Southern Peaks: A Guide to Exploring the Stunning Beauty of Cañon City
Are you an avid hiker or outdoor enthusiast looking for a new adventure in the beautiful state of Colorado? Look no further than Southern Peaks, located in the heart of Cañon City. With its stunning peaks, breathtaking vistas, and a wide range of outdoor activities, Southern Peaks offers something for everyone. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what makes Southern Peaks so special, and explore some of the best ways to experience the beauty of this magnificent destination.
Overview of Southern Peaks
Located just a few miles west of Cañon City, Southern Peaks is a beautiful mountain range that forms the western boundary of the Wet Mountains. The range features several peaks over 13,000 feet, including the highest peak, Little Baldy Mountain, which stands at 13,300 feet. Southern Peaks is a popular destination for hiking, climbing, camping, and wildlife watching, and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Hiking Trails in Southern Peaks
If you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding hiking experience, Southern Peaks has plenty of trails to explore. One of the most popular hikes in the area is the Little Baldy Trail, which takes hikers to the summit of Little Baldy Mountain. This trail is a strenuous 7-mile round trip hike that offers incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
For a less strenuous hike, the Grape Creek Trail is a great option. This 6.5-mile round trip trail follows a beautiful creek through the mountains, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Along the way, hikers can enjoy a picnic lunch or take a dip in one of the many natural swimming holes.
Climbing in Southern Peaks
For experienced climbers, Southern Peaks offers several challenging routes to the summits of some of the highest peaks in the area. The Little Baldy Mountain climb is a classic mountaineering route that requires technical skills and experience. Climbers can also attempt the nearby peaks of Horn Peak and Colony Baldy, both of which offer spectacular views from their summits.
Camping in Southern Peaks
If you want to spend more time in the area, camping in Southern Peaks is a great option. The Grape Creek Campground is a popular spot for tent and RV camping, and offers easy access to several hiking trails in the area. There are also several primitive campsites located throughout the mountains, offering a more secluded and primitive camping experience.
Wildlife in Southern Peaks
Southern Peaks is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including deer, elk, mountain lions, black bears, and a variety of bird species. Wildlife watching is a popular activity in the area, and hikers and campers are encouraged to keep their eyes peeled for these majestic creatures.
Exploring Cañon City
While Southern Peaks is a destination in its own right, the nearby town of Cañon City offers plenty of activities and attractions for visitors as well. Take a stroll through the historic downtown district, visit the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, or take a rafting trip down the Arkansas River.
Southern Peaks is a true gem of Colorado, offering a wide range of outdoor activities and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Whether you’re an experienced climber or just looking for a beautiful hike, there’s something for everyone in this stunning destination.
- How do I get to Southern Peaks?
Southern Peaks is located just a few miles west of Cañon City, Colorado. Visitors can take US Highway 50 west from Pueblo or east from Salida to reach Cañon City, then take CO Highway 69 south to the base of the mountains.
- When is the best time to visit Southern Peaks?
The best time to visit Southern Peaks depends on the type of outdoor activity you’re interested in. For hiking and camping, the summer months (June through August) offer the best weather and trail conditions. However, the fall months (September and October) offer stunning fall foliage and cooler temperatures. Winter is a great time for skiing and snowshoeing, but be sure to check trail conditions and plan accordingly.
- Are there any guided tours of Southern Peaks?
Yes, there are several guided tours available in the area, including guided hikes and rock climbing trips. Local outfitters and tour companies offer a variety of options, depending on your interests and skill level.
- What should I bring for a hike in Southern Peaks?
Be sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing and footwear for the weather and terrain. It’s also a good idea to bring a map and compass or GPS device, as some trails can be difficult to navigate.
- Can I bring my dog to Southern Peaks?
Yes, dogs are allowed on most trails in Southern Peaks, but be sure to check trail regulations and keep your dog on a leash at all times. Also, be mindful of the wildlife in the area and keep your dog under control to avoid disturbing them.