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Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

Monument Creek Trail 715

Pristine Back Country Jaunt

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    This guide contains photos
 (6 votes, 3 reviews)
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 3.0 miles / 4.8 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
 
Overview: Monument Creek flows north through the Front Range, around the north side of Raspberry Mtn, and down into the town of Monument, where it turns south, paralleling I-25. Then it runs down through Colorado Springs, where it finally joins Fountain Creek on its way to become part of the Arkansas River on the south side of Pueblo, CO. This guide begins at a small trailhead just west of the town of Monument, leads you up and over the ridge that zig-zags behind Mt Herman, and drops you down into the Monument Creek Valley about two miles east of its inception. The trail for this hike is a multi-use trail; so expect to encounter bicycles occasionally (known to bikers as the “Stooopid Trail” because its curves and dips often launch them into the bushes, making them feel “dumb”). I’m only providing a guide for a 3 mile, out and back, hike. Should you have more time and/or energy, you could push on down the valley, all the way into the town of Palmer Lake (another 3 miles) — just remember, the return journey would be almost all up hill.

Tips: Directions: Leave I-25 at exit 161 (Hwy 105) and head west through the older section of Monument (Hwy 105 turns north just past the Interstate; keep going west on what is now 2nd Street). After you cross the railroad tracks, turn left (south) at the T-intersection onto Mitchell Ave. In .5 miles you’ll see the sign for Mt Herman Road; turn right. From this intersection the trailhead is 5.1 miles. First you’ll see a small parking area and a trail sign for Forest Service Trail 716. Continue past this spot, until you come to the trailhead for trail 715 about .1 miles later. About a mile into this leg of the trip, the pavement stops. The rest of the road is dirt, washboard in many places, narrow in some. Drive slowly and be prepared for people approaching you on the way down the hill — they seem to drive somewhat faster.

Points of Interest

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Trailhead

The trailhead is clearly marked, with room for about 10 vehicles. Be sure to pull completely off the road. There are no facilities here, nor is there a water point. Just hop out, lock up, and start walking.
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Trail Splt1

This whole part of the National Forest is well used. Unofficial trails branch off trail 715 where people have gone off to explore other interesting looking areas. Most of the time, the main trail is easy to follow. I’m marking what I consider to be junctions that might cause confusion. At this first split, stay to the right.
map

Trail Splt 2

Take the left had side of this split. You’ll begin to climb. As you come around the corner, you’ll see an old car rusting under the trees. This seems to be the result of a failed solid-matter-transporter-beam experiment, because I couldn’t find a road to this point.
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Trail Splt 3

About .3 miles into the hike, you’ll reach a saddle in the ridge running down behind Mt Herman. Go straight ahead. There is a trail running down the ridgeline, which looks wider and more well used. Cross this and continue down toward the valley floor.
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Big Rocks

As you’ll see when you arrive at this point, the granite boulders provide a beautiful setting for a place to relax and enjoy this remote corner of the wilderness. The pictures here were taken in early springs; so neither the oaks nor the aspen were wearing their summer coats. Thus, this spot alone deserves more than one trip.
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Trail Splt 4&5

“You take the high road & I’ll take the low road …” This is more a bifurcation than a split. It doesn’t matter which route you take. They both resolve into the continuation of Trail 715 about 500 ft farther down (or up, depending on which leg of the journey you’re on) the trail. Once you reach the bottom of this section, you’ll come to a small stream and a make-shift bridge. After this, you’re in the Monument Creek Valley.
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Turn Around

This point is 1.5 miles from the trailhead. If you turn around here, you’ll complete the advertised 3 mile hike. I could have gone farther, but it was late in the day when I arrived here. The granite walls of the valley provide a solid contrast to the wispy tendrils of bare aspens.
Pictures in this guide taken by: dougknighton
Reviews
Rensnest
Beautiful hike. Shooting is NO longer allowed in this area. Highly recommend!
Visited on Jul 18, 2014

by Rensnest on Jul 18, 2014
moofthreeslp
I would prefer 0 stars. Our family of 5 hiked this trail on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. About .25 miles from our car at the end of our hike, we were shot at....about 8 times!! There is a range on the other side of the hill. It appears as though some people went off the range to "practice". The shots were so close we heard the whistle above our heads, heard bullets hit branches and saw dirt fly up off the ground. We hid behind large trees and rocks. We were screaming "stop shooting" and our children were crying. What is even worse...the local police are aware of shootings here! The forest ranger has even been shot at! WHY ISN'T THIS TRAIL CLOSED??? For your safety...PLEASE STAY OFF THIS TRAIL. My daughter never wants to hike again. CLOSE THIS TRAIL!!!
Visited on Dec 15, 2013

by moofthreeslp on Dec 20, 2013
LizW
The marker near the parking area is missing, and the one for Trail #716 was deliberately hidden the day I went up. You can still see the yellow trail # sign a little way up the trail, so keep an eye out. You will not see the old car if you're not looking for it - I missed it on the way up, and took a wrong turn - did a steep climb and looped back down, then found the correct trail. Basically, at the 2nd split, turn left (there is a sign indicating no ATVs, motor bikes, or horses) Otherwise, everything is as described. Very pleasant Fall hike, once I got away from the sounds of shooting! Only came across one person the entire 2 1/2 hours - a guy on a mountain bike. Will start out earlier next time - just a suggestion if you're driving up from Colorado Springs - take Jackson Creek Parkway to Hwy 105 instead of the Interstate. I lost a bunch of time sitting in traffic due to construction and an accident - had to turn around and bypass the area between COS and Baptist Road.
Visited on Oct 05, 2013

by LizW on Oct 06, 2013

Monument Creek Trail 715 Trail Map


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About the Author

dougknighton
dougknighton
30 guides
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Retired Air Force Chaplain who began military life as an Airborne Ranger. Evidently I didn't get enough...

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