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Section 16    Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Paul Intemann Memorial Nature Trail 

 Colorado Springs, Colorado 




Red Rock formations on lower trails






Section 16:  To get to the Section 16 Trailhead , turn south on 26th Street from US Highway 24 near Old Colorado City in Colorado Springs. Continue on 26th to the 5-way intersection with Gold Camp Road, Wheeler, and Bear Creek Road. Take Upper Gold Camp Road (right turn) and follow it to the parking lot with the big sign for Section 16


Trip Details:

Red Rock Canton - Section 16 - Colorado Springs, Colorado 

 There is a lot of information on this "in town" hike that is popular due to location and terrain.  I have included it in part because the trail is a part of the "Ring the Peak" system and has some unusual features.  The Paul Intemann Memorial Nature Trail is contained within the Section 16 system and has some unique history.  Also, the area is the former location of the prettiest city landfill anywhere.

I will not spend too much time on the mileage, history or features on this trail as their are better descriptions at: .

Trip 1:  Palmer Red Rock Trail - Section 16 sign to High Drive:  5 miles - steady uphill climb starting with red rock formations and rocky terrain that turns to fir forests as the elevation increases.  Stay to the trails on the west to take this route that is uphill through a well used, and well maintained, but rocky  climb. 

Trip 2:  Paul Intemann Memorial Nature Trail: Section 16 sign to the Intemann  Trail sign: about .8 miles to the sign containing a looping trail.  Little elevation gain, well used, marked, and maintained trail.  Distance varies with choice of loops.

Trip 3:  Through the dump: Actually, this is a most interesting hike to see the old quarry cuts in the red stone rocks, and the process of decomposing that a landfill experiences.  Lower section east of Intemann trails.

 The intersection with the Section 16 (Palmer) Trail marks the eastern end of the Paul Intemann Memorial Nature Trail. At this point, you are about 1.7 miles east of the Crystal Park Road trailhead and .8 mile west of the Section 16 trailhead.

     If you continue up the Section 16 Trail, it will become the Palmer-Red Rock Loop Trail and end up on High Drive after about five miles in all.

     To get to the Section 16 Trailhead , turn south on 26th Street from US Highway 24 near Old Colorado City in Colorado Springs. Continue on 26th to the 5-way intersection with Gold Camp Road, Wheeler, and Bear Creek Road. Take Upper Gold Camp Road (right turn) and follow it to the parking lot with the big sign for Section 16.

     The Section 16 trailhead has plenty of off-street parking, although on weekends it's sometimes necessary to park in an auxiliary parking lot (really just a big turnout) a 100 feet or so up the road on the left. There are no sanitary facilities.


Brief History


Much of the history of this trail is detailed at:

In Colorado Springs, major landfills started popping up in the 1950s. Two historic dumps stand out: On the east side of what is now Red Rock Canyon Open Space, sandstone ridges were used as retaining walls for what became a 53-acre trash heap.

Open Space Master Plan Goals:

  • Preserve, protect and enhance the natural, visual and cultural values of the property.
  • Facilitate regional connections to trail and open space systems.
  • Create a plan that is attainable within a reasonable period of time and budget and is sustainable over time.
  • Foster a legacy of stewardship through experience and learning.
  • Provide for recreational use and access compatible with the other goals of the Red Rock Canyon Open Space Master Plan.


    Activity on Red Rock Canyon dates back to 7000 B.C., during the Archaic Stage. Due to its close proximity to Fountain Creek and its abundant wildlife, this was an ideal location for settlement.

    During the late 1800s the property provided many building supplies for Old Colorado City and the surrounding communities. Material taken from the quarries included Gypsum, building sand and sandstone blocks. The Kenmuir Quarry, mined during this time, was open seven days a week due to demand. Declining demand for stone and increased demand for concrete and steel, forced the quarry to close in the early part of the 20th Century.

    Opening in 1886, the Colorado-Philadelphia Company Mill used the land to refine the ore shipped by train from the gold mines in Cripple Creek. It was the largest mill of its kind in the United States, until the new Golden Cycle Mill was built in the early part of the 1900s.

    John George Bock purchased the property in the 1920s-1930s and later willed it to his two sons. John S. Bock, the eldest son, continued to live there until his death in 2002. The family had grand plans for the property including a resort community with convention center, high-rise towers, commercial centers and a golf course. In the end, they were only able to build a few residences and outbuildings, two dozen mobile home sites, a 53-acre landfill, and two gravel quarries. In 2003 the City of Colorado Springs purchased the Red Rock Canyon property to be used as public open space.
  • Red Rock Canyon is a newly acquired part of the Colorado Springs Trails and Open Spaces system. It is the geological continuation of the Garden of the Gods, located a mere mile on the other side of the highway. The history of the land is vast and unusual. In the late 1800s, the land was used as a quarry. Thousands of years old red rock was cut and used to make the foundations of many of Colorado Springs' most historic buildings. While walking up through the canyon, these scars are evident on the west side. One can climb stairs carved out of the rock into the scars themselves.
    During 1886, it was the site of the Colorado-Philadelphia Company Mill that refined the ore shipped from Cripple Creek.
    In the 1930s, the land was purchased by a private party, whose son lived here until 2002 when he died and the city purchased it for open space. The last owner made many modifications to the land, digging ponds, ditches, building a house that is still there today at the edge of the red rocks, making a landfill, hoping to build luxury high rises and a golf course. However, because of the proximity of the landfill, these plans would never come to fruition. The landfill has since been reclaimed and is a vital part of the park where one can see coyotes and deer.


    Section 16 Map 



    historical quarry, landfills, transition from ponderosa to fir forest


    Colorado Springs, CO


    red rock canyon, with "Garden of Gods" style rock formations


    5 miles appx.

    Elevation Gain:

    900 ft appx

    Hike Time:

    varies by route 1-5 hours


    Easy lower sections - Red Rock Trail medium

    Trail Condition:

    good single wide rocky in places - no climbing skill required


    Up and back - loops on lower trails








    Intemann Trail Signs and Map


    More Signs


    Garden of the Gods is in the background (looking north)




    Higher Up



    Waterfall is dry except during rainfall





     Prickly Pear Flower



    Landfill from top to east 01 

    Landfill from top to east

    Landfill from top to east 02 


    Landfill from top to east 

    Pretty Dump

    Prettiest Dump in the World

    Dump 08  


    Kenmuir Quarry Rocks in background then up to Crystal Park

    Trailhead 2


    Well Marked




    my Links

    Smithsonian Study of the Landfill 2005

    Intemann-Trail .



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