Continued from the previous page.
LOTS OF CYCLING OPTIONS
Another benefit to staying on the USAF Academy's campus is easy access to Colorado
Springs' extensive network of smooth dirt, crushed rock, and paved
greenways. This is the type of bike path that both Jim and I prefer to ride.
There are also lots of miles of hilly paved roads on the campus that
provide safer riding than other metro streets.
A fourth option is the smoother sections of the dirt single-track
Falcon Trail. I showed photos from that trail on the previous page.
1. USAFA CAMPUS
Here are some photos I took this month during several bike rides on
Jim rides on the wide shoulder of
Stadium Drive on campus.
Above and below: Some of
our best views of Pike's Peak are from the main road into the Academy.
Pretty flowering fruit trees
Graves in the cemetery were
decorated with American flags for Memorial Day.
2. NEW SANTA FE REGIONAL TRAIL
New Santa Fe Regional Trail runs about
20 miles from the Palmer Lake Recreation Area in northern El Paso County
through the USAF Academy grounds and south to Woodmen Ave. in the Springs.
It is a wide crushed rock trail that partly follows an old rail line
and partly undulates through the foothills of the Front Range above
Monument Creek. It is open to pedestrians, cyclists, and equestrians.
There are several trailheads north and south of the Academy that
visitors can access without going through security.
Since we're already on campus, Jim found a way to get on the trail by
riding from our campground:
I mentioned in the last entry that during our stay at the Academy
security was significantly tightened on campus because of increased
threats by ISIS.
As of now, civilian visitors face tighter scrutiny and are not
allowed to ride, run, or walk on the section of the New Santa Fe Trail
that goes through the Academy unless accompanied by someone from the
military or DOD. I don't know how long this will last.
We weren't sure we could ride there -- are we "visitors" since
we don't live or work here? We asked the guards at the gate and
they said we're good to go, fortunately.
What this has meant for us is many fewer people using the trail
during our stay. It hasn't been the most pleasant experience, however,
because of all the rain -- the trail has been muddy many days,
with some large puddles.
Outrunning the rain
3. PIKE'S PEAK GREENWAY
At Monument Ave. the multi-use path becomes the
Pike's Peak Greenway for the next 16
miles south through Colorado Springs to Fountain. It is mostly paved,
with a few miles of crushed rock.
This trail is more urbanized and crowded than the New Santa Fe Trail
but it continues to follow scenic Monument and Fountain creeks and
weaves in and out of several pretty city parks:
When the mountain isn't shrouded in clouds, there are some great
views of Pike's Peak from the greenway:
One day we rode past this lake we saw a mama goose and
several goslings next to the path:
Jim had fun riding over these sandy berms one day when I wasn't with him (he's
not pictured here):
The Pike's Peak Greenway connects to several neighborhood bike paths
and the Fountain Creek Regional Trail, which continues south.
With all the options, and many additional miles of roadways on
campus, Jim had no trouble finding 50-mile routes to ride. He needed the
hills and altitude for the two long bike rides he entered in Alaska in June and July.
This is probably the best metro area we've ever found for fun and safe bike riding.
Next entry: scenic hiking and driving in the red rocks
of the Garden of the Gods
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup
© 2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil