Palmer Trail - Section 16 Loop

Consensus:    (details)
  4.1 from 15 votes
black  Difficult from 13 votes
Rank: #1 in the Bear Creek Canyon Regional Park area
#49 in CO, #218 Overall
Views: 7,578. Last 30 days: 288
Condition Details | Update
Aug 23 Green - Dry
Featured Ride in the area near Manitou Springs,
“A Colorado Springs Classic, challenging climb with a screaming descent.”
Andrew Judkins on Oct 15, 2013
Getting There     GPX File     Print
5.48.7 milesKilometers 1,263’385 m Ascent 7,847’2,392 m High 9% Avg Grade (5°)
85% Singletrack -1,277’-389 m Descent 6,629’2,020 m Low 33% Max Grade (18°)
This trail makes you forget that you are just a few miles from a metropolis. Great views and excellent riding.

Crowded with hikers on weekends/holidays. Erosion on the descent has made that section loose and challenging.
Need To Know
Start in Red Rock Canyon for more singletrack and elevation gain, or link it up with High Drive, Captain Jacks, Columbine, Buckhorn and Bear Creek for an epic day of climbing.
Get to the TH by driving south on 26th Street from Hwy 24. Turn right on Gold Camp Rd at the 4-way stop, TH will be on the right in about a mile. If the lot is full there is more parking further up the street, full lot = bad day to chase KOMs.

Start by riding south on Gold Camp Rd, turn right at the intersection to head up High Drive (bike/horse gate on right side). Grunt up High Drive for 3/4 miles and find the new (summer '13) entrance trail on your right (THANKS Medicine Wheel). It is about .1 miles past the old metal entrance gate.

Climb the winding singletrack for 2 miles until you reach a saddle and an intersection. Left takes you 1/3 mile up to private property at Crystal Park Rd. Turn right and catch your breath while you flow along the ridge for a mile to a fantastic viewpoint.

If you borrowed your brother's Huffy, turn around and descend the way you came (watch out for hikers behind blind turns). Otherwise cowboy/cowgirl up, drop your seat, strap on your elbow/knee pads and charge down Section 16 Trail. It is easier to see hikers on this part of the trail, but stay on your toes and control your speed. Stay right at a the 3-way intersection with Intemann Trail (you may not see it if you are still going warp-speed).

Plow through a few short technical sandstone sections and go straight at the 4-way trail intersection. This will drop you down a chossy luge to Gold Camp Rd, where you can turn right and ride .1 mile to your car. You can also turn right at the intersection, but you'll have to deal with hikers and stairs.
View in 3D
5.0 (3)
4,500+ ft of downhill, anything else to you could ask for?
near Manitou Springs, CO
4.1 (35)
A classic tour of Cheyenne Canyon - a long, scenic climb up followed by a cla...
near Colorado Springs, CO
4.1 (11)
Better than Garden Of the Gods!
near Manitou Springs, CO

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PHOTOS of Palmer Trail - Section 16 Loop
  3.5 from 4 votes
View east from Palmer Red Rock loop (Manitou Springs, CO)
  3.3 from 3 votes
Amazing view after a long climb! (Manitou Springs, CO)
  3.0 from 3 votes
Looking down on Colorado Springs, almost to the top of the loop... (Manitou Springs, CO)
  3.0 from 3 votes
Nice view on the way to the top... (Manitou Springs, CO)
  2.7 from 3 votes
Some of the fastest sections of trail will have obstacles like this to s... (Manitou Springs, CO)
  2.7 from 3 votes
Forest on Palmer Red Rock loop (Manitou Springs, CO)
  2.3 from 3 votes
View east towards Colorado Springs. (Manitou Springs, CO)
  2.3 from 3 votes
Taking a rest at the top of the climb. (Manitou Springs, CO)
  2.3 from 3 votes
View west to Mount Garfield. (Manitou Springs, CO)
  2.0 from 3 votes
Heading up Gold Camp Road. (Manitou Springs, CO)