Trail Length: 5.26 miles
Trailhead Elevation: 7,300’Elevation Change: +530, net elevation gain
Trailhead Location: Take Interstate 25 to Exit 163 (County Line Road/W. Palmer Divide Road) and head west into Palmer Lake. Turn south (left) on Highway 105 near town, turn right onto Glenway St, go two blocks and turn left onto High Street. Cross Glenside Road/S. Valley Road, make a slight jog to the left as you cross and continue down Old Carriage Road (a narrow, one-way street). Head down the hill. You will see parking down on the right just after the street curves sharply to the left.
We had thought about taking a hike this weekend to Ralph Price Reservoir and Button Rock Preserve near Lyons, Colorado. We had attempted to hike here last June but the day we went the reservoir was closed as a search and rescue was in progress. As we made our plans for this weekend, I checked online to make sure the reservoir was opened. I had forgotten that the severe flooding this area received last September had closed many of the trails in the area. Ralph Price Reservoir is still not opened as they continue to restore the trails and roads in the area. So, we opted to head down to Palmer Lake.
We parked and headed down the trail around 11:40am. About 1/3 mile from the trailhead, you pass through a gate and continue up at a fairly steep grade, climbing 300’ up to the first reservoir. The trail follows Monument Creek as it heads up.
Looking up the trail.
Looking back down the trail where we had come from.
After hiking 0.85 miles from the trailhead, we arrived at the lower lake.
The trail leveled out as we continued along the lake’s shore. A couple of patches of snow lingering on the opposite shore of the lake.
Looking back from the far end of the small lake.
We continued on up the trail past the small lake. In a short distance, the dam of the upper lake came into view.
After hiking an additional 0.6 miles from the lower lake, we arrived at the much larger upper reservoir. The upper reservoir sits at 7,753’. We continued to follow the trail along the shore of the lake. At the end of one of the fingers of the lake looking back to the east.
Looking across the finger of the lake to the trail we would be continuing on.
We continued around the finger and along the trail to the far west end of the lake. Some rock formations to the northwest of the lake.
Looking back to the east across the lake.
We hiked around a little bit at the far end of the lake before turning around and heading back closer to the lake.
We stopped for a break by the lake for some snacks, taking in the views and watching a few ducks and geese on the lake.
After our break, we headed back along the trail. Another shot from the finger of the lake.
We continued back along the trail, stopping to photograph some wildflowers and plants in bloom.
A shot looking down the trail.
We arrived back at the car early afternoon and headed home, stopping in Castle Rock for an early dinner at the Union Bistro, sitting outside on their large patio enjoying the rest of the afternoon!