Mueller State Park Offers Great Hiking in the Pikes Peak Region
Mueller State Park is well known for its beauty and spectacular views. Perhaps not so well known are the variety of well-maintained, gorgeous trails it offers. Mueller offers some of the best hiking in the Pikes Peak Region.
Located just 45 minutes from Colorado Springs on the west side of Pikes Peak, Mueller State Park has 55 miles of hiking trails within its 5,000-plus acres. Some trails wander through gentle rolling hills of aspen groves and meadows. These allow hikers to leisurely stroll among the wildflowers and wildlife. Other trails challenge the avid hiker with steep inclines and rugged terrain. The Aspen Trail, for example, with its six roller-coaster hills, is meant to be a challenge for even the experienced hiker.
The park elevation ranges from about 9,000 feet to 9,843 feet on top of Grouse Mountain, the highest point in the park. The developed area of the park is located along the top of Revenuer’s Ridge. All but two trails start from the ridge top and go down into the backcountry. Remember, what goes down, must come up!
Fabulous scenic views can be seen in several areas of the park. The west side of Pike’s Peak dominates the landscape to the east and often takes up the whole panorama. To the south and west, you can see the Collegiate Peaks, Sangre de Cristo Range and the Continental Divide. The best spots to catch these sights are the visitor center, Grouse Mountain and Outlook Ridge Trail, which has three overlooks to the southwest.
The rich flora and fauna here can be partly attributed to the history of the park. Many years ago, the land was a series of cattle ranches and homesteads. These ranches were collected by the Mueller family, and then protected and saved until the time when they could pass it on to the state of Colorado to be managed for wildlife habitat and recreation – for the enjoyment of visitors. Elk, deer, bear and turkey are just a few of the animals that make their home in the park. Likewise, wildflowers put on a parade all summer in the lush meadows and cool forests.
Some trails are wide enough for a car because they were originally ranch roads. These trails are great for groups or families as well as horseback riders. Some narrow trails that wind through the canyons and rock formations allow only hikers on foot. Of the 55 miles of trails in Mueller, 27 miles allow horses and 19 miles allow mountain biking. All the trails are maintained by a hearty group of volunteers. These folks dedicate their time and energy into keeping Mueller State Park beautiful and safe.
All hikers should pick up a trail map before venturing out into the backcountry. We strongly recommend everyone hike with water, snacks and a rain jacket for those frequent afternoon showers. Dogs are not allowed on the trails.
Many hikers in the Pike’s Peak region miss hiking in the Waldo Canyon area. Since the wildfire in 2012, the trails have been closed indefinitely. As an alternative, we invite you to take a short drive further west and try out the trails at Mueller.
The only cost is a park pass required for each vehicle to enter the park; a $7 day pass or $70 annual park pass. For more information, call Mueller at (719)-687-2366.
Story written by Linda Groat. Groat is the program coordinator at Mueller State Park.