Photograph Rampart Range Road

Rampart Range Road

Distance

20 Miles

Activities

Photography

Skill

Beginner

Season

Summer, Autumn

Type

Point-to-Point

Added by

Brian Lewis

Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic

Rampart Range Road is a longer, but infinitely more scenic route from Colorado Springs to Woodland Park. Photography opportunities are abundant from three distinct areas - the Waldo Canyon Burn, the overlooks to the south and the vast aspen-fringed meadows near Rampart Reservoir.

From the starting point near Balanced Rock in Garden of the Gods, Rampart Range Road turns to dirt and begins a steady climb into the foothills west of Colorado Springs. Though dirt, the road is well-graded and perfectly suitable for passenger cars in good weather. As the road climbs, you'll travel through three distinct sections, detailed below, all with unique opportunities for photography.

The Burn
The first few miles provide some seldom-seen views above Garden of the Gods and overlooks of Colorado Springs, but things get much more interesting once the drive enters the Waldo Canyon Burn Area (camping and hiking are currently prohibited within the burn area; heed Forest Service signage). In June of 2012, the Waldo Canyon Fire burned a huge area of these foothills including over 300 homes in the mountains suburbs of Colorado Springs. Despite the destruction of the past, driving the road now gives a glimpse into the regeneration of a forest after a catastrophic fire - you'll notice wildflowers in the spring, grasses in summer and chutes of golden aspen in fall.

The Overlooks
Leaving the burn area, you'll start to catch stunning views of Pikes Peak to the south. At about the 11-mile-mark you'll see a small pull-off on the south side of the road, with a few social trails leading up a steep hillside. It's in your best interest to take the short climb to the top where you'll be treated to vertigo-inducing views down to Cascade, the Highway 24 corridor and the massive north face of Pikes towering above.

The Meadows
About 17 miles in you'll reach a turn-off for Rampart Reservoir, which makes an excellent side trip for fishing, hiking or SUP. Beyond the reservoir, the forest opens up and you'll see Pikes Peak looming over a broad meadow of sweeping grasses and long views to the distant mountains of Teller County. These meadows are particularly photogenic, taking on a golden hue during the magic hours near sunrise and sunset.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations.

Nearby Lodging

From $145/night

The Greens

Frisco, Colorado

From $385/night

The Woods

Frisco, Colorado

From $168/night

Copper Springs

Frisco, Colorado

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Really Great Senic Drive

Just as the top says, Really great drive especially if you go in the Fall when the sun is setting on this side of the mountain. The views of Pike and the changing colors are hard to beat.

From A Native

Thanks for posting this Brian! I've travelled this road many times and every time it makes me appreciate the state I live in even more. I have to say that my favorite part to pull off and take photos of Pikes Peak is at the top of the large hill before the decent to Rampart reservoir. That side of the road was not touched by the fire and it is magnificent. Also, depending on the time of year, that stretch of road can be sketch, but if one takes it slow, it's just fine. Excellent choice for a Sunday drive!

Distance

20 Miles

Activities

Photography

Skill

Beginner

Season

Summer, Autumn

Type

Point-to-Point

Added by

Brian Lewis

Nearby Adventures

Adventure

Hike to the top of Castle Rock

Adventure

Hike Crystal Falls Trail to Crystal Creek Reservoir

Adventure

Hike Eagle's Peak (USAFA)

Adventure

Hike to Blodgett Peak

More Nearby Adventures

Tours

More Tours

Related Stories

destinations

20 Stunning Hikes in the Swiss Alps

Mountains don't get much better than this.

destinations

A Magical Yosemite Valley Winter Storm

A Yosemite Winter Wonderland

gear

La Sportiva Women's Skwama Climbing Shoe Review

Super sticky, super responsive, and just as badass as the men’s version of the shoe.

travel

The Dream is Alive at Whitewater Resort

No-frills, no wifi, no problem.

More Stories