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Stanley Canyon and Stanley Reservoir Trail
A great day trip located in Northern Colorado Springs. This hike starts at the Air Force Academy and quickly winds up the mountain, following a beautiful stream, through the canyon, and ending at the reservoir with great scenery the entire time.
It was another spring hike in Colorado, which can essentially mean only one thing; snow, and plenty of it.
Start out by leaving the trailhead and taking a small path to the actual trail itself. The trail initially starts out as a road, but quickly turns into a fairly well maintained narrow path shooting pretty straight up the mountain side.
The first mile or so is pretty steep and could get your lungs working overtime if you're not in decent shape or used to the elevation.
The trail itself follows the stream (unsure of name) almost the entire way, at the beginning you can only hear it, but after about one half mile or so, you start to walk beside the stream and it's many miniature waterfalls which provide some amazing scenery.
As you continue up the trail, make sure to look back frequently as there are some great panoramic views of the plains, and then a little higher up, absolutely amazing views of the canyon rocks themselves.
As you get towards the top of the canyon, there are a couple small areas which require some mild scrambling which was made more difficult due to the snow and slippery conditions, but on a dry day im sure that most could make it over with little difficulty.
Once you reach the top of the canyon, things start to level out and the trail is relatively flat. You'll walk through some pristine pine forests, as well as some beautiful, open fields. After a short while, you should be able to see the dam that forms Stanley Reservoir.
Once you're at the reservoir, take time to sit and enjoy the surroundings. The reservoir makes for some great photo's as the reflection of the surrounding trees and hills was almost like a mirror on the water, and the one other person at the reservoir had already bagged himself four beautiful rainbow trout! Too bad I hadn't brought my fishing gear!
TO TRAILHEAD: Take the south gate entrance of the air force academy. Turn left onto pine drive. go almost 4 miles, then turn left onto a dirt road right before the medical center. Follow the dirt road about .7 miles to the trailhead.
Points of Interest
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Starting up the trail.
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This'll let you know you're going the right way.
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The trail narrows as you get higher.
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Looking up at a neat rock formation towards the beginning of the trail.
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Views back onto the plains.
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This picture goes with the next to try and show just how much of a panorama of the plains you have.
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Just imagine picture picture six and seven together.
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An awesome little cave that has formed into the side of the trail/canyon.
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Looking back, the trail follows alongside the boulders on the left.
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A view of the snow covered stream.
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Another shot of the stream which was moving quite rapidly.
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A view of the snow covered trail.
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Looking back at some of the rock formations that form the canyon.
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Another great view of the canyon while looking back.
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This was probably my favorite view of the day. This is right after you leave the top of the canyon.
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A great shot of some snow covered stones in the stream.
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Once you get through the canyon things start to open up.
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The trail going straight throught a narrow gap in the pines.
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Continuing on the trail, or at least what I thought was the trail, in what was becoming some really deep snow.
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One more view at the snow covered trail, the pine trees looked really neat with all that snow on them.
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Things really open up towards the end and you can see the dam in this picture.
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That was about average snow depth the last half mile.
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My first views of the still somewhat frozen, but beautiful, Stanley Reservoir.
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Looking back at towards the Canyon from on top of the dam.
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Another nice view of the reservoir.
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Whew that water looks cold!
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You can really see an awesome reflection off of the lake in this picture.
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A shot of the reservoir looking back at the dam.
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A nice look at the reservoir again.
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Getting myself into some pictures
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Another picture of ME! what a great day.
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A really great picture of 4 rainbow trout that the only other guy at the reservoir had caught. I wished that I hadn't been lazy and hiked my gear in after seeing those beauties.
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One last picture of me on the reservoir getting ready to head back down.
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A neat ice formation I saw on my way back down.
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One last view of the waterfalls on my way down.
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