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Santa Fe Regional Trail

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Discovery Park

Santa Fe Regional Trail is a 16.9 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near U S A F 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.

Distance: 16.9 miles Elevation Gain: 1,213 feet Route Type: Point to Point

dog friendly

kid friendly

stroller friendly

cross country skiing

fishing

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

road biking

walking

bird watching

running

lake

river

views

wild flowers

no shade

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.

hiking
7 days ago

Really nice trail. You can hike, walk, run, and bike. Dogs are welcome. You can make this trail as hard as you want.

mountain biking
24 days ago

Easy mountain bike trail. Some sandy areas a few hills. Pretty views.

Nice, relaxing. By the river, good for running and cycling. Can see train.

hiking
1 month ago

Heavily trafficked, easy-moderate difficulty. Super bonus points for being in town and managing some awesome views as you get farther north.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail for running. Some decent views along the way as well. If you start at the woodmen end you will be going slightly more uphill. Trail conditions are great right now. USAFA portion is open to the public .

running
no shade
2 months ago

Good running trail, not much to see and kind of boring but I didn't run the entire trail so it might get more interesting. Flat and straight the entire way!

hiking
no shade
2 months ago

hiking
muddy
snow
2 months ago

This is a perfect trail for doing some training runs as it’s mostly flat. Right now, however, it’s muddy and slushy so be prepared to have wet feet and dirty legs.

walking
no shade
3 months ago

My boyfriend and I took the dogs out here this weekend. It was our rescue lab's first ever hike/extended walk, so we needed something not so overwhelming and difficult. We parked at the North Gate lot; early in the morning it is full but closer to noon spots start to open up. We walked 3 miles in and back. The trail is easily marked, bike friendly, runner friendly, and the kids will have no issues on this trail. You'll have some cool views of the Academy and the base if you've never been!

hiking
muddy
snow
5 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

one of my favorite trails for a day hike. There isn't a lot of tree cover, so I bring plenty of water and usually change to another trail on a gusty day.

walking
8 months ago

Great easy trail along the river. Feels secluded. I took a stroller and it did just fine.

mountain biking
10 months ago

easy paved trail. goes downhill towards downtown

hiking
11 months ago

Great gravel trail to explore various areas en route

mountain biking
11 months ago

Great place to bike that is still in town, yet gives a feel of being in nature. Great for mileage and building strength and stamina for beginners and those wanting to get ready for the season. Beautiful and peaceful, but not too desolate. I love the crushed gravel and occasional paved areas along the route. The creek adds an extra element of beauty. Plenty wide for all to share the trail.

hiking
Sun Apr 28 2019

Fun and easy walk. North gate of USAFA has plenty of parking.

running
muddy
snow
Sun Mar 24 2019

There were some snow patches but overall nice. Great scenery.

road biking
Sat Sep 22 2018

Road bike is pushing it, hybrid or mountain bike better suited. Thick loose gravel in parts. Nice ride overall with beautiful scenery. Saw a few snakes on the trail but they were small, no need to let that scare you off.

Tue Aug 28 2018

great for training

mountain biking
Tue Aug 07 2018

I started at Palmer Lake this morning at 7:30am going South stopped at Ice Lake at the Air Force Academy ate my PB & J sandwich while overlooking the Lake (so serine) mounted my bike and continued South to my Rondevu point Trader Joe’s parking lot where my wife scooped me up . It was approximately 20 miles it took 2 1/2 hours taking my time.. no problem whatsoever traverse then on to the Air Force Base it is permissible as long as you’re not carrying weapons and stay on the trail... this trailer is very nice for runners individuals like myself just getting some miles in on my bicycle.. I would most definitely do it again ...

road biking
Sat Jul 07 2018

We started our bike ride from old town monument to Palmer lake. It’s a gravel rode surrounded by beautiful scenery. Easy ride. Would have given it 5 starts if there was more shady parts. It was a pretty hot day. Will definitely do it again.

Sun May 06 2018

Great trail run! Easy to get the mileage in. (In the spring & summer) Good access to restrooms and water.

Sat May 05 2018

Good for family bike ride but boring for hiking. Lots of highway noise.

Wed Aug 30 2017

Pretty good biking or running trail but not for hiking...pretty dang boring. Prob won't go back.

running
Thu Aug 03 2017

Great trail to get some miles in. Easy access and flat. Intermittent wooded areas for summer shade, but take a hat as there are long stretches with no cover.

mountain biking
Thu Jun 22 2017

I'm a civilian and so the portion of the trail I was able to ride was not that exciting. I parked just before the North gate to the right (free/open parking) and rode North (I tried South but several signs indicate that's portion of the trail is not longer opened to the public). The trail is easy, wide, no shade, no trees and quite sandy. Overall didn't think it was that fun for biking or hiking. Compared to everything else in the area (and OMG there is so much more) I wouldn't go back there.

Sun Dec 18 2016

It's a good trail for locals who just want to get out and hick and see some good sights.

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