DESCRIPTION: From the parking lot the trail is easy to find on the East end. Begin by going up some landscaped stairs through a couple of quick switchbacks. The trail is heavily traveled and easy to follow, but please avoid the temptation to follow some of the side trails that are beginning to form. These damage the environment and threaten the free access. After hiking for 1.5 miles you will come to the intersection for the loop. There's not much difference on which direction you travel, they both wind up back at this intersection. There is still a fair amount of elevation to gain from this point. As the sign states the loop itself is 3.5 miles long. You will have to cross a small stream several times, the crossings are easy but you must be nimble to keep your feet dry.
DIRECTIONS: From Colorado Springs take Highway 24 west past Manitou Springs. 2 miles after you pass the stoplight for Cave of the Winds there will be a large and usually crowded parking lot on the right side of the road. This is the parking for this trailhead.