Red Mountain Loop | Colorado | 11/21/20

Red Mountain Loop | Red Mountain Open Space

Wellington, CO | 11/21/20 | 9.13 miles | 824′ gain


Red Mountain Open Space is a fascinating place filled with unexpected canyons and unbelievable red rock. There are plenty of trails and each one is different than the last. I hiked a similar loop onto the Cheyenne Rim in March of 2020 and hadn’t stopped talking about it since. Tori and Jack were excited to see the park but this time we picked a slightly shorter loop. We’d still see some of the coolest trails and we also included a few trails that I hadn’t seen yet.

Tori & Jack head into Bent Rock Canyon

We started on the Bent Rock Trail, heading west into the canyon. The trail through the canyon is only around 1/2 mile but it’s a beautiful walk and a good introduction to the oddities of Red Mountain.

Bird nests on the walls of the canyon

Once out of the canyon, we turned right on the Ruby Wash Trail. Eventually the wash bottom becomes the trail and we followed that for a few miles. At one point, we accidentally followed a side-wash instead and didn’t realize until we’d walked 1/4 mile in the wrong direction. Oops! We back-tracked and figured out where we went wrong.

Ruby Wash Trail

As you travel further into Ruby Wash, red rock walls rise up to create a Sedona-esque canyon. This section is by far one of the coolest spots in Red Mountain. I was glad Tori & Jack enjoyed it as much as I did when I first visited.

Ruby Wash

After 3.1 miles on the Ruby Wash Trail, we turned right on the Salt Lick Trail. This was one of the trails I hadn’t been on before and I was excited to see what it had to offer. The Salt Lick Trail is a shorter alternative to the Cheyenne Rim Trail, staying at the base of the Rim instead of climbing up it. It’s less scenic but a good alternative for those who can’t do a 12 mile hike.

Salt Lick Trail
Livestock water source
Photo: Tori
Approaching an interesting section of the Salt Lick Trail
It was fun to walk along this gully
Now into white rock country
Zoom of the white rock…a salt lick maybe? We didn’t check.

After 2.2 miles on the Salt Lick Trail, we followed the Big Hole Wash, Sinking Sun, and Rising Sun Trails back to the trailhead.


17 thoughts on “Red Mountain Loop | Colorado | 11/21/20

  1. Once again, a nice trail with nice details on your post.

    I have a question regarding the livestock water source. Are there many of these water sources across this trail? and can you filter out water from there so you can drink/cook?


    1. I think there is one other besides this one in Red Mountain. The area was (and may still occasionally be) used for cattle grazing so the tanks were originally installed for that, but people ride horses here and these are their water source as well. I don’t believe camping is allowed so you likely wouldn’t need to filter water, but it did look fairly clean so could likely be filtered if needed. There is also a stream nearby that generally has enough of a trickle flowing to filter.


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