Palmer Park is a 720 acre green space in central Colorado Springs that holds many miles of trails that weave through a series of rocky bluffs and offers great views of the city below and the nearby front range.
When I first moved to Colorado Springs, I was living close to Palmer Park, so I quickly became familiar with the winding trails of the park. Even though they were a regular occurrence, I loved my runs there. I relished the smell of juniper trees, the high dessert terrain, the cacti and yucca that framed the single track trails, and the moments at the top of a climb when mountains filled the entire western horizon.
Our last apartment in Colorado Springs was also close to Palmer Park, and before moving away from the mountains for a while, I really wanted to do something special to say goodbye to this place where I had enjoyed so many miles. With that in mind, I decided to attempt to run every trail in the park one Saturday in December.
That particular Saturday, there was fresh snow on the trail, and the cold of the morning forced me to dress in layers that I could shed after the sun rose a little higher in the sky. I had a water bottle with me and a couple gels for fuel, but I didn’t really have a plan other than to run until I had covered all of the ground in the park. I was in a weird space between not knowing where I was going and knowing exactly where I was going, but it felt right.
The morning ended up being a perfect highlight reel of Palmer Park. I spent time in the sun on high mesas and dashed down rock steps into shadowy valleys. I dusted snow off the trail signs as I went, stopped at all my favorite overlooks, and only twisted my ankle once (Templeton Trail gets a little technical). You can see all of the data from this run by clicking on the map above, but all in all, I covered about 20 miles and 3000 ft of elevation gain running every trail in Palmer Park.
I’m definitely going to miss this Colorado Springs’ gem, but running the whole park in a day made me remember not to take my time here for granted. It truly was a great way to say goodbye.