For those looking for a quick break from the relentlessly busy days that have already accumulated over the past week, look no further than Palmer Park.
A short 12-minute drive from campus, this little park rises right out of the city to provide impressive views of Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak.
Park your car right at the entrance and find yourself climbing towards the sandstone that juts out the side of the hill. Or drive yourself all the way up to the overlook of Colorado Springs and our very own Pikes Peak to set up your picnic lunch and relax.
For our expedition, we left the car at the entrance and, after looking at a map, decided to completely ignore it. Following the trail right out of the small parking lot, we wove our way up to the sandstone bluffs that build themselves up against the hill.
As we walked along the open ridge, we found ourselves approaching an unlikely cave carved into the side of the rock. The overhanging stone hid how large our discovery would be, yet the opening was still big enough to allow for a fair amount of light to filter in.
At the top of the cave, I positioned myself in a little hole slightly bigger than my body, while the rest of the group perched themselves along a ledge beneath me. Here we were able to chat, discuss the true meaning of life, and obviously snap some Instagram-worthy pictures.
We picked our way along the trail, passing by spires of stone and trees that clung to the sides of the rock. The network of trails that snakes along the hill presents countless opportunities to explore in any direction.
We certainly took advantage of this, weaving our way in a general, upward direction. At the top of the bluffs, a larger trail extends across in either direction, while smaller trails continue to loop around below it.
Hanging our toes off the ledge of stone, we were able to look out across miles of Colorado Springs nestled at the foot of Pikes Peak as clouds passed by overhead. While we marveled at this we also met other hikers and mountain bikers exploring the area as well, suggesting there is much more exploration to be done.
While the lack of trail markers is a bit of a downside, it merely opens up the possibilities for where you may end up, and we found ourselves wandering wherever caught our attention.
As we explored what the park had to offer, I found myself in yet another cave we found alongside the trail. A narrow tunnel connected the two wider cavities, in which we were able to crawl and wave at each other on the opposite side.
Each little discovery suggested that Palmer Park has quite a bit to offer to the curious wanderer. The sandstone stretches along the hillside in either direction, and trails line the paved road that winds up to the top of the park, leaving much to be explored.
So, for the unlikely few that may have an hour or two between class, homework, clubs, sports, and socializing, Palmer Park awaits, just a short drive off campus.
Boasting 25 miles of trails that cater to various skill levels for hikers, bikers, and runners, it’s another place for anyone to get lost and hide in caves in order to escape our rigorous schedules, if only for a bit.