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    Palmer Trail Section 16

    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    9.2 km
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    394 m
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    Directions to Trailhead

    The Palmer Trail Section 16 is an amazing circuit hike near Colorado Springs. This path travels through a wonderful wilderness escape through diverse topographies, including red rock outcroppings, mixed pine forestlands, brush meadows, and wide creek canyons. Whether you are seeking a quick mountain bike or a day-trek, this revered adventure through the Manitou Section 16 Open Space and Bear Creek Cañon Park will not disappoint.

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    Route Description for Palmer Trail Section 16

    Immerse yourself in the wilderness and let the fresh air fill your lungs as you explore the Palmer Trail Section 16. This trek attracts after-work and weekend escapees from the city, conveniently located near Colorado Springs. With stunning scenery and diverse landscapes, there is no surprise that locals and visitors alike flock to Bear Creek Cañon Park. Bustling on weekends, the Palmer Trail Section 16 is best explored on weekday mornings to beat the crowds. Traveling deep into the wilderness warrants a tranquil experience, but wildlife encounters are inherent risks. If you are worried about mountain lions or bears, consider wearing a bear bell to deter a confrontation.

    The Palmer Trail Section 16 is a beautiful trail that adventurers of most skill levels can enjoy, including children and novice hikers. Delivering beautiful and interesting scenery, this stimulating excursion will keep you motivated every step of the way. Admire vistas of the Garden of Gods, the Red Rocks, the plains, and the Front Range peaks all from one lookout. Open year-round; you can enjoy this circuit path in the winter months with a pair of snowshoes and some extra stamina to wade through the snow cloaked terrain. If you seek a panoramic day hike near Colorado Springs, we strongly urge you to venture the Palmer Trail Section 16.

    Begin your journey along the Palmer Trail Section 16 from the Section 16 Trailhead off Gold Camp Road. The direction by which you complete the loop is up to your discretion, but for clarity’s sake, we describe the route in a counter-clockwise direction. From the trailhead, keep right and track the Section 16 Trail up a set of stairs and along the exposed path lined with red rocks. The unshaded path can be unbearably hot in the summer months, so make sure to pack a sunhat and wear sunscreen! Traveling through low brush fields and outcroppings, this section of the route boasts vistas of the Red Rocks and Garden of Gods below.

    Now heading west, the path will guide you into the ponderosa pine woodlands. Enjoy the shade of the lush vegetation and deep and eye out for camouflaging wildlife. Then, you will ascend into a more sparsely shaded area by navigating a few switchbacks. You will be rewarded with sights of the Front Range peaks from the tree break from here. Revel in the view of the expansive and lush wilderness that stretches for as far as the eye can see and continue trekking. There are intersecting and merging routes with the Section 16 Trail, but simply ignore these and maintain on the worn path.

    Eventually, the path will guide you south, descending back into a more densely wooded segment. As you wander through the forest-lined path decorated with the odd granite outcropping, the route will curve southeast. Finally, descending into Bear Creek Canyon, the Section 16 Trail will come to an end. Here, keep left, and you will be diverted onto the High Drive Trail, which will lead you through the wide-walled canyon of Bear Creek. Enjoy the sights and mesmerizing sounds of the babbling waters as you make your way east, nearing the end of your adventure. The High Drive Trail will ultimately deliver you to Gold Camp Road, which you will need to cross to get back to your vehicle.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How long is the Palmer Trail Section 16?

    The Palmer Trail Section 16 is a 9.2 km circuit hike.

    Are dogs permitted on the Palmer Trail Section 16?

    Yes, dogs on-leash are permitted on the Palmer Trail Section 16.

    Is there a fee to access the Palmer Trail Section 16?

    No, there is no charge to hike the Palmer Trail Section 16.

    Insider Hints for Palmer Trail Section 16

    • Be wary of wildlife, including bears and mountain lions—particularly at dawn and dusk.
    • When trekking in summer afternoons be sure to wear sunscreen as sections of the path are exposed.
    • Enjoy the trail in the winter months with a pair of snowshoes!
    • Pack plenty of water as there are no water sources along the initial segment of the hike.

    Getting to the Palmer Trail Section 16 Trailhead

    The Palmer Trail Section 16 is accessed via the Section 16 Trailhead off Gold Camp Road.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground


    • When to do


    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage


    • Crowd Levels


    • Route Type


    Palmer Trail Section 16 Elevation Graph

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