LYLE'S LOOKOUT TRAIL
The trailhead is directly across the street from the entrance to the Royal Gorge Summit Station, the main lodge for the Royal Gorge cross-country ski area. See “How to Get There” on the Royal Gorge page for directions to the trailhead.
The trail begins on the far side of the trailhead parking area, between two trailhead information kiosks. Walk between them straight ahead downhill for about 30 yards and you will see a sign on a tree on the left for the Hewlitt Rim Trail. Continue straight along this wide trail and follow it around to the right where it joins the Big Ben trail.
Turn sharply left onto the slightly rolling Big Ben trail and follow it as it goes gently down hill. The forest on either side of Big Ben has been thinned by the Land Trust to reduce the severity of wildfire. In about a mile, the trail will turn slightly to the right into an open area where you will see a rope tow used for transporting skiers up the ski hill ahead. At this point, veer to the right and walk within a couple of feet to the right of rope tow.
Continue for about 50 yards on the trail just to the right of the rope tow where you will see a sign on your right for Rodney’s Run. Take a sharp right onto Rodney’s run, go down a very short hill and turn left onto Killy's Cruise. This trail is a little more rolling and scenic with lots of trees and plants along it.
As you pass Crosscut on your right and then Mountain's Hideout on your left, veer left off of Killy's Cruise to the Lyle's Lookout trail. After a short climb, the trail levels out and dead-ends. You will be rewarded with grand views.
You will see Devil's Peak in front of you to the west. It is the towering granite mountain on the horizon. To the left of Devil’s Peak is Snow Mountain, where the Land Trust holds a conservation easement. You can also see a portion of privately-owned Palisade Lake.
After enjoying the vistas, retrace your steps back along Lyle’s Lookout and turn left onto the Crosscut trail. After a few hundred yards downhill, the trail flattens out and there is a junction with the Gold Rush trail. Do not turn left onto Gold Rush, but veer to the right and in a hundred yards or so, the trail intersects with the Palisade trail. Turn right onto Palisade. Palisade is a steady, but gentle uphill climb before it flattens out. Palisade passes Rodney's Run, James Joys, and Little Dipper before you come to some tall electrical transmission lines.
Don’t go under the transmission lines, but turn right and walk uphill to the right side of them for about 200 yards. You will see a sign for Palisades on your left. Turn left to stay on the Palisade trail and continue toward the Royal Gorge Summit Station and Lyle’s Lookout Trailhead.
You will come to a well-maintained gravel road. Although Palisade crosses the road and continues up to the Royal Gorge lodge, you turn right and walk up the gravel road and arrive back at the Lyle’s Lookout Trailhead and parking area.