“A nice loop with a curvy climb to Lincoln Mountain's mesa top... great views of Pikes Peak.”
— J Erik Hartel
Nice curvy climb along wide trails to a flat mesa top loop at the top of Lincoln Mountain. The ascent portion weaves through scrub oak along a wide path; at times, the path narrows to singletrack dimensions as it curves up and through multiple easy switchbacks.
The loop at the top is a simple path that follows the edge of the mesa and offers great views - south to Pikes Peak, west towards the Front Range, south and east towards Black Forest, and northwards into the valleys and ranch lands between Monument and Castle Rock. Although the trail is fairly obvious, it is also marked by large rock cairns.
The descent back towards the trailhead is smooth and well-graded.
From the Lincoln Mountain Open Space Trailhead (AKA Jones Road Trailhead), run generally north for .25 miles to the main trail split. Left goes to Lincoln Mountain; right connects to the Palmer Divide Ranch Loop
After you go left, the trail will start a gradual climb that will not end until cresting at the mesa top. The trail zigzags upwards through scrub oaks and meadows, eventually settling into a long diagonal climb across the face of the mesa. There are some minor undulations - mostly alternating between easy sections of 2-3% and steep sections of ~8%. Overall, there is nothing technical about the trail; although it can be fairly taxing, aerobically.
The highlight of the trail is the great views from the mesa top. It doesn't matter whether the top loop is done clockwise or counter-clockwise - either is good.