PALMER LAKE — In our exclusive series Adventures with Alan, we’ll travel across Southern Colorado week-by-week to show you thrills and chills, hidden gems and well-known spots.
Welcome to El Paso County’s newest open space!
The Santa Fe Open Space, an extension of the New Santa Fe Regional Trail, opened to the public this year on April 7th.
With 60 acres of terrain to explore on the south slopes of Ben Lomand Mountain, it gives visitors a little taste of the backcountry not far from Palmer Lake.
To get here, you’ll want to park at the Palmer Lake Recreation Area and take the Santa Fe Trail.
That’s the closest and most convenient way to access the open space.
From the parking lot, it’s a little more than a half mile to the western entrance.
An alternate way to access the open space is through the eastern entrance. It’s located 2.5 miles northwest of the Highway 105 Trailhead parking area.
** Whichever way you come by, please note that the Santa Fe Open Space is only accessible via the Santa Fe Trail. **
After checking out the map, we start on the main loop by hiking east on Ranch Road.
The trail is singletrack. It’s fairly narrow, but well maintained and easy to navigate.
Surrounded by scrub oak and large ponderosa pine trees…this is nature at its finest!
It’s chilly on the day we visit, and we’re met with varying conditions…from sprinkles to sunshine.
Even with low clouds covering the peaks, we’re treated to sweeping views of the Front Range, Palmer Lake and Monument.
On top of these scenic vistas, we encounter a pretty cool interpretive display towards the bottom of the trail, one that features a car from the 1950s.
It’s a 1953 antique Plymouth Coronet Suburban that once belonged to the family that leased the ranch decades ago.
There’s more to the story, and Ross Williams with El Paso County Parks tells us that signage will be added in the near future.
After moving on from the car, we soon reach the end of the loop, and from here, reunite with the Santa Fe Trail for the gentle journey back to Palmer Lake.
Santa Fe Open Space Trail Rating
Something new that we wanted to start doing for our viewers and followers is to rate each adventure.
To do this, we’re going to break each adventure down into three categories, and then give it a final score.
Each category will be ranked from 1 to 5.
In terms of Difficulty, this hikes earns 2 out of 5 stars. I found it to be on the easier side of average.
Scenery wise…this hike is gorgeous with mountain views in almost every direction. Four out of five!
The last category is Fun Level, and this is a great family-friendly hike that earns three out of five stars.
And now for the Final Score…I give it a solid 3 out of 5.
It’s close to Colorado Springs, easy to get to, and offers a nice and scenic journey for all ages and fitness levels.
Plus, you can grab lunch afterwards in Palmer Lake or Monument!
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