From downtown Manitou, one of the dominant mountains that overlooks town is Red Mountain, so named for the red sands and granite that give the mountain its unique tinge. In town, the mountain is known for two things; the traditional launching site for the town’s 4th of July fireworks, and Emma Crawford’s coffin, which managed to wrench its way out of the red sands in which it was buried and travel down the mountain in a mudslide until it reached downtown. This little event inspired Manitou’s famous Emma Crawford Race.
I had hiked Red Mountain when I was younger but was never too curious about it until my brother showed me a new trail that winds to the top of it. The Red Mountain Trail is a spur of the Intemann Trail, and winds about 2 miles to the summit of the mountain, where a large concrete platform awaits. Running, it took about 16 minutes from the beginning of the trail to the summit. For the most part the trail is fairly steep, with a lot of loose gravel at the beginning. But as you climb, the trail becomes more firm and levels out a bit.
By itself, the trail is a pretty short workout. But worked in with a longer run along the Intemann trail, it makes for a great out and back leg burner. My plan the next time I head back to town is to combine Red Mountain with the Incline for a long climbing day.
From downtown Manitou Springs, take Manitou Avenue west and turn left at Ruxton. Park near the Iron Spring gazebo and head up the dirt road (Spring Street) and take your first right. The trailhead starts at the chained off road, and the spur for Red Mountain is about a mile into the trail (heading east).