Hidden Gems: Reservoirs above Palmer Lake
One of the hidden local gems in the trail world of this area, the Palmer Lake Reservoir Trail begins at a trailhead down in the Glen, accessed by Old Carriage Road, and traverses steep terrain for about four miles, out and back, and features two reservoirs. It is often visited summer and winter by hikers, trail runners, snowshoers, mountain bikers, wildflower photographers and fishermen.
Fishing restrictions are in place and allowed only at the upper reservoir. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. It is actually patrolled somewhat by Palmer Lake Police (I saw an officer up there on an ATV a few weeks ago). And the trail offers access to many other trails that branch out into the forest and connect to other trails that reach into other counties.
Originally built by the railroads, the two reservoirs augmented the water used from Palmer Lake to fill steam engines making the grade over Palmer Divide.
The town of Palmer Lake’s water comes from two reservoirs in the mountains behind the town and from wells. Both reservoirs and Monument Creek, which flows out of them, are considered part of the town's watershed.
The lower reservoir is fenced off from the public, for the most part, but the upper reservoir has an open shoreline. The mountains behind the town have a matrix of trails connecting visitors and residents to canyons and ridges. Most trails are accessible to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders. Visitors are advised to bring a map or a local guide when exploring the trails, and should be aware of wildlife alerts and National Forest rules.