Trails abound in the mountains west of Colorado Springs, giving residents and visitors alike the opportunity to escape to elevation. At Bluestem Prairie Open Space, however, the rolling, grassy hills of the prairie take center stage. Hikers, runners, walkers and bikers will find refuge in the scenic trails just a few miles from downtown.
Originally part of the Banning-Lewis Ranch, Bluestem Prairie comprises 650 acres of prairie grassland. Historic ranch buildings sit at the heart of the property, surrounded by aging fencing and a quietly stoic windmill. Bird watchers should be on the lookout for Red-tailed hawks, Burrowing owls, and migratory shorebirds, among others.
Trail users can complete the whole 8-mile lollipop route, including Big Bluestem Trail and Meadowlark Loop from the south parking lot, or park at the eastern lot to do just the 4.1-mile Meadowlark Loop. Both offer views of the pond and the mountains beyond. The trails are free of technical elements and are perfect for beginner and intermediate walkers and riders.
Note that dogs are NOT allowed due to the prevalence of wildlife, including birds, prairie dogs, and even Pronghorn.