Only 0.12 miles long, but can take you anywhere from a few hours to a whole day to complete. Patriot Trail is the most difficult rock crawling trail of the Penrose Trail System and known as one of the toughest in the state. It runs through a small canyon filled with large boulders and ledges from start to finish. Rolling, body damage, and breaking is likely. This is also a great trail to hike on and watch others attempt the obstacles.
(#1) You will see this sign in the tree once you meet the intersection of all three trails. None of the obstacles on this trail have bypasses. It is smart to hike a little ways into the trail before you begin so you can check if anyone is coming from the other direction and to also check out the obstacles before diving in. (#2) First rocky section of the trail. (#3) Most of the obstacles along the trail have built in winch points. Some are obvious and some you may have to climb up the side of the hills or search around in the bushes to find.
From Colorado Springs, head south on I-25 and take exit 140 for Tejon St/Nevada Ave. Pass through the light and turn right onto Nevada Ave. Continue 30 miles south until you reach the town of Penrose. Turn right onto 3rd St (CR 123). Make another right onto the dirt road E St. On this road you will pass a few residential homes. 3 miles down you will reach the main parking area. Here you will find a restroom and a sign with trail information. Just past the restroom is the location of the gate that will be shut if the area is closed. If you have a trailer you can park it here to unload. A short ways up you will see a fork in the road. Make a left and you will find another area in which you can park trailers.
Since this is a connecting trail, you will either need to take Independence Trail or Liberty Trail to reach the trail head. But this trail is multi-directional. So you do have the option of starting at "The Exit".
The weather was great and there were a lot of people in the area due to the holiday weekend. There were quite a few rigs on the trail. Most of them dropped into Independence Trail and continued out Patriot. Broken u-joints, one winch attempted to pull out from the bumper, broken transmission, and many close roll overs. Coffin Rock has been filled in with other boulders quite a bit since I had last seen it. Conditions were very dry and lots of rocks are dig out making things more difficult.
We decided to head down to Penrose Commons to see if the gates were currently open. It was a pretty sunny day but did get a bit chilly when the wind picked up. The area was pretty quiet with only a few car trailers and some ATV trailers parked at the entrance. We headed to the exit of Patriot where we found a few rigs that had just completed the trail. Two of them decided to drop in the exit and then turn around and come back out. Both of them easily made it out. Conditions were dry.
We decided to see if anyone was down on the trails today. There was a lot of ATV and UTV activity around the Penrose Commons. We did find two vehicles attempting to come up Patriot. The weather was very mild so it was a great day to be outside. One of the rigs did break an axle before we got there so they had to winch up most of the obstacles. The trail was in pretty good condition. One change that we noticed is that there is a large boulder that is trying to fall to the right side of Coffin Rock. Right now it's in an odd spot to where it moves and you're almost forced to put a tire on it. I foresee it eventually falling into the crevice. We also noticed that the exit is getting quite dug out which is making it even more challenging. Both rigs made it out fine!
All the trails in the area had a Trail Cleanup and Maintenance day put on by the trails adopters the Colorado Rock Hoppers. Trash was picked up, signs fixed, any stacked rocks on the obstacles were cleared, and winch points were painted so they are a bit more visible.
Lauren Martin started offroading as a small child with her father in a 1996 Toyota Tacoma in the beautiful state of Colorado of which she now calls home. Like many, once they first made the trek to Moab, Utah, they were addicted.
Still a lover of all things Toyota, especially Tacoma's, Lauren now has a Tacoma of her own that she enjoys on the trails of Colorado and makes the journey to Moab yearly.
Rig: 1998 Toyota Tacoma 3.4L V6 TRD
33" BFG KM2s Siped, 16" TRD Ivan Stewart Wheels, ADS Racing Shocks 2.5" Extended Travel Coilovers with Reservoirs, Total Chaos Uniball Upper Control Arms, All-Pro 3" Rear Suspension Kit, Rear E-Locker, Tundra Brake Upgrade, Trail Gear Front Stinger Bumper and Sliders, CBI Offroad Rear Tube Bumper, Smittybilt XRC8 Winch, Skid Row Offroad Front and Transmission Skid Plates, Low Range Offroad E-Locker Guard, Rock Lights, Rigid DOT/SAE Fog Lights, CB/PA, Custom Satoshi Grille with 12" LED Light Bar