Stanley Canyon

Trailhead / Access

The trailhead for Stanley Canyon is on the Air Force Academy. The easiest way to get there is to enter the Academy at the South Gate from Academy Blvd. Right after crossing the bridge for the railroad, turn left on Pine Drive. Take this almost to the top and watch for a dirt road that takes off to the left. It is not marked in any way. If you hit the stop sign at Academy Drive, you missed it. Follow this road. You will encounter a sign at a split that say's authorized vehicles only. Take the right fork and this will take you to the trailhead parking lot. You will see a gate and there is a pedestrian entrance on the left side.

Trail Summary

NOTE:The Google Earth distances are inaccurate due to a problem with the software. It shows 5 miles RT but it is actually 4 miles. I will correct it when the program which generates this data is fixed.

The Stanley Canyon trail climbs the front range to Stanley Resevoir. It is about 2 miles to the reservoir. The first mile is the most difficult part of the trail. Most of your elevation gain will occur in this part. There are a couple places where the trail is narrow and has some steep dropoffs so if you are not comfortable with high places, you should take this into consideration when deciding to do this trail. Footing is difficult in these sections so caution is advised. The reservoir is small but according to a fisherman, has some 6-8 inch trout that are good for catch and release.

Stanley Canyon Description

The trail starts at the gate and follows a dirt trail. There are a couple of signs that say 707 that lead you along the trail. There are a couple of other trails/access roads that branch off so you want to follow the 707 trail signs. Once you get on the main trail, the signs will no longer be found.

The trail climbs steeply once you start up the main trail. There are a lot of rocks which make it easier to get footing than if it were just scree but will require your attention to foot placement. There are a couple of sections where the trail crosses a larger rock expanse. Here footing can be tricky if it wet. The rock is slippery even when not wet, even my dog had some difficulty with footing.

At about 1/2 mile or so, the trail will join the creek that comes down from Stanley Reservoir and you will mostly stay near the creek the rest of the way up. This provides a good area for dogs to keep hydrated on the climb. Also, I should point out that much of the trail is protected by trees so it should be somewhat shady for most of the climb.

There are a couple of stream crossing and one place where you actually picked your way up the stream. It was shallow and there were enough rocks to keep you feet out of most of the water. After the first mile, the climb will start to moderate, and by about 1-1/2 mile, you enter a meadowed like area and the rest of the climb will be moderate and easy.