GET ON A TRAIL THAT RULES

Expert's Pick

SECTION 16

The 5.5-mile loop through the high Pike National Forest west of town is a belovedĀ gem among hikers and mountain bikers, and for good reason. Timber steps begin at a Gold Camp Road pull-off, leading to a red, rocky path with far vistas of Garden of the Gods. The trail bends steeply upward through the woods - a challenge that will get the legs burning and the heart pounding. The reward is a ridge offering epic views: immense, green hills rolling endlessly. Continue into the solitude of the forest, following a track that winds splendidly for bikers. On a hot day, stop to cool off at the waterfall. For the most part, you can count on being alone at peace or with your own group. It's what makes Section 16 a preferred option over trails like, say, the packed Manitou Incline or Barr trail.

— SETH BOSTER