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Section 16/Palmer Trail

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Beautiful mountain scenery, spectacular views, old pine forest, mountain streams
Near:Colorado Springs, CO
Distance:6 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:800 ft
Hike Time:3 hours
Trail Condition:Well maintained trail

Summary: This beautiful trail begins in the desert landscape of Colorado's front range, and winds around the foothills until it begins to climb steadily into the mountains. Here the landscape changes to a thick forest of pine trees. Be sure to notice the great view of the Garden of the Gods to the north (at the beginning of the hike), and the many points on the trail that offer spectacular views of the city and of the Pikes Peak foothills. My favorite spot in the hike is the log bridge and mountain stream. In the fall, winter, and early spring the cascading stream is frozen solid as it rushes down the mountain.

This trail begins fairly steep, so pace yourself if you are not yet acclimated to the altitude and dry air. Also, during fall and spring, realize that even though it may be warm at the trailhead, the highest point of the hike is about 1000 feet higher, so you may be in significantly colder weather for a short time.

Trailhead: From Colorado Springs, take Highway 24 west and turn left (south) onto 21st street. Turn right on Gold Camp Road and continue straight through the four-way stop sign. The trailhead and main parking lot is on the right just a few minutes up the road, with overflow and large vehicle parking just past it on the left. (Lat:38.82243 Lon:-104.89042)
Trail Guides for Section 16/Palmer Trail:
Hiking Colorados Front Range
by Bob DAntonio (Globe Pequot Press)

Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Bikes, Horses,
Ranger Contact: City of Colorado Springs Park/Pike National Forest 719-385-5944
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Laura Pate
Trail Reviews  Page 1 of 9   Submit your own review
Reviewed by KP on 5/28/2016
Okay I have been looking for a new Waldo Canyon and I can't believe I have lived here for 18 years and have never done this hike. I started out on the Gold Camp Rd side It's the side where the Porta Potty is. Pretty much where you start. I felt the trail was very clear and the first 2 miles or so up is pretty steep but doable. Once you get to the top the views are amazing. They are amazing throughout also but the top and coming down is incredible. When you finish the loop you will come out a dirt road called High Drive make a right because there is no sign saying what the dirt road is. You will come to a gate with a house, just step over the gate, pass the house, take, a left onto the road, walk up the hill to your vehicle:)

Reviewed by KL on 8/9/2015
Hiked this yesterday. Great day hike! I think the person complaining below took a wrong turn. There are places where the trail splits. Ask yourself which one looks more like the main trail and take that one. Other than a 25-30 minute steep climb, I didn't encounter any obstacles.

Reviewed by glenn on 3/6/2015
Pauline (and anyone else): Invest in a set of Microspikes. Kathoola's work well for me. With spikes, you'll crunch effortlessly through snow-pack and ice. Especially good on section 16 for great spring and fall hikes when the weather is good and the crowds are non-existent.

Reviewed by TC on 2/11/2015
Pauline perhaps you should stick to the paved trails in the Garden of the Gods.

Reviewed by Pauline on 11/29/2014
First, the trails (not much more than a deer trail) are not well maintained. There is a section past the mountain top where the hiker literally has to do rock climbing a la spider man to round the bend because even the deer path is washed out and down the slope. Also, it is not a year round hike unless you like skating part of the way down the deer trail. The views would be fantastic if you could take your eyes off the path long enough to look at them. However, if fun for you is hanging by your fingernails to get from one end of a path to the next, grabbing on to whatever you can to pass over the ice on a deer trail path, this hike is for you.

Reviewed by CTA on 6/16/2014
I encountered the bagged poop this weekend being left in the side of the trail. Then someone came around the corner and picked it up like he knew it was there. I think his dog dropped it right after it started and he did'nt want to carry it for 3 hrs. so he picked it up on the way back down. Not sure if that is etiquete or not, but at least he gatheed it

Reviewed by Vic on 4/28/2014
This has become my new personal favorite this Spring! Great workout at the beginning, open at first then shaded in the trees - beautiful! Lookout at the top about 1/3 of loop. Nice views on the rest of the loop. Good hike to get you warmed up for the rest of the summer season! I've heard the same about vandalism - do NOT leave valuables in the car. Enjoy!

Reviewed by AK on 12/9/2013
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Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: Colorado Hiking, Colorado Trails, Colorado Hikes, El Paso County Hiking, El Paso County Trails, El Paso County Hikes

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