Short trails in Colorado

9:13 p.m. on December 13, 2011 (EST)
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I am new to this site and to backpacking in general.  I'm a single mom with 3 kids ages 13, 11, and 8.  We love hiking and have decided to incorporate it into backpacking.  Generally very adventurous and don't mind challenges.  However I'm thinking maybe a loop trail that would be difficult to get lost on would be a good place to start.  I've just recently moved to Colorado so really don't know the area well enough, and I've heard springs are the worse season here.  So really anything within an 8 hr drive from Colorado Springs would work fine for short trails.  Also just general safety advice as well.  As a single woman on the trail with kids any tips would be helpful.

1:30 a.m. on December 14, 2011 (EST)
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You are in Colorado Springs?  If that's the case you are right in some of the best hiking and mtn biking trails in Colorado.  The majority of trails are easily within a two hour, even less sometimes, drive from your location.  Driving north towards Denver is an hour and twenty minutes and another hour and a half takes you to Rocky Mountain National Park.  Heck, even the local trails in town, like Garden of the Gods for instance, are top notch.  What you should do it go to some of the local climbing shops in the Springs and even REI if there is one there and inquire.  I'm sure there are plenty of hiking clubs also.   The Colorado Trail is west of the Springs and probably an hour or so drive.  Spring time in Colorado is pretty messy especially during big snow seasons.  Last year, snow lingered in the high country well into July.  So people were experiencing winter conditions when heading there.  I used to live in Denver and honestly spent much of my time in the northern and central mountains.  I never had a need to go further south.  There was always plenty to see and do.  In the 12 years I lived there, I barely scratched the surface.  Check out this link:  http://www.hikingincolorado.org/

9:42 p.m. on December 14, 2011 (EST)
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Welcome crumcrunchers!!! I agree with rob your in some of the best hiking and biking in Colorado. Garden of the gods has 15 miles of trails to use. Their open from 9am- 5pm in the winter months. Phone number is (719) 634-6666  You also have Pikes Peak. It has trails that run the mountain. (719)385-PEAK. For class's on how to transition to backpacking like Rob said REI has many free class's and staff to recommend local and regional are'as Your local REI is on Woodmen Rd (719) 260-1455 honest talking to the local staff and looking into a guide book helps alot. Add the free class's for you and your children everyone learns at the same time. I hope this helps. Welcome to trailspace..

9:54 p.m. on December 14, 2011 (EST)
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Thanks for the pointers.  We know Garden of the Gods well, it was one of the things we visited on vacation once and helped us decide on moving here.  Day hiking places we know well and you are right the possibilities are endless.  Mostly I was looking for good trails for overnight treks or up to 3 days max.  I will check with REI for classes as well it would be good for the kids to have some knowledge before learning on the trail.

10:18 a.m. on December 15, 2011 (EST)
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Well, here is an area fairly close to the Springs, specifically, the area between the Great Sand Dunes and Crestone.  It can be approached from the east or west, but, the east is more accessible.  You can even start your trips from the Sand Dunes itself.  You can even backpack on the Dunes.  Anyway, there are hundreds of miles of trails here with some of the most breathtaking peaks you will see in Colorado.

5:41 p.m. on December 15, 2011 (EST)
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Crumbcrunchers here's the number to the Pikes  Ranger Station. They could give you some great advise about 3 day treks in the San Isabel national forest. (719) 636-1602. REI probaly use's area's in the National Forest for day trips or weekend classrooms.

12:35 p.m. on December 18, 2011 (EST)
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Keep the kids close, take bear spray.

10:47 a.m. on December 20, 2011 (EST)
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Callahan said:

Keep the kids close, take bear spray.

 Yes, forgot to mention that, especially the 8 year old.  When my daughter was young and I took her to the national forests and such, the rule was no further than 6 feet from me.  I never let her wander alone.  Mountain lions are always looking for an easy meal.  Never saw bears though.  Very brightly colored clothing also helps.

10:29 p.m. on December 21, 2011 (EST)
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My 2 youngest have special needs. the 8 year old has down syndrome, he's the biggest concern for length of trail.  Probably has the pace and stamina of a 4 year old.  Wandering isn't so much an issue with him, does well staying close.  My 11 year old is the biggest concern.  She has Aspergers so wandering is an issue.  I wanted to put a gps on her but here in El Paso County they aren't doing that yet.  I was thinking about putting a bell on her so at least I can hear her if she's getting too far away.  We have a cocker spaniel/poodle dog that I am training to help keep track of her as well. 

10:44 a.m. on December 22, 2011 (EST)
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Rob thanks for the web site link

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