Artsy, and very sleepy, Palmer Lake is a magnet for hikers who set out for the evergreen-clad peaks at several in-town trailheads. There are more good restaurants and working artists than one would expect from a population of about 2,400. The town developed around the railroad tracks that were laid here in 1871—the lake itself was used as a refueling point for steam engines. The lake is a few miles off the highway, so
you need a car to get here.