Not your typical “city hike,” the Templeton Trail is a challenging loop that takes hikers past many unusual rock formations and to some more remote areas of Palmer Park in Colorado Springs.

Begin this loop route by parking on Brenner Place off Austin Bluffs Parkway, in the Greencrest Trailhead area (northeast corner of the large park area). Keep in mind that this loop encircles the north half of the park, staying north of Paseo Road that bisects the park.

Work your way uphill from trailhead to a small wooden post sign for the Templeton Trail, just north of the Lazyland Picnic Area. This short social trail leads to Templeton and climb a few switchbacks. Make note of the terrain and some wooden steps that serve as good landmarks to get you back to parking area at the end of the hike. The climb ends at a T-intersection where the loop begins and ends. Bear left to follow the loop route clockwise.

Follow the trail signposts to stick with the Templeton Trail, as other trails intersect the route. It winds its way southward, following the contour of the terrain. Parts of the rocky terrain are difficult but hikers are rewarded with unusual sandstone rock formations along the way.

After about a mile, where Templeton climbs to the top of the mesa and hits a T-intersection at the Yucca Trail, bear left and travel a short distance to the Yucca Flats trailhead parking area. Jump back on the Templeton Trail from the road near the parking area, briefly heading south then swinging westward along the terrain contour.

Continue following the trail and contour as it winds northward and westward below the mesa area. Eventually hikers hit an intersection with the western terminus of the Mesa Trail, about 1.5 miles from the Yucca Flats trailhead. From here, about 1.25 miles remain.

Continue along Templeton while still following the contour to the northwest. Then, swing northeast along the back end of the loop. This section is more remote and hikers may not see many people here while sticking to the main route that travels along the base of some steep cliffs.

Near the end of the loop the trail swings eastward and it can be tricky to follow the main route with side and social trails along the way, so stick to the contour heading eastward until reaching the intersection where the loop began.

Relocate the landmarks for the short spur that heads downhill and back to the Greencrest Trailhead area and the Brenner Place street parking.

Joe LaFleur has lived in Woodland Park since 2016 and is a hiking enthusiast who hits the trails weekly. Contact Joe with questions or feedback at joelafleur@tds.net. Hiking is great exercise, but can be hazardous. Always be sure to plan well, check the weather, bring a printed map, tell someone where and when you are going and contact them when you return safely.

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