Trailhead / Access
The trail head starts at a parking lot off a dirt road west of the interstate (I-25) at the Greenland exit. There are two parking areas. One labeled Greenland Open Space and one a little further west labled Spruce Meadows Open Space. There are trails that start at both locations. For Kips Loop trail, I park at the Greenland lot. There is ample parking and facilities at this location.
The trail is part of the Greenland Open Space and the area is open meadows with some small treed area between 5-6 miles. This means that the wind will tend to stonger than other trails such as at Palmer Lake. It also sits on the Palmer Divide which is a major geological feature and it affects weather in the area. The winter storms tend to be stronger in this area and snows are heavier as the divide funnels the weather through the open space area.
The trail is an easy to moderate trail with no steep sections. The
trail is well defined. It is a mixture of single track with some wider
sections. The mile markers are quite accurate according 3 different GPS
units. The trail is used by hikers, runners, mtn bikers, and horse riders so
standard trail rules apply.
Kips Loop Trail - 8.24 miles
The trail starts behind the building at the south end of the
Greenland lot and heads towards the south/southwest. The trail will be
generally uphill for the first 5 miles but with couple of short downhill sections. The gain is gradual, nothing too difficult. The altitude profile shows the gain to be gradual. Elevation ranges between 6900 ft and 7360 ft. This is very good trail for family, runners and average mtn bikers.
About .9 miles you will come to the place where the loop starts. I recommend running the loop counter clockwise as you will have a great decent the last couple of miles. At 3.5 miles, the trail will head east. If you are running to Palmer Lake, you would go straight for another 1 mile or so. Going east, the trail will climb for 1.5 more miles and in this section, you will skirt some trees (4.5 to 5.5 miles). It is in this section, that in winter there tends to be the largest drifts of snow and they are slower to melt than other areas of the trail.
After 5 miles or so, the trail will be heading north and be mostly downhill with some great sections to make up time. The trail descends at about 6.5 miles to
the section of trail that you came out on. Here you turn right and head back to the parking lot.