Santa Fe Regional Trail

EASY 14 reviews
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Santa Fe Regional Trail is a 16.9 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near United States Air Force Academy, CO that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

17.0 miles 1438 feet Point to Point

dog friendly

kid friendly

birding

fishing

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

road biking

trail running

walking

cross country skiing

horseback riding

lake

views

wild flowers

Starting in Monument, CO this trail passes through the Air Force Academy grounds and connects with Pikes Peak Greenway. A fairly short drive from Denver brings you to the town of Palmer Lake which was named after General William Jackson Palmer. General Palmer was a man who seemed to accomplish more in one year than most people do in a lifetime. His early interest in railroading led him to a successful career in that field. While still quite young, he was sent to Great Britain to learn about the British railroading industry. After returning to the U.S. his railroad career was interrupted by the Civil War. Despite his Quaker upbringing, young Palmer was passionately opposed to slavery and passionately in favor of the Union cause. As with every aspect of his life, Palmer pursued his military career with vigor, rising quickly in rank. He spent some of his war time as a Confederate prisoner, but upon his release, picked right up where he left off. After the war General Palmer pursued a career in the railroad business and eventually opened his own north/south railroad line in Colorado. From his experience in Great Britain, Palmer introduced coal powered locomotives to the U.S. and utilized the idea of narrow-gauge rails for his Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. If you're wondering what General Palmer has to do with the New Santa Fe Trail, the answer is: plenty. Part of the trail runs over the old railroad line developed by General Palmer. Palmer Lake and Palmer Divide are named after the good General. Colorado Springs was also founded by General Palmer as was the steel industry in Pueblo. Needless to say, William Jackson Palmer played a tremendously important role in the development of this portion of Colorado. As for the trail, it is pretty amazing also. After going through portions of the communities of Palmer Lake and Monument, it marches onto Air Force Academy territory. In fact, if you're riding the trail during one of the Air Force football games, you'll hear the roar of the crowd and the boom of the PA system. You'll also see the Air Force stadium, chapel, and other buildings including the north entrance gate. There are plenty of signs instructing you to stay on the trail, and it's a good idea to heed these warnings. After you exit the Air Force Academy, you are nearing Colorado Springs. Once you get to Colorado Springs, you are no longer on the New Santa Fe Regional Trail. But no worries; you can continue your bike ride on the Pikes Peak Greenway that runs through Colorado Springs and continues all the way to Fountain, Colorado. Both the Pikes Peak Greenway and the New Santa Fe Regional Trail are part of the great Colorado Front Range Trail. This trail also includes the Platte River Trail and will eventually traverse the entire state of Colorado running north and south.

mountain biking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
3 months ago

started at Woodmen, Edmonton trail head, hiked to ice lake... beautiful!

mountain biking
6 months ago

We tried the trail today from Woodman north, but stopped at the entrance to the Air Force Academy. The gate was locked, and the sign said enter only if you have permission of the "installation commander" so we rode back to Woodman, and went around the AFA in the car, and started again (going north) from the "North Gate" parking lot, which is just outside of the AFA security gate. Then, it was a fantastic ride on smooth crushed gravel all the way to Palmer Lake (about 8 miles). Great views, not crowed, and a great trail for distance training. I'd like to understand how and who can traverse the AFA property though. It would be nice to start in downtown Colorado Springs and ride continuously up to Palmer Lake without blatantly trespassing on a military base.

walking
1 year ago

Took it last year shortly after getting stationed at USAFA. It follows the creek but not very close. Was ok for a first hike in the area, but probably wouldn't walk it again - would be better on a bike.

mountain biking
1 year ago

I ride this as part of the greater Santa Fe Trail rides. It is good for doing mileage rides. Easy doubletrack suitable for novices and families.

trail running
1 year ago

I ran on this trail when I was training for my half marathon, late last year. I would come here when I had greater distances to run as it runs very far north and south. I really like the trail. it's pretty flat for the most part with only a few, little moundy hills. I haven't been here since December, but at that time I was ok for civilians to enter the AFA part of the trail. This is not allowed, for now, since the nation's security level has been raised to "elevated.

mountain biking
1 year ago

1 year ago

Not open to the public.

I tried this trail with my wife but it's only accessible to Air Force cadets.

mountain biking
1 year ago

Nice training trail for putting in miles in preparation for events like the Elephant Rock race, or just simply for getting in a nice workout. Not exactly a challenging trail - more like a dirt-covered sidewalk. In fact, if you look up the history, you'll find this is a former railroad bed that the rails and ties have been removed long ago. But if putting in some miles is your goal, the trail is nice for that.

mountain biking
2 years ago

Any portion of the Sante Fe Trail is good. Its great for bikes, running or walking. The trail is well maintained and and good work out, especially if you're heading North (all up hill.)

hiking
3 years ago

Great path for walking/jogging/biking, especially with kids. Wide, flat, clear path. The Santa Fe trail is on the top of my younger kids list!

3 years ago

great for an evening walk or bike ride

mountain biking
5 years ago

I rode this trail on a beautiful fall day, which contributed to the large number of people on the trail. My route was north from Colorado Springs to Monument and back. North bound is a continuous uphill grade, so the return trip was a very easy ride. The trail was in good shape despite recent heavy rains.