This 60-mile long and relatively wide road is graded dirt all the way through and is easy enough for most vehicles, though beware of the washboards. The wooded area of the north end is more of a nice drive through the forest, though there are often more people and there are more wash-boarded areas. The area to the south is smoother these days, but weather conditions and water can change all that quickly.
Rampart Range Road runs ‘officially’ from South to North, and the GPX is tracked that way. It can be run both ways depending on your preference or destination. There are no obstacles along the way, but we have noted places of interest and some of the more complex intersections of roads and trails.
There is a lot of bike and ATV traffic on the northern end of the trail.
There is considerable traffic on this trail at times.
1. Balanced Rock Trailhead
When entering the Garden of the Gods Park from the furthest south entrance, you will come across the famous Balanced Rock. Just beyond that is a well-marked turn-off of the pavement to the left with a gate. This is Rampart Range Road and the road you’re going to take. People tend to take this corner a little too fast when coming off the trail, so use caution at the gate.
On this southern end of the trail, you will notice some areas of burned trees. These areas were part of the 2012 Waldo Canyon Wildfire
that burned 18,000+ acres and included 1500+ firefighters, 70 firetrucks, and air support. The fire caused almost half a billion in damages to homes and businesses, the most to date in Colorado.
2. Private Property Junction - Stay Right
Stay to the right; there’s a small split here. The road to the left is private and usually gated closed, but it can cause some confusion if it is not.
3. Official Trailhead And Posted Notice Board - Follow Left
Follow the curve around to the left. This is the official start of the trail. There are markers there to indicate any special notices for the area. Be sure to roll by and take a look to see if you should be aware of anything, including closures.
4. Official Scenic Overlook
This is a marked parking spot and scenic overlook here. More views of Pike’s Peak only miles away by air from that location. There is a base of what is believed to have been another marker on this trail of its origins. See the next waypoint for more information on these overlooks.
Be aware of animals on the trail here, especially at dusk and nighttime.
5. Scenic Overlook
There’s a place to stop here for a scenic overview of Colorado Springs/Manitou Springs. There is a small area for parking here but be careful where you go. The area is under recovery protection from the 2012 fire and is regrowing. Some of the walking trails have been reopened, but many restrictions remain. The area behind the Jeep pictured overlooks Queens Canyon.
6. Official Scenic Overlook
This is another marked and obvious parking area. There was once a picnic area and some other picnic area-type resources here, but they appear to be long gone now. This area appears slightly maintained but not kept up well. They seem to be allowing the wall and area to deteriorate on their own. Be aware of loose rocks and such while walking around; it is a long fall down the cliffside.
There is a special stone marker here and a plaque to show where the CCC completed the trail in 1933. It’s not in great shape these days but is legible. The views of Pike’s Peak are a little muted at the bottom, but there is a small trail you can walk up for an amazing view of Pikes Peak and the valley between Rampart Range and Pikes Peak.
7. Rampart Reservoir - Stay Left
Stay on the dirt to stay on Rampart Range. The road intersects with Lake Circle Drive that takes you to Rampart Range Reservoir.
The Reservoir is well worth the detour if it’s just a lazy day. For those that want to fish or boat, you can do both here. There are also large areas of dispersed camping. This can be a busy area, though, and is paid access, $6/vehicle to enter and go around in the park.
8. Angler Parking Lot
Stay straight at this parking lot for fishing. There’s a large sign for anglers and information available on a board there.
9. Springdale Campground - Stay Straight
Stay straight past Springdale Campground that is on the right. This is one of the many first-come, first-serve fee campgrounds along the road.
10. Schubarth Road - Stay Straight
11. Loy Creek Road Intersection - Stay On Dirt To Follow Road
Stay to the right/north. This intersection is a little tricky and poorly marked; stay to the right. You'll know if you're going the wrong way if you hit pavement.
If you do stay to the right, you enter the residential "Rampart Range Road" area that will take you to Woodland Park and Route 24. This and Mount Herman Road
are the two entrances to the parts of Rampart Range open during the winter.
12. Beaver Creek - Stay Straight
13. Mount Herman Road - Stay Straight
14. Balanced Rock Road - Stay Straight
15. Ice Cave Road, Southern Entrance - Stay Straight
Stay straight on Rampart Range (FS 300). To the right is the southern entrance to Fern Creek (FS 351).
16. Ice Cave Road, Northern Entrance - Stay Straight
17. Hotel Gulch - Stay Straight
18. Fern Creek Trailhead - Stay Straight
Stay straight at Fern Creek to continue on Rampart Range Road.
19. Seasonal Gate and Posted Notice Board
Seasonal Gate and posted forest information.
20. Dakan Road - Stay Straight
Stay straight on the groomed trail to continue on Rampart Range. Going right takes you through Dakan Mountain (Dakan Road)
towards Perry Park and Castle Rock.
21. Long Hollow Road - Stay Straight
Stay straight here. This is an odd 4-way intersection since it doesn't line up directly. On the left is Long Hollow Road
22. Upper Jackson Creek - Stay Straight
Stay straight at Upper Jackson Creek
. If you go to the right and follow that trail, it will take you back to Dakan Road
and towards Perry Park/Castle Rock.
23. Topaz Point Picnic Area - Stay Straight
Stay straight past the Topaz Point Picnic Grounds. This is a large picnic area with a single lane of parking. Frankly, this is an odd place to stop for lunch. You cannot park here to ride ATVs and such, only some benches and tables.
24. Devil's Head Intersection - Stay Right
Stay right at this intersection with Devil’s Head Mountain walking trail and parking lot.
This small trail is famous since it contains the only remaining manned fire watch station in the country. It's manned by a gentleman who's been doing it for three decades and isn't stopping soon. This is worth a stop if you can handle the hike up the stairs to the lookout!
25. Flat Rocks Overlook
Stay straight to continue. The Flat Rocks Overlook is here, an almost forgotten overlook. The views are likely better than in these pictures when the weather is clear. The overlook is a little overgrown, and you may find vehicles in this lot with ATVs and Motorcycles.
26. Rampart Trailhead & Parking Lot
Stay straight to exit the trail.
This is the ‘end’ of the trail or the beginning if you start from the north end. There is a large gate, and just beyond it is a parking lot on the left. That parking lot also has bathrooms and a dumpster if you have things to dump out. If you’re starting your day here and want to air down, you can do so here easily. This parking lot is jam-packed during the summer months.
*Note, after a disastrous Labor Day Weekend.
, the USFS has decided to just pull the dumpsters from Rampart Range completely. This trail is now 'Take Out What You Take In," starting on Friday, Sept 9th, 2016.
27. End at County Road 67
This is County Road 67; turning right will take you towards Sedalia. Turning left will take you towards Deckers and the South Platte River.
There happens to be a working payphone here! If all else fails, it's a place to call for help.