Red Rock Open Space to Palmer Loop


9.5 miles

2000’ elevation gain (approximate)

Today the weather was absolutely beautiful, but I had limited time (Cookie Booth at 2pm). I met up with Dave at the Red Rock Open Space North Lot for a hike through Red Rock Open Space and the Palmer Loop. I’ve hiked Red Rock Open space several times, usually sticking to the Quarry Trail.  I knew it connected with Section 16 trails, but I wasn’t sure exactly how.

We started on the Mesa Trail, and took it to the Intenman / Section 16 trail connection. From there we followed the Palmer Loop for 5.5 miles, diverting only once to take the Waterfall Trail (out and back).  The waterfall was completely frozen.  I love frozen waterfalls!


The Loop eventually connected with Lower Gold Camp Road, which I found very interesting. I’ve been meaning to explore Gold Camp Road for some time now.  We only hiked a small portion of the road, so I’ll need to come back to explore more.  It’s fun how you can hike for miles and miles, only to end up on a road and near a parking lot, then get back on the trail to head back to the parking lot you originally parked in.  I feel more familiar with the ‘other’ Red Rock Open Space and Section 16 trailheads.

Parts of the trail (those in the sun) were completely dry and warm, which made for lovely hiking. Other parts, however, were in canyons and covered in shade.  Those areas were icy, slippery, and very cold.  Beautiful though!


The final part of the trail took us on a hill with great views of Colorado Springs (and the landfill…)

We started at 7am and were done at 11am.

Author: Laura M Clark

Laura has summited over 500 peaks above 13,000' solo, including being the first woman to solo summit all of the Colorado 14ers, as well as the centennials. After each hike, she writes trip reports for each one and publishes them on her blog, which is read by fans all over the world. Author of Wild Wanderer: Summiting Colorado’s 200 Highest Peaks, which is available to purchase on Amazon.

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