2015  HIKING, CYCLING,

& RV TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Denali AKA Mt. McKinley

 

   
 
Runtrails' Web Journal
 
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   HIKING & CYCLING IN COLORADO SPRINGS:
PHOTOS FROM THE FALCON, NEW SANTA FE, &
PIKE'S PEAK GREENWAY TRAILS, cont.

MONDAY, MAY 25

 
 

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 campus:


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

The 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 entryscenic hiking and driving in the red rocks of the Garden of the Gods

Happy trails,

Sue
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil

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