Palmer Trail

Garden of the Gods National Natural Landmark

Explore in Detail
Palmer Trail

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  • Hiker on the Palmer Trail, Garden of the Gods.- Palmer Trail
  • Dotted Gay Feather (Liatris punctata) along the Palmer Trail.- Palmer Trail
  • Palmer Trail, Garden of the Gods.- Palmer Trail
  • Musk thistle (Carduus nutans).- Palmer Trail
  • Dotted Gay Feather (Liatris punctata) along the Palmer Trail.- Palmer Trail
  • Aster along the Palmer Trail, Garden of the Gods.- Palmer Trail
  • Prairie sunflower (Helianthus petiolaris) along the Palmer Trail, Garden of the Gods.- Palmer Trail
  • Palmer Trail, Garden of the Gods.- Palmer Trail
  • Unidentified cactus (help us identify it by providing feedback).- Palmer Trail
  • Palmer Trail, Garden of the Gods.- Palmer Trail
  • Harriman's yucca (Yucca harrimaniae).- Palmer Trail
  • Prairie sunflower (Helianthus petiolaris) along the Palmer Trail, Garden of the Gods.- Palmer Trail
  • Palmer Trail, Garden of the Gods.- Palmer Trail
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Views along the perimeter of Garden of the Gods. Less crowds than main area.
Cons: 
Intense heat and sun exposure during the summer months.
Region:
Southern Front Range, CO
Congestion: 
High
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
Not Required
Total Distance: 
2.60 mi (4.18 km)
Trailhead Elev.: 
6,420 ft (1,957 m)
Net Elev. Gain: 
180 ft (55 m)
Trail Uses:
Hiking, Horseback
Trail type: 
Loop
Dogs allowed: 
Yes

Current Local Weather

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Today

Snow (2–4 in.) throughout the day.
29°F
12°

Fri

Partly cloudy until afternoon.
35°F
12°

Sat

Clear throughout the day.
38°F
16°

Sun

Mostly cloudy starting in the afternoon.
48°F
19°

Mon

Mostly cloudy throughout the day.
38°F
23°

Tue

Partly cloudy starting in the afternoon.
47°F
17°

Wed

Mostly cloudy starting in the afternoon.
48°F
21°
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The behemoth red and orange towers that jut from the foothills of the ancient Rocky Mountains are an impressive spectacle and a must-see on a Colorado itinerary. The Garden of the Gods National Natural Landmark represents a rich slice of Native American, Western, and geological history, and its unique perch between the Great Plains and the foothills gifts it a varied and interesting ecology.

While the area surrounding the visitor center is typically a tangle of tourists, the Palmer Loop Trail provides a bit of a reprieve from the heavy foot traffic. Following the juniper forested hills on the western edge of the park, the trail is a moderately steep out-and-back style trail that connects the main parking lot by Gateway Rocks with the Siamese Twin Rocks 1.6 miles away, but can also be made into a loop hike by connecting with the numerous other trails within the park. Travel by horseback is allowed.

Views of the snow-dusted Rocky Mountains are a constant on this moderate hike, and the Garden of the Gods is always in sight. An estimated 65 million years ago (about 100 million years after dinosaurs meandered about the area), the old Pacific plate slammed into the North American plate, tipping the orange and rust colored rocks that were once behemoth sand dunes like the Great Sand Dunes found in southern Colorado.

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(3 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(16 within a 30 mile radius)

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Published in collaboration with Deuter

German engineered since 1898.  The Deuter brand is focused on innovation, quality and sustainability while the products stand for fit, ventilation, and function.  We outfit all types of adventurers, including hikers, trekkers, young children, mountain bikers, new parents, skiers, climbers and alpinists.  We offer more than simply backpacks.  Every Deuter product tells a story— packed with ideas, unique experiences, and an abundance of passion.

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