[Update – I made another trip to Queens Canyon with Ronda and Abby and got some decent pictures]
Queens Canyon is located just behind the Glen Eyrie Castle on the Navigators site here in Colorado Springs. I have yet to visit the Castle but would like to do so. The castle was built by General Palmer who was also responsible for the founding of the city of Colorado Springs and many other notable achievments in the local area. The Glen Eyrie site is at the northern end of the Garden of the Gods and Queens Canyon extends up into the foothills of Rampart Range.
I got an early start on this solo hike with the intent of using the early morning light for some photography. I headed up the trail at 6:30 am thinking the canyon would be illuminated by the forthcoming sunrise. This turned out to be a bad assumption. Because of the twists and turns in the canyon, sunlight does not arrive until much later in the morning even though the canyon is aligned on a mostly east-west line.
The canyon is quite narrow and the sides are very steep and rise several hundred feet or more. The trail followed a dry streambed for about a half-mile and then, travelling over a series of wooden walkways, I arrived at Palmer Dam. Here the water coming down the streambed is captured in an old cement structure and piped to the castle. All of the old 12″ metal piping has been sleeved with modern PVC pipe. The whole thing is rather small and simple but considering it was built in the late 1800’s and that it presumably provided an ample source of water to the castle I’m sure I would have been proud of it had it been my little construction project.
Beyond the dam the trail meanders back and forth across the tumbling waters and the hiking environment is much improved by the presence of the waters. The trail climbs moderately for the next half-mile as the canyon twists back and forth and finally arrives at Dorothy Falls. The falls are nice, nothing spectacular though. I would have taken a picture but the lighting was still lousy and I decided to wait til another time. From this point the trail gets more difficult (interesting) as it begins climbing steeply and you soon find it narrowing. At several points the only way to proceed is to hop from boulder to boulder upstream between the granite walls of the canyon.
At the end of the trail is an area called the Punch Bowls. Here, the stream has created a series of pools in the granite rock. Several of them are relatively deep and they are crystal clear. I was still plauged by bad lighting but took a picture anyway.
I attempted to go further upstream which required some rock scrambling but was frustrated by my camera bag. I had only brought the shoulder bag and it kept flopping around thowing me off-balance. So, I decided to return.
On the way back I was greeted by the sunshine in the lower part of the canyon which gave me an opportunity to try out a new macro (close-up) lens I had recently acquired for my camera.