By Spencer McKee

The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — If you’re looking to get outside in Colorado Springs, you’ll be happy to hear that you’ve got plenty of options ranging in length and difficulty. Here are five of the easiest places to get out there for a scenic hike in Colorado Springs, some of which are paved and some of which are dirt.

The Perkins Central Garden Trail at Garden of the Gods

Approximately 1.5 miles round trip, the paved Perkins Central Garden Trail is a great place for newcomers to Colorado to get adjusted to moving around at a higher altitude. Be aware of altitude sickness.

Not only does this trail provide stunning views of Garden of the Gods, it’s also open to pets and is wheelchair accessible.

Mount Cutler Trail

While the trail to the top of Mount Cutler is considered “easy” by hiking standards in the Centennial State, be warned — there’s quite a bit of steep elevation gain throughout this hike.

This trail is approximately 1.7 miles round trip, taking hikers to the summit of Mount Cutler with stunning views of the surrounding foothills, Pikes Peak, and the city below. While this one is open to leashed pets, keep in mind that it’s not paved. Make sure you bring plenty of water.

The Sand Canyon/Contemplative Combo Trail

Home to a great trail system to get started on, Red Rock Canyon is a somewhat hidden gem in Colorado Springs.

If it’s your first time there, try out the Sand Canyon/Contemplative trail, which is approximately 1.75 miles long. It travels past several unique rock formations that help to shield excessive noise, making this route naturally peaceful.

Plus, the Contemplative Trail portion of the hike is off-limits to bikes and horses, so you won’t have to worry about these distractions.

Note that this trail is on rough dirt and does have some elevation gain.

Silver Cascade Falls Trail

Though less than a mile round-trip, the Silver Cascade Falls Trail does have some steep elevation gain, making it perfect for warming up your legs for longer, more intense hikes.

Located above Helen Hunt Falls, this trail continues upward over steps and through switchbacks.

Unless you happen to visit during the brief time when falls are flowing strong, don’t expect to see massive waterfalls (aside from Helen Hunt Falls) along this route. Do expect to see some beautiful views.

The Pulpit Rock Park Trail

If you’re looking to test out some new hiking gear you’ve got for bigger hikes, Pulpit Rock Park is a great place to do it, preferably on the Pulpit Rock Park trail.

Climbing to the top of the park’s feature rock formation, you’ll encounter dirt, slick rock, sand, and plenty of step-ups along this route.

The full trail is 4.2 miles long, with the climb to the top of the rock edging closer to “intermediate” difficulty.

While 4 miles might seem daunting, this trail’s location inside of a park makes it easier to skip getting lost or only do certain legs of the full route.

As always, know your route beforehand and have the right gear with you for the hike (and always bring plenty of water to drink).