Expert's Pick


This vast playground on the north side demonstrates the true greatness of Colorado Springs, where an escape into deep nature is easy. It is strange and marvelous to look out at urban sprawl while perched on some high rock ledge, surrounded by rugged wilderness. Surely, the park would make its namesake proud: City founder Gen. William Jackson Palmer wanted tourists to have easy access to beauty. More than anywhere in the city, this place might afford the single best views of Pikes Peak in all its stately glory. Start at the Yucca Flats parking lot, smack-dab in a meadow with panoramas of the hazy blue mountain range. Get on the Templeton Trail, a loop of about 4 miles that is treasured by mountain bikers near and far. The path is a thrill ride, sandy and rocky with chutes to soar down. Bizarre hoodoos rising along the trail are a particular treat. Don't feel bad about losing the trail; it disappears at times in boulder patches. Then it reappears. lt's another thing that makes Palmer Park awesome: It's easy to get lost and found again.