Away from the Grind

Palmer Park, Colorado Springs, CO

by Roselyn Ludwig

The Oasis in the Middle of Colorado Springs, CO

Location:Palmer Park sits right in the middle of Colorado Springs.  There are two entrances to the park.

To the WEST entrance: take Fillmore east, just past the major intersection at Union Blvd; you will see some medical office buildings, and then the golf course on the left.  Turn LEFT onto Paseo Rd, just at the end of the golf course.  It is a small street, but the sign is clearly visible.  Paseo winds past the golf course, through a residential area, and right into the park.  The actual park entrance is gated and marked by signs.

To the EAST entrance:  From Academy Blvd, turn WEST onto Maizeland.  There is a large park right there at that intersection, that’s the east end of Palmer Park.  The entrance is about 250 yards up on Maizeland, also gated and marked with signs.

What you need to know:The only restrooms are at the west entrance. They appear to be seasonal. There are picnic tables in several areas, but there is no water available, so make sure to bring your own.  Pets are welcome, in fact there is a dog park near the east entrance.  Wear good sneakers, and bring your mountain bike if you have one.

What you’ll find:From either entrance, the road winds up into the park.  There are numerous turn-offs for trails and picnic areas.  Eventually you will come to a fork: the southwest branch leads to a fabulous overlook with a panoramic view of the mountains.  The other fork will lead you through the park and eventually out the other side.

The trails are fairly wide and well-used.  If you’re hiking, do keep an ear open for mountain bikers as they can come up on you pretty quick, and may not be able to see you until they’re nearly on top of you.

The lanscape is made up of sandstone conglomerate that has eroded into small bluffs, slots, and the occasional small spire or hoodoo.  It is a relatively dry landscape; the primary vegetation consists of mountain mahogany, juniper, small pines, and thickets of scrub oak.  Yucca, prickly pear, and wild currants are also common in various parts of the park, and all areas of the park have a nice variety of seasonal wildflowers.  The park is home to coyotes, foxes, mule deer, cottontails, and a wide variety of birds and insects.

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