Cottonwood Pass

Scenic Overlook At Rampart Range Road - Colorado Springs


Ridgecrest Scenic Overlook - Between Woodland Park and Garden of the Gods
Pikes Peak
Above: The impressive view of Pikes Peak and the the Ridgecrest Scenic Overlook.

I lived in Colorado Springs from 1997-2001 and Manitou Springs from 2001-2005, and I am sad to admit I didn't spend more time outdoorsy along Rampart Range Road. While visiting the Front Range in 2012, my friend Ron and I enjoyed the scenic drive to this litte-known overlook. I do recommend this as an excellent way to get away from the crowds and be in the mountains.

Rampart Range, located west of Colorado Springs and north of U.S. Highway 24, has a lot to offer. There is boating and fishing at Rampart Range Reservoir. It is replete with trails, 4WD roads and lesser known peaks. Also, Rampart Range Road is an excellent choice for a scenic drive.

Directions: From Garden of the Gods, travel toward the Balanced Rock and Steamboat Rock area. Rampart Range Road starts a short distance north of those rock sites. Rampart Range Road travels approximately 20 miles and nears Woodland Park, and then it turns north and continues on the range toward Devil's Head Fire Lookout Tower. Eventually, it ends in mountainous forest west of Sedalia. Examine your map, but my estimate is the Ridgecrest Scenic Overlook is about seven miles from Garden of the Gods on Rampart Range Road.

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Rampart Range Road

Rampart Range Road Colorado

June 2012 Update: This section of Rampart Range Road is the site of the Waldo Canyon Fire that is burning out of control. I am deeply saddened to see flames and smoke coming out of this area on news reports. :(

Photos on March 2012 - On our recent visit, my friend Ron and I began at Garden of the Gods and traveled upward on Rampart Range Road. It was relatively late in the afternoon.

Adjacent are a couple of shots of the road and mountain scenery. Note that Rampart Range Road is on the rough side. A 2WD passenger vehicle can make it just fine, but there are bumps and washboard areas to take slow.

Pikes Peak Colorado

Pikes Peak Region

Rampart Range Road Overlook

As always, I encourage you to have a good map handy, and I recommend the National Geographic topographical map #137 (Pikes Peak/Canon City) for this scenic drive. You can buy a copy at REI in Colorado Springs or any other outdoor store.

From Garden of the Gods, I would estimate it being approximately seven miles, mostly climbing in elevation, until we reached the overlook. Note there are two overlooks in proximity. Adjacent are shots at the southern overlook that has a long railing.

TOP: The stunning view of Pikes Peak across the valley. Wow!

SECOND: The view to the southeast. Cheyenne Mountain, Cameron Cone and Almagre Mountain are some of the mountains in view. We could see the west side of Colorado Springs and downtown Colorado Springs, but the lighting was horrible. They were already well into the shade with the sun on the verge of setting.

THIRD: Haze and harsh lighting do injustice to this picture, but you get the idea of how scenic the views are.

Steve Garufi and Ron Wich A portrait of myself and Ron. It was good to be in Colorado Springs and to see some old friends.

By the way, I've been growing my naturally curly hair for a bazillion years, and it never ceases to depress me with how the wind makes my hair look so short! Sigh.

Minutes later, we drove a few tenths of the mile to the second overlook. This one has a dirt parking lot and marker. You can't miss it.

A short trail leads to a rocky overlook. Again, the lighting was horrible (and in fact, I recommend visiting first thing in the morning if you're a big shot photographer), but here's a zoom-in of the valley. If you are acquainted with the region, you'll notice the town of Cascade, Santa's North Pole, and the Pikes Peak Highway.

Cascade, Colorado

The next morning, as I traveled west on U.S. Highway 24, I captured this shot in Cascade that shows the mountains out yonder. That general area is the site of the overlook.

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Older Photos

Jeep - In 2004, my friend Chris and I visited in his Jeep.

The marker notes the overlook was built in 1938. And isn't that a nice shot of Chris? :)

Rampart Range Road - One shot of Pikes Peak during a different excursion in 2004. Pikes Peak


Video

My modest video. My YouTube page is www.youtube.com/kisscactus.


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