Located on the south side of US Highway 24 between just west of 31st Street, Red Rock Canyon Open Space totals 1,474 acres. Pieces of the open space were previously known as Section 16 and White Acres, and all three natural areas were combined under one Master Plan in 2013. All of these areas were in danger of being developed, but are now under protection thanks to committed citizens, the TOPS program of Colorado Springs, GOCO and other partners, including TOSC.
Trails from Red Rock connect west through Section 16 to Manitou Springs, south through Bear Creek Park, to Stratton Open Space and even North Cheyenne Cañon. Rock climbers will enjoy over 80 climbing routes – all bolted sports climbs. (Climbers must register at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center.)
Be prepared to park in the overflow lot on 31st Street, around the corner from the main lot, on weekends due to the popularity of this open space. There is also an equestrian parking area this side of the open space that TOSC helped create.
Section 16 trailhead has been a favorite for hikers and bicyclists since the 1970s. The moderately difficult six-mile Palmer-Red Rocks Loop trail gains 800′ of elevation and loops through beautiful mountain scenery. Turn off the main trail to take the Paul Intemann Nature Trail, which leads to the Barr Trail up Pikes Peak at the west end of Manitou Springs. The Section 16 trailhead can be reached by exiting Highway 24 West at the 26th Street intersection. Head south and turn right on Lower Gold Camp Rd at the 4-way stop. The Section 16 trailhead is a short distance on the right. Parking is limited.
Information on the Friends of Red Rock Canyon Open Space: www.redrockcanyonopenspace.org.
You can find more information about the history and geology of the area, and a map of the trails at: www.springsgov.com/page.aspx?navid=2090