We had a destination in mind on our last visit to Palmer Park. That’s the first mistake one makes at this signature Colorado Springs preserve.
It’s true adventure here, wild and rugged. And true adventure means accepting the mystery. With widely unmarked trails, one must be willing to go where they don’t exactly know.
That’s the thrill. Whether on foot or saddle — the park is a mountain bike and equestrian paradise — go with an open mind. Roam for whatever emerges next: forests, bluffs, and yucca-covered flats with breathtaking views of Pikes Peak.
But back to our destination. The trail name was irresistible: Palmer Point.
From the North Canyon trailhead, we followed the sandy path along the road, going west. At an equipment staging area, we spotted the singletrack running up the grassy hillside, topped with rocky promontories.
The views were refreshing until it seemed we entered a neighborhood tour. Trees were on one side of us, stucco roofs on the other — defining the Springs’ ever-encroaching urban sprawl. You’d be wise to depart for the Templeton Trail, climbing to those outcrops.
But we continued on, reaching the unfortunate rush of Austin Bluffs Parkway. The Palmer Point Trail hooks right for the woods that are interrupted by a power plant. Near 1½ miles, we scrambled up rocks to overlook the mosaic, including the impossibly shaped Sunrise Sentinel.
Back at the parking lot, another Palmer Point terminal is across the street, on the south side. It quickly becomes the Grandview Trail. We hung right for the South Canyon Trail and soon came indeed to a grand view, an awesome panorama atop a platform of multicolored rocks.
Whether this was Palmer Point, we weren’t sure. But we were satisfied.
Trip log: 4.2 miles round trip (out and back), 450-feet elevation gain
Getting there: North Canyon trailhead parking lot beside Mark Reyner Stables, 3254 Paseo Road. If coming from Interstate 25, exit for Fillmore Street, going east. Continue for North Circle Drive and turn left onto Paseo Road. Trailhead will be on the left.
FYI: Multiuse trails. Dogs on leash. Icy in winter; use traction.
SETH BOSTER, THE GAZETTE