Section16 Palmer Trail Rockslide Closure Update

Good News!

The USFS has completed a geotechnical analysis of the area around the boulder fall on the Section 16 trail above Red Rock Canyon Open Space and High Drive.

Almost 1 full year after a large rock slide above this trail, the recommendation for this trail is…… proceed at your own risk.

The Section 16 trail has been closed since a large boulder calved off an outcrop above the trail and slid down and crushed the bridge on the trail crossing and small drainage (known to some as Hunter’s Run) that feeds into Bear Creek.. The trail itself is partly on city property and partly on Pike National Forest, and is managed by city of COS Parks subject to USFS regulations (fun fact, the trail was built by General Palmer’s crews, but was not listed on the USFS trail maps until the NEPA process in 2013 related to the Greenback Cutthroat Trout).

The USFS has concluded that the trail can be reopened with appropriate signage letting users know that there may be risk of additional rockfall. Some users have already observed that similar danger exists on trails throughout the Pikes Peak region…… anyway it’s good to know that this part of this trail doesn’t appear to be at extra high risk of additional imminent slides.

The trail is currently closed but will officially reopen once signage is in place. The timeframe for USFS signage is June 1 2023, hopefully sooner with city Parks support. Eventually a new bridge will be installed and it will be much larger than the one that was there. The new bridge will meet current USFS standards for a trail of this type. There will likely be volunteer opportunities when the new bridge is installed, stay tuned.

Check out the attached document for more photos from the slide, from the COS Parks presentation about it.