This route reflects our attempt to link Manitou’s Intemann Trail with Red Rock Canyon, the latest addition to Colorado’s State Park System. Due to a break in the Intemman Trail near the Manitou Springs High School, this route is composed of a mix of road and trail running, resulting in a twisting route that sometimes feels unnecessarily long, but provides some of the best views and trail running the in Manitou/Colorado Springs area.
The run starts on Manitou Avenue’s intersection with Ruxton Ave., where it heads west up Ruxton, turns on Spring Street and heads up a fairly steep, but short, climb on to the Intemann Trail. The Intemann runs east along the foothills south of Manitou until it ends at the Manitou Springs Cemetery. Due to some property/easement issues which prevents a continuation of the trail through the cemetery, the trail picks up again near the Crystal Park neighborhood entrance, requiring a long stretch of road running between the cemetery and the next trailhead. From the Crystal Park trailhead, the Intemann begins its climb into the Red Rock Canyon area, passing a variety of red sandstone formations before intersecting with a connecting trail leading down into the Canyon (the spur is clearly marked). The Intemann varies in width; from singletrack to car lane. Be careful on the spur between Crystal Park and Red Rock Canyon, it’s a popular section for mountain bikers.
Red Rock Canyon provides multiple options for working your through its environs. Part of the fun of the park is exploring its nooks and crannies, so please use our route as a rough guide, our path is but one of many to be taken. Because the park is so new many of the “trails” have yet to be marked, but the cororallary is that the park itself has fewer crowds, allowing for more serene runs than the Garden of the Gods can provide. The views of the park, above and from within, are incredibly beautiful, and make the numb feeling in your toes worth it. There are few places in the Springs area that provide such accessible, dramatic views.
The return route to Manitou consists of side roads back to downtown, passing near the Garden of the Gods, allowing for an extended loop if your legs are up for more work. Make sure to check out the new creek path near the Highway 24 overpass when running west on El Paso Boulevard. The path will dump you out near the Briahurst Manor, allowing you to take Manitou Avenue back into downtown Manitou, where food and recovery beer abound.
Distance: 11 miles round trip
Directions: Starting at the intersection of Manitou Avenue and Ruxton Avenue, run up Ruxton towards the Cog Railroad Depot and take a left on Spring Street (a dirt road, about 1/4 of a mile from the intersection). Once on Spring Street the road will head uphill with a spur taking a hairpin right, continuing uphill. Take the spur which will bring you to the chained entrance to Intemann Trail. Continue uphill where the trail will eventually level off and begin a slow descent to Pawnee Ave where it will end.
Once on Pawnee, head downhill and take a right on Fairmont Avenue. Take Fairmont until it dead ends, at which you can access a short spur of the Intemann trail that will put you on to Delaware Road. Head east on Delaware Road until it dead ends. At the dead end is where the Intemann picks up again, bringing you through a small playground and gradually winding uphill toward the Manitou Springs Middle School. Near the Middle School the trail will take a sharp right and head downhill. Continue on until you you are above the Manitou Springs High School, where the trail will again head downhill and deposit you in the Manitou Springs Cemetery.
Run downhill to exit the cemetery, which will deposit you on to Plainview Place. Continue downhill, where the road will veer right and eventually intersect with Poplar Place. A left on Poplar deposits you on to Crystal Park Road. Take a right on Crystal Park Road (heading east) and run 1.5 miles up to the next Intemann Trail trailhead (there will be a sign on the left). Be careful on this segment; there are no sidewalks, and a few blind corners. Thankfully traffic is usually light.
Once back on the Intemann, the trail will head east, winding above the Crystal Hills neighborhood. About 1.15 miles from the Crystal Park Road entrance, the trail will intersect with an access trail for Red Rocks Park. Take this access trail, winding down toward Red Rocks Park, where the trail will eventually intersect with a much wider path. There are a variety of ways to wind down through the park, so definitely explore.
After reaching the park’s parking lot, cross Highway 24 and West Colorado Ave via Ridge Road. At West Pikes Peak Ave. take a left and run to the intersection with Columbia Road, where you want to take a right and then your first left on to El Paso Boulevard. El Paso will take you all the way back into Manitou. Our route uses a new path that starts near the Manitou Springs Skate Park and runs behind the pool along Fountain Creek until it ends at the Briarhurst Manor. From there, continue West back in to downtown Manitou.