In the Meet the Marmots team page I talked about my favorite run in the Pikes Peak region: a 10-11 mile loop connecting Red Rock Canyon Open Space to Section 16. I've been doing it regularly, especially since I've started training for the wonderful Triple Crown of Running.
These are fairly popular trails - not exactly hidden gems - but I like this run so much nonetheless I thought I'd share an overview thanks to the fancy Relive app.
I like the run for a number of reasons, mainly the varied terrain and the steep climb followed by a long smooth downhill gallop. Section 16 sounds like the name of a gulag, but is a gorgeous trail.
Check it out the Relive video for yourself:
Importantly, it's easy to access, and is the perfect route and distance to be challenging but also realistically achievable on, say, a weekday evening. It helps to be pragmatic when training for the TCR - regularly driving somewhere remote or higher in elevation sounds great in theory, but rarely works in practice if you have a busy schedule or don't want to spend a fortune on gas while ballooning your carbon footprint. This run gives me a nearby challenging addition to my daily neighborhood routine, while still feeling like an escape from the city.
The trails aren't empty, but you definitely won't find the crowds that frequent the lower section of the Barr Trail. Nor will you have to stop to avoid photobombing the tourists in Garden of the Gods (aside from accidentally photobombing a few polite tourists, I've had some intrusively photograph me running. I have to remind myself that trail running is rather a novelty for many.)
I vary the exact route through the Red Rock Canyon Open Space every time I go, but here is an example on Strava: https://www.strava.com/routes/13875308
Note that the maps posted inside the open space, and on most apps and websites (including Strava, All Trails, and Friends of Red Rock Canyon) are fairly out of date for the time being. Go out and explore, or if you're a map nerd like me, the most accurate maps I've found of the area (and for most of the region) are the Pocket Pals Trail Maps or on the Mountain Biker-oriented Trailforks app.