Staff Picks! Our Favorite Trails on Palmer Protected Properties

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There is a reason why we all have chosen to work at Palmer Land Trust. We LOVE nature and we love to get outside. This month, the staff got together to talk about our favorite trails on Palmer protected properties and the reasons why. We hope you enjoy - and let us know some of your favorites too!

Amber’s Pick - Elder-Fehn trail at Catamount Ranch Open Space

Take Edlow Rd off of Hwy 24 between Woodland Park and Divide. Take Edlow to the Catamount Recreation Area Parking Lot. This trail connects with numerous other trails in the area, is far enough from town where it is typically less crowded, and has some incredible views of the Peak! If you take one of the other loops, you can get to North and South Catamount Reservoirs

Candice’s Pick - Bear Creek Regional Park

My favorite trail is lower Bear Creek Trail in Bear Creek Regional Park.  This easily accessible trail is just minutes from downtown Colorado Springs. It is a multi-use trail welcoming equines, bicyclists, runners, and walkers. While on the trail enjoy views of the front range, downtown and wide-open vistas of the eastern plains. 

Ed’s Pick - Section 16

Editor’s note: Full disclosure - Ed is an ultra-athlete, so his idea of respite is more like our pain! But his pick is a good one nonetheless - 17 miles worth of trail and beautiful views.

One of my favorite trail-runs goes through four Palmer-conserved properties: Section 16, Iron Mountain Open Space, Red Mountain Open Space, and the Koerner Property.  I start at Section 16, then do the Palmer Loop Trail and the Intemann Trail to Manitou Springs, up the Incline, down the Barr Trail, then return the way I came along the Intemann and Palmer Loop Trails.

Espy’s Pick - Bluestem Prairie Open Space

I have had the utter privilege of visiting so many different properties this summer through my position as the summer fellow. I have been floored by the different views, ecosystems and people I have met through the properties. I think one of my favorite open spaces protected by Palmer is Bluestem Prairie Open Space. You don't need to change elevation on this property to be in awe of the view every single way you look. To the east, you have grass waving at the sky and the mountains planted against the blue sky. I felt held in the vastness of the prairie and the sense that I was truly alone. 

Michael’s Pick - Section 16/Palmer Trail 

This loop trail has amazing views of the Pike National Forest and Colorado Springs, and features impressive rock formations certain to entertain even the amateur geologist. I typically do the loop counterclockwise which starts out with a very challenging hill climb that ascends most of the elevation to a height 7,830 feet! It is an intense start, but the gradual descent offers tremendous views and appeasing turns that make this trail a fun opportunity to explore the intricacies of the forest as it ascends the Front Range. Additionally, the trails provide connectivity to Red Rocks Open Space as well as the Ring the Peak Trail system. 

Rebecca’s Pick - Garden of the Gods

I love hiking on the east side of Garden of the Gods in early morning or late evening when the world is quiet. The view of Pikes Peak is second to none. Palmer Land Trust has protected the backdrop of The Garden to ensure that this amazing park always inspires awe and peace.

Palmer is honored to have protected 19 public parks and open spaces for you, forever. Be sure to check out the list of properties by clicking here. We hope to see you on the trail!