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.


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Author: 9steffl
Date: 19 Apr 2009 9:36:59 PM
Activity: Hiking
State: Colorado (CO)
Distance: Unknown  (Change units)
Difficulty: 4 / 10
Tags: Colorado, Stanley Canyon and Reservoir, Woodland Park
Rating:   1 rating(s) Rate it

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.

Position Format: Datum:

Points of Interest

Stanley Canyon1.JPG

Location: 38.988435, -104.894264
Starting up the trail.

Stanley Canyon2.JPG

Location: 38.988335, -104.895315
This'll let you know you're going the right way.

Stanley Canyon3.JPG

Location: 38.988219, -104.895830
The trail narrows as you get higher.

Stanley Canyon4.JPG

Location: 38.989119, -104.898748
Looking up at a neat rock formation towards the beginning of the trail.

Stanley Canyon5.JPG

Location: 38.988152, -104.900529
Views back onto the plains.

Stanley Canyon6.JPG

Location: 38.987902, -104.901323
This picture goes with the next to try and show just how much of a panorama of the plains you have.

Stanley Canyon7.JPG

Location: 38.987852, -104.901538
Just imagine picture picture six and seven together.

Stanley Canyon8.JPG

Location: 38.988068, -104.905422
An awesome little cave that has formed into the side of the trail/canyon.

Stanley Canyon10.JPG

Location: 38.987401, -104.906344
Looking back, the trail follows alongside the boulders on the left.

Stanley Canyon11.JPG

Location: 38.987351, -104.908147
A view of the snow covered stream.

Stanley Canyon12.JPG

Location: 38.988002, -104.909499
Another shot of the stream which was moving quite rapidly.

Stanley Canyon13.JPG

Location: 38.988435, -104.910400
A view of the snow covered trail.

Stanley Canyon16.JPG

Location: 38.989319, -104.911473
Looking back at some of the rock formations that form the canyon.

Stanley Canyon17.JPG

Location: 38.989152, -104.912374
Another great view of the canyon while looking back.

Stanley Canyon18.JPG

Location: 38.988786, -104.913039
Amazing!

Stanley Canyon19.JPG

Location: 38.988652, -104.913597
This was probably my favorite view of the day. This is right after you leave the top of the canyon.

Stanley Canyon20.JPG

Location: 38.988535, -104.914541
A great shot of some snow covered stones in the stream.

Stanley Canyon21.JPG

Location: 38.990503, -104.915915
Once you get through the canyon things start to open up.

Stanley Canyon22.JPG

Location: 38.990704, -104.917460
The trail going straight throught a narrow gap in the pines.

Stanley Canyon23.JPG

Location: 38.991004, -104.918361
Continuing on the trail, or at least what I thought was the trail, in what was becoming some really deep snow.

Stanley Canyon24.JPG

Location: 38.991304, -104.919949
One more view at the snow covered trail, the pine trees looked really neat with all that snow on them.

Stanley Canyon25.JPG

Location: 38.991504, -104.925141
Things really open up towards the end and you can see the dam in this picture.

Stanley Canyon26.JPG

Location: 38.991237, -104.926558
That was about average snow depth the last half mile.

Stanley Canyon27.JPG

Location: 38.989636, -104.928789
My first views of the still somewhat frozen, but beautiful, Stanley Reservoir.

Stanley Canyon28.JPG

Location: 38.990437, -104.929090
Looking back at towards the Canyon from on top of the dam.

Stanley Canyon29.JPG

Location: 38.989336, -104.929476
Another nice view of the reservoir.

Stanley Canyon30.JPG

Location: 38.989036, -104.930463
Whew that water looks cold!

Stanley Canyon31.JPG

Location: 38.989670, -104.930763
You can really see an awesome reflection off of the lake in this picture.

Stanley Canyon32.JPG

Location: 38.989870, -104.931665
A shot of the reservoir looking back at the dam.

Stanley Canyon33.JPG

Location: 38.990237, -104.932222
A nice look at the reservoir again.

Stanley Canyon34.JPG

Location: 38.990837, -104.929647
Getting myself into some pictures

Stanley Canyon35.JPG

Location: 38.990837, -104.930205
Another picture of ME! what a great day.

Stanley Canyon36.JPG

Location: 38.991004, -104.930935
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.

Stanley Canyon37.JPG

Location: 38.990503, -104.927330
One last picture of me on the reservoir getting ready to head back down.

Stanley Canyon38.JPG

Location: 38.989036, -104.915357
A neat ice formation I saw on my way back down.

Stanley Canyon39.JPG

Location: 38.990036, -104.915786
One last view of the waterfalls on my way down.


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