feeling due to the lack acclimatization.  I figured not hiking up Dome Rock on this day gives me an excuse to come back and hike through this beautiful area some other day.  So I set off back down the Dome View Trail to get back to the trailhead.  Since the sun had now fully risen the colors of the aspen trees were absolutely spectacular.  Here is a view of the aspen trees back dropped by Mt. Pisgah:

 

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

Here is a view from a meadow looking towards Sentinel Point:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

I then descended back into the aspen forest where the colors were spectacular:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

Here is another view looking towards Sentinel Point:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

Not all of the trees were yellow, some of them had a tinge of red as well:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

On the way back to the trailhead I happened to notice the unusual rock formations known as the Crags below Pikes Peak:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

 

You can read more about my prior trip to the Crags at the below link:

Here is a picture of a meadow that I crossed surrounded by aspen trees:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

 

On the way back I was passed by a number of horse riders:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

 

I probably saw about 20 people riding horses during my hike.  Here is a couple of more photos of Sentinel Point:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife AreaPicture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

 

I then descended into another aspen forest:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife AreaPicture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

 

I then broke out of the aspen forest and began to cross the final meadow before reaching the trailhead:

Picture from Dome Rock State Wildlife Area

Conclusion

Once I was back at the trailhead the parking area was an absolute mess with cars, trucks, and horse trailers parked all over the place.  I was fortunate I was not blocked in and could get out because I could see other vehicles that were blocked in.  In total I hiked 10.5 miles on a trail that had a surprising 2,288 feet of elevation gain.  I say surprising because there is no big mountain that has to be hiked up along this trail, instead there is a lot of hiking up and down smaller hills that leads to a respectable amount of elevation gain.  Overall this ended up being a great hike due to the spectacular views and the amount of aspen trees that could be seen.  It also ended up being a good hike to help me regain my acclimatization to the high altitudes of Colorado.  For everyone who lives in the Colorado Springs area taking a hike through the Dome Rock State Wildlife area is highly recommended.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *