Rampart Range Road

Colorado Springs, Colorado (Douglas County)

Last Updated: 04/29/2022
3.9 / 5 ( 19 reviews )
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Status:
Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 1-1
( EASY )
Length: 54.38 miles
Highest Elevation: 9436 feet
Duration: About 3 hours, 30 minutes
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: North
Nearest Town: Colorado Springs
Nearest Town w/ Services: Colorado Springs
Official Road Name: 300
Management Agency: United States Forest Service
District: Pikes Peak Ranger District & South Platte Ranger District

Highlights

Highlight: Rampart Range Road
Those looking for an accessible introduction to the Colorado Front Range will find it in this road built in the 1930s. The well-known and relatively well-maintained trail runs through 60 miles of Pike National Forest. Rampart Range isn't just a road name either, it's the name of the Front Range south of US 85, and this road runs almost the entire length of the mountain range. The southern end has the most to see in terms of views and is the smoother portion of the drive. There are many turnoffs, large parking areas, and small pull-offs where you can stop to take pictures on the Garden of the Gods end of the trail. The views of Pike’s Peak from this end of the trail are amazing. The road was built as part of the government’s efforts to get out of The Great Depression by the Civil Conservation Corps. A marker stone exists and is a Waypoint along the trail. There used to be two marker stones, but one has been damaged and is gone except for its quartz base. The marker stone that is still intact indicates its opening and completion, 1933. Nowadays, this unique piece of Colorado history connects counties, trails, and off-roaders. While most people get a chance to ride Rampart Range on their way to somewhere else, it's worth stopping to take in this trail on its own.

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Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
2WD Vehicle with High Clearance
Concerns:
Summary:
This is a maintained dirt trail all the way through, and the only thing of note is continuous washboards.

Technical Rating

MANDATORY
1
EASY
OPTIONAL
1
EASY
Dirt and/or rocky road. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 5" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 5" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 6" inches. Good tire placement likely. Can be steep, but with good traction.
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Community Consensus

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Description

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.

Waypoints

1. Balanced Rock Trailhead (0 mi)
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 (1.5 mi)
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 (2.4 mi)
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 (11.4 mi)
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 (7.3 mi)
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 (11.8 mi)
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 (17 mi)
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 (18.6 mi)
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 (20.2 mi)
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 (22.5 mi)
Stay straight at this intersection. To the right is Schubarth Road.
11. Loy Creek Road Intersection - Stay On Dirt To Follow Road (22.7 mi)
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 ( mi)
Stay straight on Rampart Range. To the right is Beaver Creek which will actually loop back to Mount Herman Road.
13. Mount Herman Road - Stay Straight ( mi)
Stay straight and follow the road to the left. Mount Herman Road (FS 393) is on the right and well marked.
14. Balanced Rock Road - Stay Straight (27.8 mi)
Stay straight at the Balanced Rock Road (FS 322) entrance.
15. Ice Cave Road, Southern Entrance - Stay Straight (28.4 mi)
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 (28.6 mi)
Stay straight at the northern entrance to Ice Cave Road (FS 335).
17. Hotel Gulch - Stay Straight (28.8 mi)
Stay straight at Hotel Gulch.
18. Fern Creek Trailhead - Stay Straight (38.5 mi)
Stay straight at Fern Creek to continue on Rampart Range Road.
19. Seasonal Gate and Posted Notice Board (38.9 mi)
Seasonal Gate and posted forest information.
20. Dakan Road - Stay Straight (47.6 mi)
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 (45.8 mi)
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 (46.3 mi)
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 (49 mi)
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 (51.2 mi)
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 (55.7 mi)
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 (60.2 mi)
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 (60.4 mi)
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.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Take US-24 W to the exit for US-24 BUS W/Manitou Ave and turn right on Garden Dr to Rampart Range Rd, turn right onto El Paso Blvd for 400 feet and turn left onto Garden Dr for 0.5 miles to Rampart Range Road and the gate. *Winter Acess is only available via Woodland Park (or Mount Herman Road in Monument, CO) From Woodland Park: Head north on N Fairview St toward E Midland Ave off of US 24. Turn right onto E Lake Ave and follow for 0.3 miles, turn left onto Co Rd 22/Rampart Range Rd. Continue to follow Co Rd 22 for 2.3 miles to the trail.

Camping

Dispersed
Designated
The paid campgrounds are listed in order from south to north: Springdale Campground, Devils Head Campground, Rock Springs Campground, Flat Rocks Campground, Rampart Range Campground. There are 99 campsites along Rampart Range. 69 - First Come, First Served, and fee-based. These are mostly near the Sedalia end of the trail (north). 30 - Available for reservation through https://www.recreation.gov/ A detailed map of all sites is available along with locations of pay boxes at the Forest Service site here.
Camping: Rampart Range Road

Trail Reviews (73)

Questions & Answers (3)

Q: Have a 4 person 60 inch side by side what are the chances of dumping off? How are they on the road restrictions? Where would you park to go on some of the joining trails. We like lots of scenery not lots of speed. The springs is a nice place to stay and eat out and only 31/2 hours from us in Kansas. Thanks
–Steven Landgraf (06/03/2019)
A: Also, I would highly recommend the Rule Ridge area. I should have mentioned that before. This area is super-popular with ATV's and SXS's. https://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/440-rule-ridge
–JD Marshall (06/03/2019)
A: Steven, thank you for the question! Rampart Range as a whole is very SXS friendly. You should have no problem parking and unloading on the north end of the trail, there is a large parking lot and LOTS of camping where you can camp and park your vehicle. You will need to check the area to find out where exactly you are allowed within the trail network though. The south end is not as ATV/SXS friendly and it's miles from the Garden of the Gods before you find camping that isn't paid. If you don't care about paid camping, Rampart Reservoir is an option a little closer to Colorado Springs. I'm personally not that up to speed on ATV/SXS road restrictions but I do not know of any towns along the front range of Colorado that allow them in town/on pavement. Check local listings. :) The north end is where I'd set up camp, or even better near Monument, CO off Mt. Herman Road (the majority of the trails that connect are in this area as well) that connects to roughly the middle of Rampart Range. You can always travel Rampart to Garden of the Gods and get all the good scenery down on the south side of this trail. For ATV/SXS usage I would check out the gulches (this is Illinois: https://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/336-illinois-gulch). They aren't very scenic but they are super popular with smaller off-road vehicles. Many of the trails on Rampart will offer some views including Schubarth & Balanced Rock Road.
–JD Marshall (06/03/2019)
Q: Just starting out so probably a silly question but do you usually air down for trails like this?
–Ben (04/29/2018)
A: Ben, that's not a silly question at all, we all started somewhere. Honestly, no you do not need to airdown for a trail like this but you can for a softer ride. The washboards on this trail are no joke and we air down because the trail is so long. We also find ourselves heading off onto a spur at the last minute and want to be prepared.
–JD Marshall (04/29/2018)
Q: Does anyone know trail conditions looking to go tomorrow
–Dustin (04/21/2018)
A: Dustin, check this page in the morning before you go out and see if anyone drops a Trip Report in today. With the snow along the front range today though, conditions tomorrow are going to be a tough call either way. I would expect at least wet conditions and maybe some snow.
–JD Marshall (04/21/2018)

Writer Information

JD Marshall

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Jen & JD moved to Colorado from Chicago in May of 2015 for work and brought with them a 2001 stock Jeep Wrangler that had been garage bound for two years. Within a month of arrival, all rusty 170,000 miles of it was shaking on Colorado trails and they've never stopped. As time as gone on, their 2001 TJ had to be traded and a 2015 Jeep JK has been added to the family. JD works as a Systems Engineer for a cable company and Jen runs a business from their home during the week to pay the bills. When the weekend hits, they're almost always hitting the trail. When Sunday night rolls around, the question turns to, 'so what's next week?!'.
For individual use only, not to be shared.