Niobrara

Rating: 
One-way Distance: 1.3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 6322 - 6413 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Lot 10
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic route




The Niobrara trail is at the Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The trail begins near the South Garden Parking Lot 10 where it branches off of the Ute trail. From there it loops southward crossing the dam of Valley Reservoir #2. At that point it makes a short climb up to a ridge that it follows back in the other direction until it drops back down and connects to the Valley Reservoir trail and comes to an end.


For this post we began at Parking Lot 10 and followed the Ute trail from the south end of the parking area for almost a quarter mile to where the Niobrara trail branched off on the right.


The trail starts out across the valley floor following a hard packed gravel path.


After a short distance the Buckskin Charlie trail branches off on the right. Later on there is a short spur trail that travels up to Parking Lot 9.


From there the Niobrara trail begins slowly turning eastward.


As the trail comes to the Valley Reservoir #2 dam the Fontanaro trail branches off on the right while the Niobrara trail crosses the dam to get to the ridgeline on the east side of the valley.


After crossing the dam the trail climbs a couple of switchbacks that take it to the top of the ridge.


The views from the ridge make the short hike well worth the effort.


The trail stays pretty easy as it travels from one end of the ridge to the other.


There is a little saddle in the ridge where a spur branches off on the left that runs down to the Ute trail.


From there the trail becomes secluded on the east side of the ridge by a rocky fin of what looks like Dakota Sandstone. The Niobrara Chalk formation for which the trail is named is the white colored stuff that you are walking on.


Toward the north end of the trail the Central Garden area comes back into view.


As the Niobrara trail comes to an end it drops back off the ridge and connects up with the Valley Reservoir trail. Going to the right at this point leads over to the Chambers trail while going left will get you to the Ute trail where you an loop back to where we began. Niobrara is a fun trail with some of the same great views that draw visitors to the Garden of the Gods but without the crowds that are found in the central areas of the park. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.