RT Length: 4.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1742’

It was COLD when we woke up this morning, but thankfully, the heater did it’s job.


However, unlike yesterday when I woke up and got up with my alarm, today I decided I needed another hour of sleep. So we didn’t make it to the trailhead until much later than we’d wanted (we got the last spot in the parking lot).



The trail was well marked and easy to follow. Every time there was an option (junction) we turned left, following the mountain and heading up.



We even encountered some nuns. At first I thought they were hikers dressed as the grim reaper (hey, it’s been going on with this whole Coronavirus thing). They told us to have a blessed day.




You hit a kind of saddle after 1.6 miles. Here’s a basic overview of the rest of the route


The tricky part is knowing when to veer off trail. After hiking for 2.1 miles along this trail you turn right and bushwhack northeast up the mountain, or use one of the several of available game trails. All are equally steep. We took a different one up and back so we’d have a couple of good gpx routes.


At the top you’ll come to a boulder, and yes, this boulder is the highpoint.


There’s a class 4 chimney you need to climb to get to the top (towards the left… the boulder on the right isn’t the summit).


Some people might consider this class 3, but to anyone under 6 feet I can assure you, it’s class 4 and requires commitment.



There was a summit register at the top with tons of cool stuff inside.



We headed back down a slightly different way to the main trail


And easily followed it back to the section 16 trailhead


Note: the elevation gain was constant and more difficult than anticipated, especially for such a short hike. Here’s my topo of the route:


Now, on to the next trailhead!

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.