A recent camping trip took us in search of a family-friendly hike and a free campground. Today, I’ll share about the hike to St. Peter’s Dome – come back later in the week for more info on where to camp for free in Colorado Springs.
The sign at the trailhead for St. Peter’s Dome indicates it’s a 0.7 mile hike. The first part of the trail is relatively flat, and then it begins climbing and the switchbacks begin. As you near the top, the trail becomes pretty narrow and there is a lot of loose rock.
When you get near the top, you’ll soon realize that it’s time for mom to stay with the little kids and any teenagers and adults in your group to continue on – if you want to go all the way to the top of the dome, you’ll need to use the knotted rope to get up the next boulder. (As of August 14, 2009, the rope was sturdy, but who knows how long it’s been up there!)
There are still incredible views even if you stop at the rope!
If you continue past the rope to get to the top, there’s another 50 yards or so of trail with loose rock, requiring careful footing. After that, it’s a pretty easy walk. Basically, if you get past the rope, it’s easy to get to the very top of the dome. There are amazing views of Garden of the Gods, the city of Colorado Springs, and of course miles of spectacular mountains.
How to get to the St. Peter’s Dome trailhead: since part of Gold Camp Road is closed because of a tunnel collapse years ago, you’ll need to take Old Stage Road to Gold Camp Road. Once you reach the point where Old Stage merges into Gold Camp, drive maybe a mile (?) to reach the St. Peter’s Dome trailhead. It’s easy to find, on the northeast side of the road there will be a small parking area and some large boulders. There’s also a small sign that indicates where the trail is.
Here’s a Google map. Note that the St. Peter’s Dome trailhead starts on the part of the map close to where it says “Duffield”.
Trail Suitability: Though some parts were tricky, we made it up the trail to the rope with our three kids, ages four and under. We had an extra set of hands which were absolutely necessary – you’ll definitely need one adult per child. But, as another site put it, it’s suitable for “adventurous families”.