Santa Fe Regional Trail is a 17 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near United States Air Force Academy, Colorado that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
cross country skiing
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.
It's a good trail for locals who just want to get out and hick and see some good sights.
started at Woodmen, Edmonton trail head, hiked to ice lake... beautiful!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Not open to the public.
I tried this trail with my wife but it's only accessible to Air Force cadets.
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.