Canon City is a small town about 45 miles south of Colorado Springs. It’s an outdoor lovers dream and I honestly don’t make it down that way nearly enough. Winter was nearly nonexistent for us on the Front Range (Front Range = The area before the mountains but after the eastern plains of Colorado), so one 80 degree winter day, we threw on some shorts and drove to Canon City to enjoy some light hiking on Tunnel Drive Trail. Yup, I said 80 degrees!
Tunnel Drive Trail is an easy 2 mile hike (one way) that is perfect for the whole family. It’s incredibly easy to find too! We were able to just plug “Tunnel Drive Trail” into our GPS and it lead us right to the trail head. You basically head west on Royal Gorge Blvd, take a left turn on Tunnel Drive (just after the Museum of Colorado Prisons) and keep to the left as you drive straight to the trail head. No tricks, no gimmicks, no hidden turns.
The trail is nothing if not simple. You start out of a paved “road” that takes you uphill to the path. No worries, the uphill part is only about a 1-3 minute walk depending on your speed. Or if you’re anything like me, depending on how many times you stop to take a photo! 😉 Once you hit the dirt the path flattens out quickly and it remains that way the rest of the hike. You’ll pass through 3 tunnels and have a wonderful view of the Arkansas River the whole time.
Despite how straight forward this trail may seem I’ve got a few tips for you so you can make the most of your hike and enjoy every moment!
Tunnel Drive Trail – what to know before you go
- This trail is handicapped accessible! The paved uphill portion is a gradual climb that claims to be easier for wheel chairs.
- The trail is 1.9-2 miles one way. Meaning it is a 4 mile hike.
- Don’t expect any shade. This trail is situated in a way that makes you completely vulnerable to the sun. Wear your sunscreen and just to be on the safe side, take more so you can reapply as needed. I recommend a hat and sunglasses too.
- Because of the lack of shade I feel the need to tell you that you will got hot! Bring lots of water. Some people think that a 4 mile hike that is flat requires little water, those people are WRONG! Don’t be like those people, bring a lot of water. More water than you think is necessary.
- Beware when bringing your furry friend. Because there is no shade, I imagine this is an easy trail for a dog to get overheated on. Make sure you have adequate water for your pooch and remember that the dirty, sandy path is hot on their paws. I would recommend booties because no dog deserves scorched and blistered paws. Personally, I probably wouldn’t bring my dogs on this hike unless it was below 60 degrees.
- Take a snack. Direct sunlight = lots of sweating = the need for a small snack. My go two snacks are fruits, energy bars and something salty.
- Despite the name, Tunnel DRIVE Trail, you cannot drive the trail. You can only walk or ride your bike. Or run, if that’s your thing! 😉
- There are benches along the trail, perfect for taking breaks and enjoying your surroundings.
- Because this is a easy flat trail, I recommend taking your time. This trail is not for those looking to get in an incredible workout. It is more for those who are looking to enjoy some quite time and take in some extraordinary views.
This was my first hike in Canon City and I can say that it definitely won’t be my last. Many more trails from this area have just been added to my Colorado bucket list and I can’t wait to share them all with you.
If you are headed to Canon City to check out Tunnel Drive Trail, I recommend making a day out of it. Of course the Royal Gorge Bridge is not to be missed and it’s definitely not for the faint hearted. Not crazy about walking on a suspension bridge that is 956 feet high? Try taking a train ride below it instead with the Royal Gorge Route Railway.
After we finished the trail we headed straight to Florence, Colorado to the Florence Brewing Co. for some post hiking beers. Definitely worth the 20 minute drive! Personally, I would go back to that brewery in a heartbeat and the staff was incredibly friendly. I had a specialty orange blonde that I’m pretty sure was only seasonal, but absolutely delicious. And if you’re an IPA lover, like my husband, have no fear he absolutely loved the IPA!