52 Hike Challenge: Palmer Trail (1/52)

This past Sunday, I took some time to myself and hit the trails. It was the first hike of the new year, and it only seemed fair to do one of my favorite trails in the area. If you are a hiker and aren’t familiar with the 52 Hike Challenge, definitely check out their website. I did not complete the challenge last year, despite a strong start to the year, but I fully intend to finish it this year.

Palmer Trail (Section 16) is a 6 mile hike in Bear Creek Canon Park, just behind the Red Rocks Canyon Open Space. Depending on which way you go up to the peak, it can be either difficult or nice & leisurely. The elevation gain is still 1,292 feet, but one side of the loop hits that a lot quicker than the other.

I love this trail for a LOT of reasons. One, it’s physically challenging. This time of year there is a lot of snow (as you can see) so taking my micro spikes and a trekking pole was necessary. There are some sharp sections of the trail where the ice will get the best of you if you aren’t careful (yet I saw plenty of ill-prepared hikers & runners).

I particularly love this trail because of the open space and view near the peak. It’s a truly beautiful spot, and hard to believe that just outside the city lies this gorgeous, serene space, where all you can hear is the wind and the birds. If you tackle this trail, plan on spending some time up here, just soaking it all in. I promise it’s worth an extra 15-20 minutes to enjoy the serenity. Your mind will thank you.

This trail is a pretty popular one, so don’t expect to be totally alone. That said, I have noticed many don’t sit near the top for long, and so you can almost always get some good quality alone time.

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