Over half a mile in 2 dog loops at Red Rock

       Two dog- trail loops have opened at Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
       Located about a half-mile from the parking lot off Ridge Road/High Street, the loops are the only places in Red Rock where people can walk their dogs without leashes.
       However, that doesn't mean leashless dogs are allowed to run around the loop areas, explained Sarah Keith of Colorado Springs Parks. The mostly treeless terrain inside both loops is being revegetated - having been scraped for dirt during the years that Red Rock was in private hands - and is also full of barrel cactus, she pointed out.
       The two loops are on flat areas, one about 50 feet higher than the other, that jut off west of the Mesa Trail. The lower loop is .17 mile long, while the upper is .35 mile. The upper loop also has a connection to the park's Sand Canyon Trail.
       Both loop trails were cut last year by city crews. City plans are in keeping with a master plan that grew out of public meetings for Red Rock use in 2004. No volunteer dog group is currently involved, Keith said.
       Users of the loops are asked to clean up after their dogs. A dispenser for plastic bags is at the parking lot. Future city plans call for dispensers to be installed at the loop entrances as well.
       A recent weekend afternoon at Red Rock Canyon revealed only light use of the loops. “Some people use them, but I don't think a lot of people know they're there,” Keith said. “And there's so much to explore in the rest of the park. But over time they'll grow more popular.”
       The 788.1-acre Red Rock Canyon Open Space was bought by the city in late 2003. The park has been opening gradually, chiefly as trails get built (seven miles in all now), since fall 2004. The second of three planned trailheads is to be built off 31st Street south of Highway 24 this year, as is a permanent parking lot at the High Street trailhead.

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