DIRECTIONS: From I-25 in Colorado Springs, take the exit for Hwy 24 and head west. Turn left (south) on S. 26th Street. Follow S. 26th Street until it becomes Bear Creek Road and continue on Bear Creek Road. At the five way intersection turn right (west) onto Gold Camp Road. The trailhead is along Gold Camp Road just before the end of the canyon.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space is a spectacular park and a haven for local area hikers trying to avoid the Garden of the Gods crowds. The northeastern part of the park has the towering red rock formations that make the park popular, but the southwest portion is more forested with stunning views of the surrounding foothills. If you are looking for a quick hike with amazing views, then you can try to find the Forrest Allen Overlook (not shown on the park maps).
The hike follows the Palmer Trail from the Section 16 Trailhead. As you work your way up the hillside there will be various trails intersecting the Palmer Trail. A good rule of thumb is to stay to the left (uphill). The signage in this area is not great, so stay left. The views from the Palmer Trail are terrific.
The fifth (??) intersection, at the saddle, is the big one that you need to watch out for. There will be a large red rock formation on your right and multiple trail junctions. Again, there are no trail signs here, just a wooden post. Make a sharp left and head straight uphill. The trail will switchback twice and enter a dense forest. After only 2 tenths of a mile, turn left (south) on an unsigned trail. The trail will cut through the forest and break out on a ridge with scrub oak trees. Turn left and follow the ridge to the end by hiking over slickrock. This ridge constitutes the Forrest Allen Overlook. The views of the surrounding foothills and Colorado Springs below are beautiful.
For a short 1.6 mile hike, retrace your steps. If you have the time and the desire, you can link with the rest of the Red Rock Canyon Trail system and neighboring open space parks for endless hiking possibilities. This really is a beautiful area.
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Forrest Allen Overlook
Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Date Hiked: December 5, 2018
Distance: 1.6 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 320 ft
Elevation Min/Max: 6,611 to 6,913 ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 38º 49' 22" N; 104º 53' 25" W
Managing Agency: Colorado Springs Parks & Recreation