Two Shoes Trek Challenge – Palmer Park 10 mile
Strava route: https://www.strava.com/routes/2727660321757680440
Strava segment: https://www.strava.com/segments/25109138
Hi! Welcome to one of the city’s best (and most confusing) parks. We hope this route will help you approach Palmer with confidence. We recommend following the Strava route “live” using the app or downloading the .gpx file to your watch or other navigational device to aid you while trying to execute the following directions. Oh, and -- watch out for rattlesnakes if running in the heat of the day, especially in the second loop up on the rocks.
For the 10-mile course, you create two concentric loops in the northern section of the park. Note that the first loop you stay low and circumnavigate the mesa; for the second loop, you’ll be up around the outer edge of the mesa. Try to stay on the edge, not dropping down or going too far toward the center of the mesa. Templeton Trail is the name of the game.
Waypoint 1 – Start | 0.0 miles
Begin at the small parking lot at the intersection of Paseo Road and Chelton Road. The Grandview Trail begins on the south side of Paseo and the east side of Chelton. The first sign says “Palmer Point Trail,” but you’ll soon see a marker to your left that says Grandview Trail.
Waypoint 2 – South Canon Trail | 0.1 miles
In 0.1 miles, you’ll come to the first turn of the course. Take a right onto South Canon Trail
Waypoint 3 – South Canon Trail/Cheyenne Trail | 0.3 miles
Take a hard right turn to stay on South Canon Trail. You’ll climb around and to the left, ascending a few rocky sections, before joining the Grandview Trail.
Waypoint 4 – Grandview Trail | 0.8 miles
Climb up and to the right on some cobblestone-like rocks before popping out onto the buff Grandview Trail. Take a right on Grandview, heading west.
Waypoint 5 – Grandview Overlook | 0.9 miles
Enjoy an unobstructed view of Colorado Springs and the western skyline. FOR A BONUS POINT, take a selfie with our city’s founder and this park’s namesake.
Turn around and take the same trail back east. Go past the junction where you climbed up from South Canon and continue working your way east.
Waypoint 6 – Cheyenne Trail | 1.2 miles
Take a slight left and enjoy a more technical option as you continue to make your way east. This trail rejoins Grandview in a tenth of a mile, but why take the easy way?
Waypoint 7 – Grandview Trail | 1.3 miles
At this large, signed intersection, turn left and continue heading east. Throughout this section, you approach the road on your righthand side, but you don’t actually want to cross the road until about 2.1 miles elapsed. Try to stay on the main, established path as you meander east and then north at a gentle grade. You will pass some major signed trail intersections with options heading off to your left; ignore these and stay mostly straight.
Here is an example of a confusing section through this part. Stay low and left, ignoring the side trail to the right.
Waypoint 8 – South Canon Junction 2 | 1.5 miles
Ignore this junction. Stay straight on Grandview.
Waypoint 9 – Enter the Meadow | 1.6 miles
Head straight up a small climb and pop out into a short stretch of trail across grassy field. You’ll again come close to the road, but don’t cross over yet. Stay straight, don’t take any sharp left turns.
No really, don’t get tempted by any exciting-looking trails off to the left! Stay straight.
Waypoint 10 – Confusion Alley | 1.8 miles
Look for this cute little short pole on the left to ensure you’re on the right track. (Going up and to the right will take you to the road, but you don’t want to do that yet.) This section gets a little squirrelly because of the rocky nature of the trail, but if you follow the bike tracks, you should stay on track. You will curve around a cliff edge (another good view to the west) and then head east again, where we’ll finally cross over the road.
Some scenes from Confusion Alley.
Waypoint 11 – Cross Paseo | 2.1 miles
Hopefully you have made it this far, with approximately 2.1 miles on your watch or other tracking device. After this point, we’ll be on Greencrest and Palmer Point trails for the rest of the route. After crossing the road, turn right.
A closer look at the sign after you cross Paseo. You are turning right here. Shortly after, you’ll see the sign pictured on the right to let you know you’re headed toward Greencrest trail.
Waypoint 12 – Dirt Road intersection | 2.3 miles
Stay straight on the trail and cross a dirt road that comes down from the paved road. (Don’t turn left on Greencrest trail.) You should see this chain stretched across another dirt road – go around the chain and stay straight on this road.
Waypoint 13 – Big intersection | 2.3 miles
At the end of the road, everything opens up into a wide junction. You want to go straight across and slightly left (going right will land you in a neighborhood).
There is a point after the intersection where the trail divides – you can actually either go left or right to get to the next major intersection. Carrie recommends going left!
Waypoint 14 – Five Points | 2.5 miles
To avoid ending up in someone’s backyard, head in the direction of the arrow when you get to this junction. You know you’re on the right track if you’re running under giant power lines. Follow the power lines for the next 0.4 miles along this gently undulating trail.
At left, the aforementioned power lines. This trail adoption sign is when you know it’s time to stop running under the power lines. Turn slightly left and run past the sign.
Waypoint 15 – Palmer Point | 3.0 miles
Cross the wide dirt road and look for a trail sign indicating you’re on Palmer Point. Take the singletrack to the right. This is the trail you’ll be on for the rest of the route as you curve around the northern and western edges of the park before arriving back where you started.
The singletrack will drop you back on the dirt road briefly, and you’ll run down it and through a wide open flat area. (Usually the site of an aid station for the Fall Series race here.) You’ll see Austin Bluffs Boulevard to your north; head toward the road and look for your next waypoint.
Waypoint 16 – Back on Trail | 3.2 miles
Head past the chained posts at the edge of the open area to pick up the singletrack again. You are again on Palmer Point trail.
