Explore the most popular nature trips trails near Palmer Lake with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

We didn't make it all the way around - also couldn't find the left (southern) fork at the beginning! It was very steel for about 1.5 miles, the kids were dying (I blame video games.) But we found some great rocks to jump on and will go back for a second attempt.

hiking
10 days ago

As others have said the ascent from the parking lot going up to Chautauqua peak is steep with many small switchbacks. There are also at least three false summits, so don’t get any ideas you’ve made it the first time. But each viewpoint is worthwhile.
I did not like cutting through the neighborhoods on the way back to the parking lot. I would recommend taking the road back down by the reservoir and out that way.

The first leg of this trail up to and along the reservoir (roughly 1.5 miles) had excellent views and a nice wide small gravel road that was ideal for my family. My wife and I took this trail and backpacked our 2 and 4 year olds and it was a good workout. That said, please be very careful and aware of the turn back toward the reservoir on the ice cave creek section. It is not marked and we missed it and ended up off course on Swank Trail then had to back track, and on the recommendation of a hiker cut over to the Sundance valley trail which was a very steep climb and descent back to the reservoir with a kid on your back! Our 3.8 turned into 6.6. It was a very nice trail, but be aware of the turn back and would not recommend the Sundance valley section with kids.

Nice 2 hour hike. The start is pretty steep so I would rate this moderate to hard. We ended up taking the road back past the Palmer reservoirs which are scenic.

This is our favorite trail. We have several geocaches on here and today we decided to hike from the Palmer Lake side and it’s a lot easier to hike, but longer. Trail is in full bloom from the recent rainfall.

Nice wander through the forest for a morning hike.

Hiked the whole loop this morning with my daughters 7 & 4 and we are occasional hikers. Just so that others know that hiking with kids is fine. We started on the right side of the loop, which is a gentle ascend to the summit. The descend is steep but still doable, I have seen worse than this. Although I believe starting from the left side of the loop would be better so that you do the steep section first and I think ascending the steep section would be easier than descending the same. The whole trail is well shaded and you won’t need to put on sunscreen. For the first timers: the left side of the loop might not be recognizable but basically just go left as soon as you enter the trailhead and look for some trail. Fun part: we weren’t able to spot the balanced rock! may be we were having a lot of fun with our group!

Great 5 mile loop. Short side of Chautauqua Mountain is extremely steep. I would recommend climbing the steep side first and descending balanced rock and Palmer reservoir side. The best views come from the mountains after Chautauqua.

Beautiful hike! Wild strawberries, raspberries and roses. But heads up the road up to the hike is sketchy!!! Dirt road with lots of bumps and boulders and a sheer drop off on the side. Very narrow in several places. I was glad we brought my husbands suv because there is no way my car would have made it up!

Great hike with beautiful views!

This trail was harder than I was expecting. A lot of really really long steep areas and loose gravel areas that made me fall several times. Great workout and was deserted on a Saturday night (only saw two hikers and a couple mountain bikers the entire hike). Trail starts (or ends) walking through a neighborhood for a long time which is sorta odd but there’s areas of this hike that are really beautiful.

So here’s the deal... this a good hike without kids. Views are amazing. Wildflowers are stunning. The last 1.5-2 miles down is KILLER. Narrow trail with slick gravel. Stop at the lake with kids and backtrack out.

Nice steep climb. Coming back down was the hardest part. View from Chautauqua is not the best. Treed on top but good views before on the ridge. Awesome that it has a log to sign on top. Fun to read other climber's entries.

off road driving
3 months ago

Trail was completely covered in snow. No signs of anyone going down trail in quite some time.

on Hotel Gulch Road

off road driving
5 months ago

Late posting on the review.

This is fun, short trail that connects Rampart Range Road to the 67. For purposes of writing this review, I am beginning the trail off of the 67.

Passing the hotel grounds on your left (or alternatively on your right), you start to go uphill, towards a honeymoon cabin on the left side of the road. Prior to getting there, however, the trail was heavily covered in ice. When we completed this trail in reverse in January, we were coming the opposite direction and just did a controlled slide down. I am not sure of the current condition of that section.

If you continue up from the honeymoon cabin, the road becomes more rocky and bumpy. (We saw stock trucks on our route both times we have been through here.) The trail will lead up to a flat area where there is likely a pond in the summer time. Kind of a cool area.

Pushing further up hill towards Rampart Range Road, the trail is bumpy, but less rocky than the beginning.

This is an easy trail that has some scenic areas in it. As the name implies (Gulch), you will not get a ton of high-point scenic views on this trail, but bet it will be awesome in the Spring.

Only people out there today. Found all the ice hiding under the snow but a really nice hike. Looking forward to doing again in the spring.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Try on weekend for less crowd but good hike none the less

hiking
Sunday, July 02, 2017

Great little trail. Nothing to crazy on it. The aspens and boulders are awesome to look at. Take the different routes if you do an out and back. Some great camping spots along the way.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

first time in that area. Dog enjoyed running. beautiful.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Beautiful hike. Shooting is NO longer allowed in this area. Highly recommend!

hiking
1 month ago

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