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Dome Rock Loop

Great hike in the Teller County wilderness, just west of Colorado Springs
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 11 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  Rising 800 ft above the 4 Mile Creek valley floor, Dome Rock is the quintessential Colorado destination. Adjacent to Meuller State... more »

Tips:  1. Take plenty of water, or water purification equipment.
2. Take snacks; 11 miles will demand a lot of energy.
3. While the most... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trailhead

The Colorado Department of Wildlife has done an excellent job of maintaining this trailhead. There is plenty of parking space. The north lot has three large boards highlighting the flora and fauna that you might observe on the trail. Both lots have trail maps of the dome area and its connections to Mueller State Park. The granite formation at the ... More

2. Nature Trail

Twisted Pine Trail
About a tenth of a mile along the trail, you’ll come to the Twisted Pine Trail sign. This 1.5 mile, up and back, trail takes you up 400 ft to a magnificent view of the dome to the west and Sentinel Point to the east. Along the way, you’ll encounter some trees that would make Dr. Seuss laugh. The CDOW has excellent signage along ... More

3. Aspen Forest & Flowers

Along the path toward the first major turn, enjoy the wild flowers that grow in profusion beside Willow Creek. Small, pale purple bells never turn their faces to the sun, while the yellow potentilla and purple aster can’t get enough of it. A little over a mile along the trail, you’ll turn out of the Willow Creek vale and into a forest of... More

4. Spring Creek Turn

At the top of the hill, you’ll turn right and follow the trail for another 1.1 miles, past the Sand Creek Trail sign, to the Big Horn Sheep warning and Spring Creek Trail signs. Along the way, you can look back, again, at Sentinel Point, and then westward toward the central Rockies. Spring Creek is fed by dozens of smaller streams along the way.... More

5. War Party Rock

War Party Rock is the first large granite terrain feature you’ll reach about half way down the Spring Creek Trail. It rises up about 400 ft above the trail on your right as you walk along. About .3 miles after the turn onto Spring Creek Trail, there is a small trail that goes up to the “War Party Overlook.”

6. Dome Rock

Spring Creek Trail allows you to sneak up on Dome Rock. You approach from the east and first catch a glimpse of the south face of the massif. It’s like seeing a bald man’s head from the rear quarter — no facial features visible. As you continue west toward 4 Mile Creek, more and more of details come into view. Finally, as you stand at the creek... More

7. First Crossing (X1)

This is the first and only time (if you follow my GPS track) you’ll cross the creek. The creek here is the lowest elevation of the entire hike, 8240 ft. From here the track rises gently all the way back to the trailhead. If you were to turn south here and follow the creek for another three miles or so, you’d arrive at the northern tip of Mt Pisgah... More

8. X2

Second creek crossing site. The main trail (required for horses)goes to the south side of the creek for a while. The hiking trail on the north side is narrow, but quite passable. In a few places you'll be walking through dense vegetation along the creek bottom.

9. X3

Another creek crossing possibility. Use only if you want to walk on a wider trail or if you have horses. Picture is not of the crossing itself; just to let you see some of the activity along the way.

10. X4

Back across the creek ....

11. Crossing (X5) & Jackrabbit Lodge

According to one source, in 1904, a prominent Cripple Creek Banker, John Delano Husted, incorporated the Crescent Cattle Company to purchase grazing land from Divide to the Four Mile area. He sold stock to religious ministers in the Boston area who would visit the ranch in the summer at an elaborate cabin called the Jack Rabbit Lodge. Rumor was... More

12. X6

Across again.

13. Beaver Complex

Four Mile Creek has carved a wide valley at this point along the trail. Beavers have helped sustain it by building dams that have created small lakes. Today the creek runs wide of the beaver habitat, continuing to carve out new twists and turns. Just east of the beaver ponds you will encounter some of the roughest water in the creek as it drops... More

14. X7

Last crossing point. This one is particularly deceptive in that it looks as though you'll need to cross it to get back to the trailhead. Not so. Stay on the trail north of the creek until you reach the small foot bridge near the parking lot.