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The New Santa Fe Regional Trail provides a scenic journey along the front range of the mountains, from Palmer Lake Recreation area in northern El Paso County through the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The trail follows a portion of the abandoned Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad line, which, heading north to south drops 1,200 feet in elevation.
The trail is popular among hikers, cyclists, equestrians and families out for a stroll. Along the way you'll find interpretive signs, wildlife and interesting geological features, not to mention incredible views—in particular Pikes Peak.
The trail passes through the town of Monument, where you'll find restaurants and some shops, as well as through the Air Force Academy, so don't be surprised to see jets overhead.
At the southern end of the trail at Woodmen Road, the New Santa Fe Regional Trail becomes the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail.
The trail has several access points:
*Palmer Lake Recreation Area: Take I-25 north to Exit 161; head northwest on Route 105 for about 5 miles then east on County Line Road to the park entrance.
*Third Street in Monument
*North Gate Rd. (north entrance of the Air Force Academy)
*Ice Lake trailhead at the Air Force Academy
*2 places at E. Woodmen Rd.: westbound on Woodman, parking is north of the road; eastbound on Woodmen, turn south on Corporate Drive then west on Mark Dabling Blvd. and immediate right into the lot)
We parked at the Pikes Peak Greenway TH and rode the southern 10 miles out and back. Bathroom and water were still closed for the season here on April 16th, 2017 after a month of 70 degree weather. Gradual uphill in this direction but the rolling hills make it tough to realize the accumulated elevation. The trail runs relatively close to the freeway, but often seems on a distant prairie with frequent nice views of Pikes Peak. Trail surface is deep sand, loose gravel, with rolling hills.
This is a great trail. The only problem was that it was closed going into the Academy. I heard a couple of days ago that they will now open access into the Academy.
As far as I know, and at least up until today (June 23, 2015), the stretch of this trail that goes through the Air Force Academy is closed. I'm hoping they open it again very soon!
This trail is long with great views of mountains and near train tracks if your a train person. (4:30PM) Although my party and I have only done about 3-4 miles, it was a great trail from what we've seen. I think the best part of this trail was seeing lots of people coming and going. Mostly on bikes, however several on foot.
Had a nice ride on the New Santa Fe trail yesterday. Parking (@Woodman) lot was at capacity. Others were empty.
While the majority of the trail was in good condition, some of the sections were loose gravel. The steeper areas where washouts are occuring need some maintenance.
"RIDE THE TRAIL FROM MONUMENT TO THE USAF ACADEMY. THEN FROM MONUMENT TO GREENLAND TRAILHEAD. WE HAD A GREAT TIME. THE SCENERY WAS GREAT. WE HAD BIKE TROUBLE AND WENT TO THE BIKE SHOP IN MONUMENT, WHICH IS VERY NEAR THE SANTA FE TRAIL, AND RECEIVED EXCELLENT SERVICE, THE OWNER WAS VERY HELPFUL. I WILL VERY LIKELY RIDE IT AGAIN NEXT YEAR. FOR A FLATLANDER THE TRAIL WAS A LITTLE CHALLENGING, DUE TO THE ALTITUDE, BUT A LOT OF FUN. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS TRAIL, I WOULD RATE IT AS EASY AND AS SCENIC."
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