Palmer Park sits on 730 acres within the city of Colorado Springs. City founder Gen. William Jackson Palmer donated the bulk of the land to the city in 1902. More than 25 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding now intertwine the beloved public park, the largest in the metro area, located off North Academy Boulevard and Austin Bluffs Parkway.
This park is marked by unique rock structures along trails that act as escape portals out of the city. Viewpoints include scenes of Pikes Peak, the southern Front Range, and the city.
Visitors can choose from any difficulty, elevation gain or length of trail. Seven picnic areas are open to the public, and three areas are available to reserve for large groups. Round up your teams on beach volleyball courts, a baseball/softball field, or a football/soccer field. Dogs are welcome along any trail while on-leash, and able to run off leash in the Dog Run Area in the north end and the Mesa Dog Park in the south end.
A geological point of interest, Seven Castles, is a 0.7 mile loop trail used primarily by hikers. This trail is rated as easy for the whole family. The Seven Castles are spires of rocks formed in a line that give an impression of a castle.
A moderate-rated trail is the Templeton Trail that rings the top of the mesa and features stunning views, wildflowers and canyons. The trail gains 524 feet over 3.9 miles with a few steep areas.
The Yucca Trailhead provides the biggest parking lot. Visitors see a botanical reserve for the Colorado-native Yucca plant. This trail is rated as moderate.
Among the highest rated trails in Palmer Park is the Outer Loop Trail, which is comprised of easy walking to difficult hiking sections through rock gardens. This 7.4-mile trail has an 849-foot elevation gain that is perfect for an all day adventure, providing a good workout.