DIRECTIONS: From I-25, take exit 163 for County Line Road. Turn west onto Palmer Divide Road. Palmer Divide Road becomes County Line Road. Turn left onto Spruce Mountain Road and follow it to the town of Palmer Lake. Turn right onto Glenway Street and Left onto High Street which becomes Old Carriage Road. Follow the narrow road to the trailhead and parking area.
Tucked away in Pike National Forest, just west of the town of Palmer Lake, is a pleasant little hike to two scenic reservoirs. The hike to Palmer Lake #2 aka the Upper Reservoir is popular with local families and a starting out point for longer excursions into the backcountry. The hike is steep but otherwise good for kids and adults of all skill levels. The reservoirs are popular for fishing but a hike to the Upper Reservoir makes for a nice short day hike.
From the trailhead, follow the wide trail through a pine forest canyon. The hike parallels North Monument Creek which features some pleasant cascades and waterfalls in the early season. Before long the trail meets a service road and enters a gate near a small maintenance station. As the trail climbs there are nice views back to the east and down to the creek bed at the bottom of the canyon.
After .6 miles of hiking you'll reach the lower reservoir. At the far end of the reservoir there are some nice boulders separating the reservoir from a pleasant wetland area. This is a good resting spot before the 2nd half of the hike.
The next 1/2 mile is just as steep as the first part of the hike but the views improve as you near the Upper Reservoir. When you first view the reserovir, you'll be looking down on the lake from a saddle. The trail descends to a nice point along the reservoir, with steep social trails leading you to other nice spots along the shore.
The Upper Reservoir is much larger than the Lower Reservoir and far more scenic. Beyond the Upper Reservoir are towering rock formations common to this part of the Front Range. There are a number of spots along the shore that are perfect to rest and relax and take in the scenery.
A fishing access trail runs along the lake shore and it is possible to follow it around the lake. Also, the main trail continues past the lake and accesses longer hikes in the area. Finish up the hike by following the trail back down the canyon to the trailhead.
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
Palmer Lake #2 (Upper Reservoir)
Pike National Forest
Date Hiked: June 23, 2019
Distance: 2.6 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 600 ft
Elevation Min/Max: 7,202 to 7,668 ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 39º 07' 07" N; 104º 55' 16" W
Managing Agency: City of Palmer Lake/U.S.Forest Service