The majestic beauty of San Isabel National Forest's three converging mountain ranges is comprised of over 1.1 million acres of some of Colorado's most notable summits, breathtaking alpine meadows, and lush woods. Within the forest, there are many chances to spot local wildlife, to go on epic hikes to popular destinations such as Pikes Peak, and to fly fish on its many streams. The beginning of the national forest is just 15 minutes from Colorado Springs with plenty of incredible sights to see at Garden of the Gods and Manitou Springs before heading deeper into the area. Cold temperatures in early spring, fall, and winter make visiting during the warmer months more favorable, but if you're into winter sports, then you'll enjoy endless snowmobiling, ice climbing, and cross-country skiing adventures.
The Timberline Lake Trail takes you through beautifully wooded areas dotted with wildflowers and spectacular lake views on this somewhat challenging in-and-out trek. This trail is heavily trafficked during peak months; however, its leniency for allowing leashed companions makes this trail a must-hike that also offers numerous opportunities to view the local wildlife while marveling at the peaks above.
Length: 5.5 miles
The Mount Princeton Trail is not for the faint of heart as it features a number of rocky areas that require skilled navigation at certain technical points. This trail is flush with fragrant wildflowers during the spring and summer months, but it can also be traversed in the winter with the use of snowshoes for cold weather lovers. Make sure to check the availability of the Mount Princeton Trail because it is subject to seasonal road closures due to the rugged terrain and location of the trailhead.
Length: 6.8 miles
The Turquoise Lake Trail is perfect for spring and summer hikes that allow you to get the best views of the massive lake as you stroll along the trail. Note that the trail extends along the northside of the lake and is an easy yet long trek if you plan to undertake the entire distance. Be prepared with snacks and water as you enjoy this hike.
Intensity: 11 miles
If you're looking for a fun and easy hike, the Lost Lake Trail is for you. Its location at the base of Cottonwood Pass makes it an epic spot to view the surrounding mountains and enjoy the clear, blue waters of Lost Lake. The trail is moderately hiked and is dog friendly, so feel free to bring your canine buddy on a leash. This trail is also subject to closures due to weather conditions.
Length: 2.6 miles
Whether you love to hike or to bike, at San Isabel National Forest, you'll have access to over 171 world-class trails and over a million acres of splendid wilderness to explore. Three mountain ranges cover the land with innumerable opportunities for fishing or fly fishing at Beaver and Grape Creeks.
Geocaching is another fun activity to enjoy during the day, as it is allowed within every national forest as long as you follow the rules of the rangers.
Want to get the full experience? Spend the evening gazing at the stars at the Baby Doe or Silver Dollar Campgrounds located within the park.
Address: 2840 Kachina Drive, Pueblo, CO, 81008
Fee: Entry fee $0
San Isabel National Forest offers far more than fantastic views of the Colorado wilderness and access to the renowned mountain, Pikes Peak. Throughout the park, you'll experience unimaginable adventures on some of the most pristine hiking and biking trails in the country with nearby access to relaxing spa retreats that top off a perfect morning filled with activity, but no matter what time of year you choose to visit, enjoying the forest from the comfort of an RV is an excellent way to soak up every ounce of San Isabel's natural beauty.