“A singletrack loop around the scenic Rampart Reservoir.
— Amy White
Lake · Views
A beautiful loop around Rampart Reservoir with constant views, rolling terrain, and a few technical sections.
If you start out before 7 am or end after 5 pm then you'll need to park on the south side of the dam in a small pull out because the dam is closed to vehicle traffic before 7 am and after 5 pm. The dam is also closed to vehicle traffic from late October through early May each year.
There is a $6.00 entrance fee into the recreation area payable by cash or check only.
The trail begins at the paved parking lot on the north end of the reservoir dam within the Rampart Reservoir Recreation Area.
The trail is mostly smooth dirt or loose crushed rock with short gains and losses in elevation as you traverse in and out of the myriad fingers of the reservoir. The northeast section of the loop has more rolling sections and some narrow and rocky obstacles while the southwest section is flatter and less rocky. There are a few small stream crossings but it is generally possible to avoid getting your feet wet by rock hopping or running across fallen logs.
At about mile 8.8, you can take the right fork and climb up and over the road, reconnecting with the trail on the opposite side near the outhouses, as shown on the track. Alternatively you can take the left fork of the trail and continue to follow the shoreline, adding about 1 mile to the total distance.
The trail has magnificent views of Pikes Peak and the surrounding mountains over the crystal clear water of the reservoir. The trail passes over the Tributary River, which is scenic in its own right. Don't be discouraged if the parking lot is busy as most visitors are fishing or using watercraft so the trail remains relatively uncrowded.
The trail can be reached without paying the recreation entrance fee if accessed via the Rainbow Gulch Trailhead but this adds about 2 miles to the total distance. Keep in mind also that the small entrance fee helps cover the cost of trail maintenance and the facilities in the park including restrooms and picnic areas.