Saturday, March 21, 2009

Balanced Rock/Winding Staircase Loop

Today was just a beautiful day for a long CRUD run. We ran one of my favorite all-time loops. Starting from our house in Palmer Lake, this loop runs through Glen Park to the Palmer Lake Reservoir trailhead. From there, we went up the Reservoir trail towards Balanced Rock Rd (FS 322). All photos by Steve Bremner.



After passing the two Palmer Lake reservoirs and turning onto FS 322, it is time to climb. This steep and rutted road gains about 2000 feet and travels 9 miles until you end up at Rampart Range Rd (FS 300).



Still a bit of snow in shady spots.



After running about 2.5 miles on Rampart Range Road, the loop turns right on Winding Stairs road (FS 323) to return to the Reservoirs. This road starts out pretty mellow but then drops a thousand feet in less than 2 miles near the end while affording great views of the reservoirs below.




Scott Jaime bringing up his typical position in the rear.



Group shot with Pikes Peak in the background.



For most of the run, we were treated to spectacular views of the North Face of Pikes Peak, which got a dusting of new snow yesterday.



Back at our home in Palmer Lake rehydrating.



The entire run is about 21.4 miles and gains just over 5,000 feet. The high point is 9300 feet. With summer coming, I'll be running this one a lot in the next several months.

4 comments:

FastED said...

As you all can see in most pictures, Darwin the dog is running right in front or beside me... Darwin ain't no dummy! He was only protecting his master just in case I tried to pass....

Paul DeWitt said...

Hey Scott - really glad you made it down for the run. Hopefully we'll have quite a few more runs and maybe even JT will show up next time.

Chippewa said...

great pictures. We've been having wonderful weather here as well.

brownie said...

You old guys and your 7AM start times! Not worth getting out of bed that early since there's no competition...