At the far northwestern corner of the park (approx. 3.7 miles elapsed), turn left to stay on Palmer Point trail. There is a sign indicating you’re on the right track. You’ll pass behind a lot of nice backyards as you work your way south toward the stables.
Waypoint 17 – Templeton Junction | 4.2 miles
Those of you choosing to do the full 10 will have enough fun up there in due time, don’t worry. This time, pass by this sign on your left, but just keep going straight.
Catch a glimpse of the dumb hill of to the right that we always have to summit during the Fall Series – aren’t you glad you’re doing this race instead? Don’t turn off to the right at any point. Follow the main trail (marked as Palmer Point) as it bends back toward the west. There aren’t any major side trails here, so it should be smooth sailing.
Waypoint 18 – Horses, of Course | 4.8 miles
Follow this sign down and to the right – unless you want to get up close and personal with some new four-legged friends. The trail ends at the dirt driveway to the stables. Run down toward the paved road (Paseo) that you drove in on.
At the base of the stables driveway, pick up this sandy path to your left and follow it parallel to Paseo until you arrive back where you started. Get a drink and a snack and gear up for loop two, or pat yourself on the back for finishing your race.
END OF 5-MILE COURSE – 10-MILE COURSE BEGIN SECOND LOOP
Waypoint 19 – North Canon Trailhead | 5.0 miles
From the parking lot, travel west for a short distance and cross a bridge over a ravine heading north. You should see the sign for the North Canon Trailhead. Follow the trail north past the sign.
Take a slight right when you see the horse playground.
Waypoint 20 – Edna Mae | 5.3 miles
Shortly after the horse playground, you’ll come to a junction where you can go left, right, or straight. Stay straight ahead and climb up the rocky Edna Mae Bennett nature trail.
This is what you’ll be climbing. FOR A BONUS POINT, look for an image of Kokopelli on your way up. If you don’t see it before the next waypoint, you’ve missed it.
Waypoint 21 – Begin Templeton | 5.5 miles
From here, we’re going to run a loop around the top of the Mesa, staying on Templeton Trail almost the whole time. That sounds easier than it is, but if you occasionally see a sign indicating Templeton going more or less in the direction you’re going, you’re (probably) on the right track. For most of the run, this involves staying high and turning slightly left. You might have to climb some rocks. You can do it!
Waypoint 22 – Yucca Junction | 5.6 miles
We know we just said stay left, but this is an early exception.
Waypoint 23 – Edna Mae Junction | 5.8 miles
Ignore the impulse to return to your car and continue to the left.
Follow the rocky trail up to stay on Templeton when you see this sign; don’t turn left.
This part is a bit confusing, but stay left and go up. Don’t go toward the cool-looking rocks. Follow the mountain bike tire tracks through the dirt to stay on the trail.
Waypoint 24 – Head for the Parking Lot | 6.2 miles
The main trail looks like it continues straight or drops down to the right, but you want to climb up to the dirt road at this point.
After you make the turn in the previous photo, the trail looks like this. Head straight up to get to the dirt road and the open Yucca Flats parking area.
Head across the road, aiming for the sign you can see on the other side. Watch for cars! Continue on the wide dirt road behind these trees.
Waypoint 25 – Return to Singletrack | 6.3 miles
Shortly after turning on to the wide dirt road, you’ll see this trail sign to your right. Take a left as soon as you cross through the fence and follow the singletrack Templeton trail north.
Waypoint 26 – Turn Left | 6.5 miles
Through this section, stay left. This turn is about mile 7.1. There aren’t always signs at the junctions, but when there are, they should tell you you’re still on Templeton trail.
Waypoint 27 – Turn Left at Palmer Point | 6.8 miles
Another opportunity for a left turn.
Sometimes you have to climb some rocks. Because Palmer Park. If you lose the trail/mountain bike tracks, look for wear on the rocks and climb on up. These are fairly isolated incidents – keep in mind, this is a run, not a rock climb.
Waypoint 28 – Four Way | 7.0 miles
You’ll pop out into a wide intersection. You have choices to go left, right, or straight – go straight across the open area. Do NOT follow the sign that says “To Lazy Land.” Because you’re not lazy. You’re a trail runner!
Waypoint 29 – Turn Right | 7.6 miles
Follow Templeton Trail down and to the right.
Waypoint 30 – Turn Left | 7.7 miles
Follow Templeton Trail up and to the left. Continue following the main trail around to the north and then curve to the west, following the contours of the mesa over rocky singletrack.
Waypoint 31 – Turn Left | 8.1 miles
Don’t head down toward Palmer Point – stick with Templeton and stay left.
Enjoy these cool cliffs and more Pikes Peak views as Templeton skirts the west edge of the mesa. Please don’t fall off the cliff, though.
This section can be hard to follow. Aim generally for the path the arrow indicates and climb the hill.
Waypoint 32 – Stay High | 8.4 miles
You’re not done yet – do not head for the trailhead! We’re going to wind along the rest of the mesa and drop down the same way we came up.
Waypoint 33 – Trail Sign | 8.4 miles
At the next major junction, bear right and continue along the edge.
Now that you’re used to staying left, we are going to stay right for the next few signed intersections. Still going to stay on Templeton.
Yep. More of the same.
Waypoint 34 – Sign Down | 8.9 miles
The sign has been knocked down and may or may not be pointing in the right direction, but you’re not! You’re almost there!
Waypoint 35 – Cobblestones | 9.2 miles
Head right at this junction.
Repeat of Waypoints 21, 20, and 19 in Reverse Order – Homestretch | 9.2-9.75 miles
Head back down the way you came up: Down the rocky Edna Mae Bennett trail, past the horse playground, and back to the North Canon Trailhead. Congratulations! You’re finished!