Palmer Park, hidden treasure of Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs is blessed with having a spectacular natural setting, no doubt about that. I have now passed a little over 4 months of my life here and if I had to list one thing that the city has done well, it would be setting aside Palmer Park for the people’s use. It is defintely the city’s hidden treasure and my family and I use it on at least a weekly basis. Our dog is especially in love with the park (though not the official dog park there), and that’s part of what makes the park special. It is a special place for bikes and horses, too, and even the most incapacitated person can probably be wheeled down to the main scenic lookout for the big view.

Sure, there are other great parks here, but none is located so smack dab in the middle of the city. It is as central to Colorado Springs as Central Park is to New York City. What blows me away is that it hardly is mentioned in any tour guide and its main lookout is sometimes without a solitary visitor, even in the middle of the most pleasant afternoons. Out of state tourists and even other Colorado folk tend to head to Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, and the water falls, as most of them have not a clue that Palmer Park even exists and that it is someplace special. But there are many parts of the country where if such a park was available people would drive for hundreds of miles to visit it.

One of the things most lamentable about how our country has misdeveloped itself is how it has destroyed downtowns, central plazas, and people places of all kinds. So get out and use Palmer Park, for you are lucky to have it here. From where my family moved from, we didn’t have sidewalks in many neighborhoods, let alone a place like this park. Even now we discover new hiking trails every time we go there. There is variety at Palmer, if you go beyond what might first meet the eye.

Certainly, Palmer Park is a model for what every city needs to do. Every American city needs places to hike, not just more roads to drive on. Palmer Park is the crown jewel of Colorado’s interurban trail systems, but defintely not recognizzed as such. It has miles of safe hiking/walking trails that are something that’s a cross between city walks, and remote trails in the wilderness, yet still located in the heart of the city. Other cities would envy this city if only they new Palmer Park even existed. More than any other attribute of Colorado Springs, Palmer is what makes this city a more attractive place than Denver to live in. IMO, it’s definitely the heart of Colorado Springs, even if the Pentagon and Church have robbed much of its soul. It’s not downtown, it’s not speactacular like Garden of the Gods. It’s doesn’t have a lake in the center of it. It’s not high up like Pikes Peak.. It’s just Palmer Park, the best place in town for taking a walk.

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