Explore the most popular walking 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.

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!

The hike up is hard. Once you get to the second lake - it’s so, so beautiful!!! Go in the early morning.
You’ll see raspberries, wild blue berries and MANY flowers. Police DO patrol the area so follow the rules.

Steady up climb for over a mile, then easy. Nice lake and distance views with some interesting Rick formations. Most of the hike is in the sun but we had a very nice breeze.

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.

good incline, good views.

Nice gravel trail, just wish there was more shade.

A very beautiful hike all the way through. Mostly up hill but not that tiring

Easy hike and so, so beautiful! Perfect for families, too.

So beautiful, nice moderate hike!

beautiful busy trail

This was a great little hike! my 10 yr old son was a little discouraged at what appeared to be a "never-ending" uphill trek. However, after several rest and water breaks we made it to the far side of the 2nd reservoir - took us just over 1.5 hrs. We set up our hammock and he admitted that it was well worth the hike! The downhill took us just over 40 minutes - that included a few stops to play on a few of the boulders. Definitely a thumbs up!

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.

Nice short hike to a beautiful little lake

Great hike close by! Nice steady incline to the reservoir. Some shade along the way. Beautiful lake views. Definitely ok for kids and pets/ just keep them out of the water and clean up!

Beautiful area but please remember that dogs and people are NOT allowed in the water ever and dogs must be leashed. Also it is not an area that allows shooting and currently there is a fire ban. There are multiple signs up about this but I guess people just don't notice them? CO Fish and Wildlife was up and enforcing the rules thankfully, I'm sure they issued several tickets based on what I saw today. Suggest getting there early as it gets crowded during the summer, or going in the off season. Fall is a pretty time to go up with less crowds. Nice place to go if you live nearby and want to squeeze in a short hike with pretty views without driving too far. I believe there are other trails branching off this one too but I have yet to explore them.

Super beautiful. Hike was way more intense then people have made it out to be though. Incline was a lot steeper than we expected.

What a beautiful hike! I took four grandchildren ages 4-10 to the end of the trail. They had a blast. It’s pretty much all a slow incline up and if you have any wanderers keep an eye on them for there are some steep drop offs. It’s four miles each way, unless again you have a wanderer like I did, and I know it had to be at least nine miles for him as we zigzagged up...him wandering to the edge and me pulling him over to he far side of the trail. Yes, it was the four year old. I wouldn’t recommend it for any child younger than four unless you are willing to carry or pack them up. Coming down take it slow, the gravel is loose and it’s easy to slip. A walking stick would be a nice addition to your gear. There were lots of people on the trail, but it never felt crowded.

Good easy to moderate hike mostly up the service road to the reservoir. Occasional views back over the eastern plains / monument area. The reservoir was nice and quiet on a Monday evening. Great weeknight evening hike to avoid crowds.

SUCH a gorgeous hike. The further you go, the more beautiful it gets. A little up hill to get to the reservoirs, but totally worth it. Lots of pretty spots. Can’t wait to go back.

Loved the hike and the views. Gorgeous reservoir but not as kid friendly as I was hoping for.

More on the heavily trafficked side than moderately trafficked side. Make sure your dogs are leashed and kept far from the water (sign says 100 yards or fines up to $1000/1 year in jail)

Great early morning hike. Not many people and so serene.

Awesome views and great hike. Not too hard.

Really beautiful short hike. The incline up wasn’t too bad. We made it easily with a 7 year old a 10 year old and a dachshund. Started at about 8am and wasn’t too busy. Parking lot was full by the time we left though. The views were spectacular.

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.

Very nice trail not too busy for an early morning Thursday hike. We wondered off the path and up a ridge to find some pretty neat boulders.

Very good hike to start into our Summer hiking mode!

Fantastic trail for a good hike. The incline isn't too bad, and it was about 45 minutes up to Palmer Lake 2, coming down was much faster. The views at the lake are unbeatable.

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